“I see great things in baseball. It’s our game, America’s game. Baseball will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism.” – Walt Whitman
In the beginning of the 19th century, a massive population shift from rural areas to urban centers created a need for new forms of physical exercise as men and women no longer spent their days toiling on farms and fields. Industrialization, modernization, and urbanization fundamentally impacted the basic structure of American life. By the end of the 19th Century, baseball provided an important diversion from the monotony of urban life and had become America’s pastime. It was an intrinsic part of American culture and there was no corner of the country where baseball was not played. It was both a local and a national phenomena. From New York City’s Central Park to Indian reservations and barren dirt fields around the Comstock Lode and other mining towns across Northern Nevada, baseball had become America’s game, playing an important role in the social and cultural development of towns and cities throughout the Silver State and across the country.
*According to the Oxford English Dictionary: The Definitive Record of the English Language, baseball was initially written as two words – “base ball” in 1845. It was also occasionally hyphenated as “base-ball” in 1853. The first record of the term being used was in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle on the October 23, 1845. According to the article, A Great Match at Base Ball, an afternoon match was played between the “New York Base Ball Club and the Brooklyn Club at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken.” It was not until 1899 that baseball became just one word. Prior to that point, the term “baseball” was written as two words, and according to the OED, that usage extended to terms such as base ball fan (1885), base ball team (1856), and base ball game (1857).