Baseball’s National League — The Oldest Surviving Sports League In America — Is Founded On February 2nd, 1876


February 2, 2016 — It’s America’s pastime, and it is America’s oldest organized professional sport.

Baseball has been around since the nineteenth century in a few forms. But on February 2, 1876, the National league was formed. It was made up of eight teams, the  Chicago White Stockings, the St. Louis Brown Stockings, the Hartford Dark Blues, the Boston Red Caps (also known as the Beaneaters), the Louisville Grays, the New York Mutuals, The Philadelphia Athletics and the Cincinnati Reds.  In the very first National League game, held on April 22,  Boston beat Philadelphia by a score of 6-5.

The American League would not form until 1900, and played its first game in 1901. The National League and the American League would play their first World Series game in 1903.

Americans love baseball. Forbes magazine estimates that if Major League Baseball were a traded on the stock exchange, it would be valued at $36 billion. More than 2 million people a year attend baseball games; rivalries are intense and inter-generational.

And favorite baseball players have become true idols. Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Cy Young — every fan has his or her preferences. Some love the pitchers, who center the game. Other prefer the heroics of home run hitters. 

Mickey Mantle played centerfield or first base for the New York Yankees from 1951-1968. His stats are remarkable. He is considered by many to be the greatest hitting centerfielder of all time. He hit for both power and average, batting .300 or more ten times, while hitting 536 MLB home runs. He hit 18 home runs during World Series games (a record). He was the AL MVP three times.  Compared to the other centerfielders on the All-century team, he has the best On-Base + Slugging Percentage, the lowest rate for hitting into double plays, the highest on-base World Series record and the highest stolen base percentage. He won the Triple Crown, was a 16 time All-Star, and was famous for his tape-measure homers. And that is just the beginning of his accomplishments. 

Mickey Mantle in His Own Words is a loving remembrance of this baseball great. It includes Mantle himself discussing his career, and interviews with some of Mantle’s teammates and rivals. 

Yogi Berra was one of Mantle’s teammates. A three time MVP, an All Star 18 times, Berra was one of the greatest catchers in baseball history. He would play on 13 World Series championship teams, is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, has had his number (8) retired by the New York Yankees and has a plaque in Monument  Park. He was a gunner’s mate on a rocket boat at Omaha Beach during D-Day. But he was also idolized for his personality and his ability to amuse. His quotes and malapropisms were famous and well-loved (“I really didn’t say everything I said” and “It ain’t over ’til it’s over” are just two of his most famous). 

Yogi Berra in His Own Words is sure to make Berra fans, or any baseball fan smile.

And the Three Pack of Baseball Legends includes their stories and that of Gil Hodges, one of the best-loved men in baseball. Hodges was not only one of the greatest defensive baseball players of his time (he played first base for both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, but he also became a manager and helmed the New York mets when they won their highly unexpected World Series title in 1969.

Spend a few hours this winter remembering some of the most-loved boys of summer.
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