Tuesday, March 26, 2013

B is for... Baseball (History Lesson)

B is for Baseball (History Lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Baseball is known as America's game and America's pastime, and for good reason. Although its origins are a little uncertain, some form of this game has been played in America since about the time of the American Revolution. In 1778, American soldiers at Valley Forge participated in a game they called "playing at base" and in 1787 Princeton College felt it necessary to have a rule that students couldn't
"play with balls and sticks" on the common. The game developed as a version of the British games of cricket and rounders, and has had several names including "town ball" and "goal ball". The rules have changed as well. One important change came in the 1840s in New York City, when the practice of hitting a player with the ball to get an "out" was changed to tagging the player. This allowed the game to played with a hard ball, since it wouldn't be thrown at the players, and the harder ball meant that the playing field could be larger, because a hard ball goes farther when hit with the bat!

The first professional baseball team was the Cincinnati Red Stockings, organized in 1869. A professional National League was first organized in 1875, followed by an American League in 1900. The first World Series was in 1903, with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Americans (later called the Boston Red Sox) competing for the championship. The second World Series was held in 1905, and there has been a series every year since then, except for 1994 when the players were on strike.

B is for Baseball (History Lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

B is for Baseball (History Lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Our history text spent an entire lesson on the game of baseball, because it is such a part of the American experience. I was greatly tempted to spend some time doing a unit study on baseball, but with plenty of other things going on in our home and school right now I decided we'd just do the lesson in America the Beautiful and reminisce about the past studies we'd done on baseball.

In the summer of 2009, we had a family vacation in upstate New York, not very far from Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. When we got home and started our new school year, we kicked it off with a unit study about baseball. My kids have all played some youth baseball, and although we don't follow the game as religiously as many fans, my husband and I consider the sport important enough that we took a radio to the hospital when I was in labour with our oldest son, so that we could listen to the World Series broadcast! That was the year our favourite team, the Toronto Blue Jays, won the pennant!
B is for Baseball (History Lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
Here I am at the Blue Jays jersey display in Cooperstown in 2009. 
Babe Ruth is considered the greatest baseball player of all time, and he was born and spent his childhood in nearby Baltimore. Our history lesson featured a brief biography of the 'Sultan of Swat' and his amazing career.
B is for Baseball (History Lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Baseball is really a part of America! Over the years, ten million young men have played American Legion baseball, and today almost three quarters of those playing college ball and over half of the major league players played in American Legion teams during their teens. After the first Little League teams started playing in Williamsport, PA, in 1948, requests began pouring in to organizer Carl Stotz and the Little League organization grew rapidly. Just a few short years later, in 1953, the Little League World Series was big enough and important enough to be televised. In 2010, over two and a half million children participated in Little League teams in all fifty states, and in in more than eighty foreign countries! American Presidents have enjoyed and supported baseball since its earliest days. Several Presidents hosted teams at the White House, and many Presidents have thrown out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day. As a young man, Ronald Reagan was a sportscaster who broadcast baseball games. He was the first President to watch a major league game from the dugout, and while President, he even broadcast an inning and a half as a guest play-by-play announcer! President George W Bush was a managing partner of a major league team before becoming President. And baseball terms have found their way into the everyday speech of Americans, in saying such as: "playing in the big leagues", "step up to the plate", "touch base", and "out in left field", and many others.

The song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was written in 1908, and since the 1970s has been the traditional song played and sung during the seventh-inning stretch. Sales of Cracker Jack soared after the song was first published. And of course, "Casey at the Bat" is one the best known pieces of popular American literature.
B is for Baseball (History Lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
Banner at the Baseball Hall of Fame when we visited in 2009.
B is for Baseball (History Lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame
Our unit study on baseball in 2009 allowed us to read some biographies of great players, look at the history of various teams and how they've moved and changed their names and logos over the years, and even learn a little about how equipment has changed and how it's manufactured. If you're homeschooling kids who like sports, but aren't very enthusiastic about schoolwork, a unit study on baseball (or hockey, or football, or the Olympics...) might be a great way to show how math, science, geography, history, economics, and other subjects relate to their interest.

By the way, the Baseball Hall of Fame has some great materials you can download for your lesson plans on the Curriculum page. I've bookmarked a couple that I plan to use very soon!

Right now, I've got a craving for peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Weird.

Play Ball!!

Please visit Ben and Me: B is for Birds of the Everglades to join in and to see what thoughts this week's letter has prompted for other bloggers.
Blogging Through the Alphabet
To find out more about the Blogging through the Alphabet link-up, and how to participate, visit Ben and Me: Blogging Through The Alphabet

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8 comments:

Kirsten @ homeschool discoveries said...

This is a great "B" post! My husband and I really enjoyed the Ken Burns baseball series. We didn't quite watch all of it, but most. I'm doing the blogging through the alphabet again this round too. I chose "Birthday" for my B, but I hope I can be a bit more creative for some of my other letters (while also not repeating any I did last time around!)

Miranda said...

I loved blogging through the alphabet! I did it the first round but I struggled coming up with things to blog about. lol!

I grabbed your button and followed! :)

SarahElisabeth said...

This is a fascinating post for me. Being English, baseball has been a bit of a mystery. Thank you.

Karyn Tripp said...

What a fun history lesson! I have never thought of doing a history of sports lesson!

Erika said...

Fun! I'm going to come read your blog every week for my history lesson! :)

Kym Thorpe said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! This is my third time through Blogging through the Alphabet and I expect to face some real challenges with a few letters!

glad to have a few more follows and I'll return the favor, for those of you that I'm not already following. :-)

Lindsey Clair said...

This is so great! How fun and unique. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

kewkew said...

Loving the history lesson here. Most of this was new information for me. My children aren't that interested in baseball. We have been to a few games, but that was when we only had the two older girls and they were quite young. This household tends to focus more on football.
They did enjoy Casey at the Bat when we reviewed it with Maestro Classics though, and we did the baseball scavenger hunt last year. Might be able to get them interested.
Thanks for joining in with Throwback Thursday. I am really enjoying reading all your older posts.

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