5 Fun Facts About Baseball You Probably Don’t Know
With its long and rich history filled with some of the greatest names and moments in the history of professional sports, there are so many great factoids you could point to, when you want to compile any type of “best baseball facts list.”
So, here’s our attempt at culling that list down to five of the most interesting facts about professional baseball that we could find:
Fact 1 – The first baseball game played was in New York on June 19, 1845.
There’s a reason baseball is considered to be “America’s pastime.” It’s because the history of America evolved with the history of baseball. As amazing as this sounds, the first baseball game was played almost two centuries ago, between two teams that no longer exist: the New York Knickerbockers and the New York Nine. That game took place almost 60 years before the first World Series was even played (in 1903).
Fact 2 – Jackie Robinson was not the first African American Man to Play in the Major Leagues
Ironically enough, the answer to one of baseball’s greatest trivia questions of “who was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball” isn’t the answer that probably 99.9% of fans would answer. Everyone thinks it’s Jackie Robinson, given all the credit he’s received for tearing down the racial barriers in the game. But in reality, the first African American player in the major leagues was a man named Moses Fleetwood Walker. He played in the majors for one year, almost 63 years before Robinson did. Moses in the image below is top right.
Fact 3 – The Longest Game in the History of Professional Baseball Lasted 33 Innings
The usual routine for a midweek baseball game goes something like this: the first pitch will take place just after 7:00pm or so, and about two-and-a-half to three hours later, even the closest of games should be wrapped up, just in time for fans to head home and get a good night’s rest before going to work the next day.
However, an April 1981 game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, two teams from the Triple-A International League, strayed greatly from that script. That game lasted 33 innings, comprising 8 hours and 25 minutes of playing time. In other words: if the game started at 7:00pm, it was over around 3:30am.
Fact 4 – Aroldis Chapman Holds The Record For The Fastest Pitch In MLB History
Over the past few decades, we’ve seen starting pitchers with absolutely incredible arm strength, and closers who specialized in throwing fastballs that looked more like fireballs. But, according to the numbers, nobody threw the ball harder and faster than current New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman.
He holds the record for the fastest recorded pitch speed in MLB history, at 105.1 miles per hour, recorded in a late September of 2010 game against the San Diego Padres. In 2015, he actually hit 105 mph on two different pitches in one game.
Fact 5 – Babe Ruth Owns Three Of The Longest Home Runs In Baseball History
Long before the “steroids era” of baseball tainted everything we think we know about home runs, George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. was the original home run king, who would smash opposing pitches the opposite way at lengths that seemed impossible at the time. Not only did he hold the MLB single-season home run record for almost 40 years (until fellow New York Yankee Roger Maris broke it), but he’s also believed to have hit the three longest home runs in baseball history.
The only problem is, the length of home runs weren’t officially calculated in the early 20th century, so we’re just going off historical “hearsay” of sorts. But with his god-given ability to play the game of baseball, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise.