How did baseball develop?

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Prisoners of war playing baseball during the American Civil War

Baseball is called America’s pastime and looking at it one can see that the modern sport of baseball not only developed in the United States but it continues to be associated with the United States, similar to iconic places such as the Statue of Liberty or the Grand Canyon. The path baseball took to becoming the sport it is today started in the early Medieval period, where it was a very different game. As with other major American sports, key developments occurred in Great Britain before then developing differently in the United States.

In Medieval England, during the Anglo and Norman periods, there appears to have been a game played in a type of field or clearing in the woods. This may have involved some type of ball game and some have suggested the word for this game, craic, which may have developed into the term cricket.[1] The game may have been played by children but almost no records exist of how this game was played. Another game developed in France in the Medieval period, which may have had similarities to craic, was La soule. This was a type of ball game using a leather or wooden ball that would involve people forming teams in a field and the ball would be hit or kicked around. Scoring a goal was likely the objective and, similar to many other games of the day, the game seemed violent and injury was common.[2]

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Who integrated the NBA?

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Chuck Cooper from Duquesne University 

 

Soon after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball another professional sports league integrated extraordinarily quickly – the newly formed NBA. But there were still no African-American players in the league when the owners convened for a player draft on April 25, 1950. In the second round, with the 14th pick of the draft, Boston Celtics owner Walter Brown picked Chuck Cooper who had earned All-American honors at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Startled, a fellow owner blurted out, “Walter, don’t you know he’s a colored boy?” Brown responed, “I don’t care if he’s striped, plaid or polka dot.”[2] Race relations had advanced so far in the three years since Robinson’s baseball debut that the Boston papers did not even see the need to include Cooper’s race in its covering of the draft.

In the ninth round of the 1950 draft the Washington Capitols selected Earl Lloyd from West Virginia State University and in the next round Washington added guard Harold Hunter from North Carolina College to the roster. The next day Hunter signed a contract to become the first official black player in the National Basketball Association. [3]

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How did the marathon emerge?

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Runners training for the first marathon in 1896

The marathon is seen today as grueling long-distance, usually over 26 mile race. The battle of Marathon, fought between the Greek and Persian armies, and the resulting run by a Greek warrior to tell the victory is usually cited as the origin of this sport. While there is truth in this story, the history of the marathon is complex and its presence in many major world cities shows it still stands as one of the great events that tests human will and skill.From Ancient to the Modern Olympics

The earliest history of the marathon is likely legend based on some facts. The story of the legend states that the Greek messenger Pheidippides ran back to Athens in August/September 490 BCE, a distance of almost 26 miles, to inform the Athenian assembly that the Achaemenid army fighting at the battle of Marathon had been defeated. Very likely this story did not occur this way, as contemporary accounts do not corroborate this story and the story of Pheidippides’ famous run only emerged in the 1st century CE. Plutarch in his work, On the Glory of Athens, mentions this famous event. Potentially more likely, although it is still unclear, there was a runner, perhaps called Pheidippides, who ran to Sparta from Athens to seek assistance from the Spartans as the Achaemenid army advanced.[1]

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