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
Joseph Henry West
(born October 31, 1952), nicknamed "Cowboy Joe
", is an American professional baseball umpire
in Major League Baseball
(MLB). A native of Greenville, South Carolina
, West attended Rose High School
and played football at East Carolina University
(ECU) and Elon College
. West entered the National League
(NL) as an umpire in 1976; he joined the NL staff full-time in 1978. As a young umpire, West worked Nolan Ryan
's fifth career no-hitter
, was on the field for Willie McCovey
's 500th home run, and was involved in a 1983 shoving incident with manager Joe Torre
A few years later, West was the home plate umpire during the 1988 playoff game in which pitcher Jay Howell was ejected for having pine tar on his glove. In 1990, he threw pitcher Dennis Cook to the ground while attempting to break up a fight. West resigned during the 1999 Major League Umpires Association mass resignation, but was rehired in 2002. Since then, he has umpired throughout MLB. In a 2004 playoff game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, West's crew made a controversial decision that necessitated police presence to calm the crowd. He served as crew chief for the 2005 World Series.
In 2010, West attracted media attention after he publicly complained about the slow pace of a game between the Red Sox and Yankees. He also worked the game that year in which Albert Pujols hit his 400th career home run. West has worked several no-hitters, including a 2012 perfect game by Félix Hernández. As of 2012, West has the longest tenure of any MLB umpire. West has appeared in five World Series, two All-Star Games, seven League Championship Series (LCS) and five League Division Series (LDS).
West is president of the World Umpires Association (WUA). As the organization's president, West helped negotiate the largest umpiring contract in baseball history. He works with a sporting goods company to design and patent umpiring equipment endorsed by MLB. West is also a singer and songwriter, and has released two country music albums. He had a small acting role in the comedy film The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! and a cameo appearance in the television crime drama The Oldest Rookie. He plays golf on the Celebrity Players Tour.
Walter Perry Johnson (November 6, 1887–December 10, 1946), nicknamed "The Big Train," was a right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball between 1907 and 1927. One of the most celebrated players in baseball history, Johnson established several pitching records, some of which remained unbroken for more than a half-century.
Theodore Roosevelt "Double Duty" Radcliffe
(July 7, 1902–August 11, 2005) was at his death thought to be the oldest living professional baseball
player (it was later discovered that Silas Simmons
was born seven years earlier in 1895), one of only a handful of major league (considering the Negro Leagues major) players who lived past their 100th birthdays, and a former star in the Negro Leagues
. Playing for more than 30 teams, Radcliffe had more than 4,000 hits and 400 home runs
, won about 500 games and had 4,000 strike-outs
. He played as a pitcher
and a catcher
, became a manager, and in his old age became a popular ambassador for the game.
Damon Runyon coined the nickname "Double Duty" because Radcliffe played as a catcher and as a pitcher in the successive games of a 1932 Negro League World Series doubleheader between the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Monroe Monarchs. In the first of the two games at Yankee Stadium Radcliffe caught the pitcher Satchel Paige for a shutout and then pitched a shutout in the second game. Runyon wrote that Radcliffe "was worth the price of two admissions." Radcliffe considered his year with the 1932 Pittsburgh Crawfords to be one of the highlights of his career. The Crawfords beat the Monarchs 5-1 in the best-of-nine series.