Baseball is full of fascinating stats, stories, and facts that true fans can appreciate. From its 19th century origins to modern MLB records, baseball history contains endless insights. Here is a collection of interesting baseball facts to deepen your knowledge of America's national pastime.
Origins & History
Baseball evolved from older bat and ball games in the early 1800s. The first recorded baseball game took place in 1846 at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey.
The Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first official professional baseball team in 1869. They went undefeated in their first season as pros.
The National League and American League were established in 1876 and 1901. These two leagues merged in 1903 to form Major League Baseball.
Babe Ruth hit the first home run in the first MLB all star game in 1933. The American League has dominated the mid-summer classic, winning 43 of 89 games.
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers, paving the way for integration.
Rules & Equipment
A regulation MLB baseball has exactly 108 stitches keeping the cowhide cover securely on the cork and rubber core.
The distance between bases on a baseball diamond is precisely 90 feet. The pitcher's mound is 60 feet and 6 inches from home plate.
A baseball bat cannot exceed 2.75 inches in diameter at its thickest part. The typical bat is 34 to 36 inches long and weighs 30-40 ounces.
Baseball gloves were not widely used until the 1880s. First baseman Albert Spalding was the first to use a glove to protect his throwing hand.
The umpire's cry of "Play Ball!" dates back to the 19th century when crowds were rowdy. It signaled the start of the game and that it was time to pay attention.
Home Run Records
Barry Bonds holds the single season home run record hitting 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001 during the heart of the Steroid Era.
Hank Aaron still holds the all-time career home run record in MLB, hitting 755 over 23 seasons for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves.
The New York Yankees have hit the most home runs of any franchise, going deep 11,781 times since the live ball era began in 1920.
The all-time record for most consecutive games with a home run is 8, set by Dale Long in 1956. Don Mattingly tied the mark in 1987.
In 2019, the Houston Astros set the team record for most home runs in a season with 288. Second best is the 2018 Yankees with 267.
Cy Young still holds the MLB record for career wins with 511 over his 22 year career spent mostly with Cleveland.
The record for most no-hitters thrown by a pitcher is 7 by Nolan Ryan. Sandy Koufax threw 4 no-hitters including a perfect game.
Detroit Tiger Denny McClain won 31 games during the 1968 season, the last pitcher to win at least 30 games in a year.
Orel Hershiser holds the record for most consecutive scoreless innings pitched with 59 in 1988. He passed Don Drysdale's 58 inning streak.
The fastest recorded pitch speed belongs to Aroldis Chapman who threw a 105.1 MPH fastball for the Reds in 2010.
Joe DiMaggio has one of sport's most unmatchable records, hitting safely in 56 straight games for the Yankees in 1941.
Ichiro Suzuki broke George Sisler's 84 year old record for most hits in a season with 262 in 2004. He passed Sisler's previous single season mark of 257.
In 1996, John Olerud hit for the cycle twice in the same season while playing for the New York Mets.
Norm Cash of the Detroit Tigers holds the record for most strikeouts in a game with 5. Nolan Ryan has the most starts with games with 10+ K's at 215.
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees played the longest game by innings in MLB history in 1974. It took them 19 innings over 7 hours to finish.
Fielding and Base Running Records
Hall of Fame Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. holds the record for most consecutive games played at 2,632 over 16 seasons.
Rickey Henderson is the stolen base king with 1,406 career steals followed by Lou Brock's 938. Henderson also holds the single season record with 130.
Ichiro Suzuki recorded the most hits in a season with 262 and also has the most career hits by a foreign born player at 3,089.
Brooks Robinson won 16 straight Gold Glove awards playing third base for the Baltimore Orioles between 1960-1975.
The Chicago White Sox committed 9 errors in one game in 1982 - the MLB record for errors in a single game.
The 1916 New York Giants hold the MLB record for most consecutive wins at 26 games between September and October of that season.
The Seattle Mariners tied the ML record for most wins in a season with 116 in 2001. However, they failed to win the World Series.
Joe DiMaggio's New York Yankees still hold the record for most consecutive World Series titles winning 5 straight between 1949-1953.
The 1929 Philadelphia Athletics scored 10 runs in the 7th inning against the Indians setting the ML record for most runs scored in a single inning.
The 1975 Cincinnati Reds known as the "Big Red Machine" were the last NL team to win back-to-back World Series titles.
Baseball is woven into American history and culture. These interesting stats and facts reflect the legacy and records that make baseball a truly special sport.