Interesting Facts About Baseball History: Strange and Obscure Trivia You Never Knew

Did you know that home plate used to be a rubber mat that could be picked up between innings?! Or that Babe Ruth started his career as a star pitcher? The history of America’s favorite sport is filled with many jaw-dropping facts that not even the most die-hard fans would know.

This piece delves into some of the strangest and most interesting facts about baseball history that are sure to surprise readers. So, without any further ado, let’s dive right into them.

1.      Rounding All the Bases Counter-Clockwise

When the game was still in its infancy around the 1840s-50s, there was no set path for circling the bags. Some teams ran them clockwise, while others counter-clockwise. It wasn’t until the 1860s after the National Association’s founding that a standard counter-clockwise circuit finally took hold. But those early years saw a wide variety of baserunning schemes.

2.      Pitchers Could Throw “Heave Balls”

Up until the 1880s, pitches that we now consider illegal, such as heave balls, shoot balls, and triple screws, were allowed in professional baseball games. The heave ball in particular was a scary offering that was thrown by jerking the whole body and arm forward in a heaving motion, resulting in balls that shot up to the batter seemingly out of control. This type of “uncorked” pitching was banned for safety reasons.

3.      Babe Ruth Started as a Pitcher

It may surprise fans to learn that before establishing the all-time home run record, Babe Ruth began his MLB career as a star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. In fact, he won over 90 games and struck out nearly 500 batters during his pitching years from 1914 to 1919! Ruth didn’t switch full-time to the outfield until 1920 when he joined the Yankees and revolutionized the home run.

interesting facts about baseball history

With their distinctive designs, nostalgic charm, and electric atmospheres, baseball stadiums are a treasured part of the game’s heritage.

4.      The Strikeout King

When it comes to the best of the best, it would be unfair not to include the Strikeout King. Nolan Ryan holds the record for most strikeouts (5,714) and no-hitters (7), solidifying his legacy as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. Ryan’s incredible velocity and longevity allowed him to dominate hitters across three decades, earning him the nickname “The Ryan Express.”

5.      The Unbreakable Record

In the summer of 1941, Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees embarked upon one of the most remarkable feats in baseball history. Over the course of 56 consecutive games from May 15th to July 16th, DiMaggio achieved a hitting streak that has become the stuff of legend. Despite numerous attempts, no one has been able to break DiMaggio’s record, cementing his status as one of baseball’s all-time greats.

Discover History With Every Turn of the Page

If you’re hooked on the wild and wacky stories from baseball’s past, then ‘Pug,’ ‘Fireball,’ and Company: 116 Years of Professional Baseball in Des Moines, Iowa is the ultimate grand slam for you! Filled with rich history and facts of the sport in Des Moines, this book is worth reading. Grab your copies TODAY and experience Iowa’s storied diamond legacy from the inside.

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