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Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The goal is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot square, or diamond. Players on one team (the batting team) take turns hitting against the pitcher of the other team (the fielding team), which tries to stop them from scoring runs by getting hitters out in any of several ways. A player on the batting team can stop at any of the bases and later advance via a teammate's hit or other means. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the fielding team records three outs. One turn at bat - 3 outs - for each team constitutes an inning; nine innings make up a professional game. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

Evolving from older bat-and-ball games, an early form of baseball was being played in England by the mid-eighteenth century. This game and the related rounders were brought by British and Irish immigrants to North America, where the modern version of baseball developed. By the late nineteenth century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball on the professional, amateur, and youth levels is now popular in North America, parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean, and parts of East Asia. The game is sometimes referred to as hardball, in contrast to the derivative game of softball.

In North America, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL). Each league has three divisions: East, West, and Central. Every year, the champion of Major League Baseball is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. Five teams make the playoffs from each league: the three regular season division winners, plus two wild card teams. Baseball is the leading team sport in both Japan and Cuba, and the top level of play is similarly split between two leagues: Japan's Central League and Pacific League; Cuba's West League and East League. In the National and Central leagues, the pitcher is required to bat, per the traditional rules. In the American, Pacific, and both Cuban leagues, there is a tenth player, a designated hitter, who bats for the pitcher. Each top-level team has a farm system of one or more minor league teams. These teams allow younger players to develop as they gain on-field experience against opponents with similar levels of skill. (more...) Template:/box-footer

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The Kingdome, the stadium where the 1995 tiebreaker was played.
The 1995 American League West tie-breaker game was a one-game playoff for Major League Baseball's AL West division championship, played on October 2, 1995 between the California Angels and Seattle Mariners at the Kingdome in Seattle. The game was necessitated due to both teams finishing the strike-shortened 144 game season with identical records of 78–66. Seattle won the game by a score of 9–1, securing its first playoff berth in franchise history. The game matched two highly unlikely teams: The Angels had not been to the postseason since 1986, and had not finished above third place in the American League West since. On the other hand, the Mariners had never been to the postseason, and before 1995 only had two seasons with a record above .500. With less than two months left in the 1995 regular season, the Angels held a comfortable lead in the AL West standings, 11 games ahead of the second-place Texas Rangers and 13 games ahead of the third-place Mariners. However, the Mariners mounted a late-season comeback, coupled with a late-season collapse by the Angels, to force the tie-breaker. After winning the tie-breaker, the Mariners went on to play the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series. They won the series in 5 games on an 11th-inning double by Edgar Martínez in Game 5, but lost the American League Championship Series to the Cleveland Indians in 6 games. The Angels, meanwhile, did not earn a trip to the postseason until 2002.

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Credit: George Grantham Bain Collection

John Joseph Evers (July 21, 1883 – March 28, 1947) was a Major League Baseball player and manager. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1946. He was born in Troy, New York. He is famously featured in the poem Baseball's Sad Lexicon along with teammates Joe Tinker and Frank Chance.

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Osborne Earl "Ozzie" Smith (born December 26, 1954) is a retired American professional baseball player who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. Nicknamed "The Wizard," Smith played shortstop for the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals in Major League Baseball, winning the National League Gold Glove Award for defensive play at shortstop for 13 consecutive seasons. A 15-time All-Star, Smith accumulated 2,460 hits and 580 stolen bases during his career, and won the National League Silver Slugger Award as the best hitter at shortstop in 1987. Smith was born in Mobile, Alabama, but his family moved to the Watts section of Los Angeles when he was six years old. Developing quick reflexes via childhood athletic activities, Smith played baseball in high school and college. Drafted as an amateur player by the San Diego Padres, Smith made his Major League Baseball debut in 1978. Smith quickly established himself as an outstanding defensive player, who later became known for performing backflips on special occasions while running out to the shortstop position. Smith won his first Gold Glove award in 1980 and made his first All Star Game appearance in 1981. When conflict with Padres' ownership developed, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for shortstop Garry Templeton in 1982. Upon joining the Cardinals, Smith helped the team win the 1982 World Series. Three years later his game-winning home run during Game 5 of the 1985 National League Championship Series prompted broadcaster Jack Buck's "Go crazy, folks!" play-by-play call. Despite a rotator cuff injury during the 1985 season, Smith posted career highs in multiple offensive categories in 1987. Smith continued to earn Gold Gloves and All Star appearances on an annual basis until 1993, and later missed nearly three months of the 1995 season after undergoing shoulder surgery. After tension between Smith and his new manager Tony La Russa developed in 1996, Smith decided to retire at season's end, and subsequently had his uniform number (# 1) retired by the Cardinals. Smith served as host of the television show This Week in Baseball from 1997 to 1999, and continues to be an entrepreneur in a variety of business ventures.


"Problem with (John) Wockenfuss getting on base is that it takes three doubles to score him."

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Pete Rose is the all-time MLB hits leader with 4,256 hits
In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 3,000 hit club is a term applied to the group of batters who have collected 3,000 or more regular-season hits in their careers. Cap Anson was the first to join the club on July 18, 1897, although his precise career hit total is unclear. Two players—Nap Lajoie and Honus Wagner—reached 3,000 hits during the 1914 season. Ty Cobb became the club's fourth member in 1921 and became the first player in MLB history to reach 4,000 hits in 1927, ultimately finishing his career with more than 4,100. Cobb, also MLB's all-time career batting average leader, remained the MLB hit leader until September 11, 1985 when Pete Rose collected his 4,192nd hit. Rose, the current record holder, finished his career with 4,256 hits. Roberto Clemente's career ended with precisely 3,000 hits, reaching the mark in the last at bat of his career. Derek Jeter is the most recent player to reach the milestone, achieving the feat on July 9, 2011.

In total, 28 players have reached the 3,000 hit club in MLB history. Of these, 14 were right-handed batters, 12 were left-handed, and 2 were switch hitters, meaning they could bat from either side of the plate. Ten of these players (and the only active member of the 3,000 hit club) have played for only one major league team. The Cleveland Indians are the only franchise to see three players reach the milestone while on their roster: Lajoie (while the franchise was known as the "Naps"), Tris Speaker, and Eddie Murray. Four players—Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Murray, and Rafael Palmeiro—are also members of the 500 home run club. Cobb holds the highest career batting average, .366, of the club while Cal Ripken, Jr. holds the lowest at .276. Jeter and Wade Boggs are the only players to hit a home run for their 3,000th hit and Paul Molitor is the only player to hit a triple for his 3,000th; all others hit a double or single. Craig Biggio was thrown out at second base attempting to stretch his 3,000th hit, a single, into a double. Biggio and Jeter are the only players to join the club in a game where they had five hits; Jeter reached base safely in all of his at bats. Baseball writer Josh Pahigian wrote that the club has been "long considered the greatest measure of superior bat handling." Reaching 3,000 hits is often described as a guarantee of eventual entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All eligible club members, with the exception of Palmeiro, have been elected to the Hall, and since 1962 all have been elected on the first ballot. Eligibility requires that a player has "been retired five seasons" or deceased for at least six months, disqualifying two living players (Biggio and Jeter). Additionally, Rose was declared permanently ineligible for his role in gambling on baseball games.

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