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Baseball Basics Through Time
Baseball's key sets of equipment include the gloves, mask, bat and ball. Baseball">All these underwent an evolution that is traceable from the 19th century when the game was conceptualized. During the time, the game used much fewer equipment types. Notably, there were no helmets used. The use of gloves became popular only in the latter part of the 1880s. Its present leather patterns, weight and dimensions were retained since usage in 1872.
Baseball bats during the 19th century were very different as compared with the ones presently used. These bats had thicker and heavier handles. These also had a taper that is gradual toward the barrel from the handle. Baseball bats were available with or without handle knobs. Various components of the 19th century bat were painted with rings to establish a baseball team's color.
In 1857, the first convention for baseball was held. During which, the bat's official dimensions were set, round, with the thickest part not exceeding two and a half inches. It was decided that the bat's length could depend on the striker's suitability. In the 1868 baseball season, however, the bat's length was officially fixed to measure over 42 inches.
Meanwhile, the 19th century gloves began as a leatherwork glove. A variation of the glove can be with or without "pouches" for fingers. Gradually, the element of padding was added. Catchers reportedly wore the gloves in as early as 1860.
In an 1885 game, Sir Arthur Irwin added "padding' to his glove which was buckskin to prevent his two injured fingers from being hit. According to baseball history, Irwin's technique became the official introduction of placing conspicuous padding to gloves.
It was in 1895 that the Baseball National League, as well as the American Association of Base Ball Clubs established a rule allowing the first baseman and the catcher to wear mitt or gloves. These gloves or mitts can come in any weight, shape or size. There was a restriction on the use of gloves or mitts that weigh over ten ounces. The same rule goes for wearing gloves that exceed fourteen inches around the hand's palm. This ruling was carried on for the entire 19th century.
The invention of the baseball catcher's mask is attributed to Fred Thayer, team captain of the Harvard University Baseball Club in 1875. The mask was worn by Jim Tyng who played for the Harvard team in an exhibition game. Thayer also modified the game's fencing mask, which allowed player Tyng to reach home base or receive a ball thrown at him with his face protected.
The Knickerbockers Baseball Club pioneered wearing of baseball uniforms in the year 1849. The uniform was composed of long, blue, woolen trousers, flannel shirt in white with straw hats and collar and leather belt. By 1850, several other teams followed suit and wore flannel shirts designed with buttons and shield style. The shirt was also printed with the Club's name and emblem. Full-length pantaloons were a fad throughout baseball games in 1860s, but players' legs were caught in the pants when they would run. To remedy this situation, players tightly wrapped the pantaloons to the shins, and held them using a belt or a tape. The Cincinnati Red Stockings wore knickers in 1868. The knickers offered much less restrictions and as such, were adopted as part of the uniform from then on. Notably, among the various elements of the game, baseball uniforms have evolved the most drastically.
Baseballs' weight and size underwent changes in 1857. The baseballs used in 1872 eventually became the standard baseballs used in the present times.
With all the changes it went through and the efforts put to finalizing its many aspects, it is no wonder why baseball has become a most well-liked type of sports in the world today.
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