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The baseball diamond at Wrigley Field, Chicago
First playedMid-18th century or prior, England (early form)
June 19, 1846, Hoboken, New Jersey (first recorded game with codified rules)
Team members9
Baseball bat
Baseball glove
Olympic1992 2008

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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 for each team constitutes an inning and 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 major league champion is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. Four teams make the playoffs from each league: the three regular season division winners, plus one wild card team. 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.

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Professional baseball leagues

American League * National League
Triple-A: International League * Pacific Coast League * Mexican League
Double-A: Eastern League * Southern League * Texas League
Class A Advanced: California League * Carolina League * Florida State League *
Class A: Midwest League * South Atlantic League *
Class A Short-Season: New York Penn League * Northwest League
Rookie: Appalachian League * Arizona League * Dominican Summer League * Gulf Coast League * Pioneer League * Venezuelan Summer League
American Association * Atlantic League * Can-Am League * Continental Baseball League * Frontier League * Golden Baseball League * Northern League * United League Baseball |Defunct |Major: National Association * American Association * Union Association * Players' League * Federal League * Negro Leagues * All-American Girls Professional Baseball League * Continental League * Cuban League * National Association of Base Ball Players *
Winter: Florida * Hawaii * Texas |
Affiliated: Arizona * Dominican Republic * Mexico * Venezuela
Independent: Arizona * California * Colombia * Nicaragua * Puerto Rico * Veracruz
Major: National Association * American Association * Union Association * Players' League * Federal League * Negro Leagues * All-American Girls Professional Baseball League * Continental League * Cuban League * National Association of Base Ball Players *
Winter: Florida * Hawaii * Texas |
Nippon Professional Baseball: Central League * Pacific League *
Minor: Western League * Eastern League *
Independent: Shikoku-Kyūshū Island League * Baseball Challenge League * Kansai Independent Baseball League
South Korea: Korea Professional Baseball (major) * Korea Baseball Future's League (minor)
Taiwan: Chinese Professional Baseball League
China: China Baseball League
Philippines: Baseball Philippines
Japanese Baseball League * Taiwan Major League * Israel Baseball League |
Division Élite (France) * Bundesliga (Germany) * Irish Baseball League (Ireland) * Italian Baseball League (Italy) * Honkbal Hoofdklasse (Netherlands) * División de Honor de Béisbol (Spain) * Elitserien (Sweden) * National League (United Kingdom) |
Claxton Shield
Australian Baseball League * International Baseball League of Australia

World Baseball Classic

2006 * 2009

Baseball at the Summer Olympics

1912* * 1920 1932 * 1936* * 1948 * 1952* * 1956* * 1960 * 1964* * 1968 1980 * 1984* * 1988* * 1992 * 1996 * 2000 * 2004 * 2008
* Demonstration sports at these Games

International Baseball

Major World EventsWorld Baseball Classic * Men's World Cup * Women's World Cup
Minor World EventsIntercontinental Cup * Haarlem Baseball Week * World Port Tournament * University * Junior (under 18) * Youth (under 16)
Defunct World EventsUniversiade * Women's Baseball World Series * Olympics
Africa African Baseball & Softball Association - All-Africa Games
Americas Pan American Baseball Confederation - Pan American Games * America Cup * Caribbean Series * Central American and Caribbean Games
Asia Baseball Federation of Asia - Asia Series * Asian Championship * Asian Games * Junior (under 18) * Southeast Asian Games
Europe Confederation of European Baseball - European Championship * European Cup * "Final Four" * Under-21 * Junior (under 18) * Youth (under 16) * Juveniles (under 12)
Oceania Baseball Confederation of Oceania - Oceania Championship * South Pacific Games

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