interest in the game became so great that it was decided to send a representation of American base-ball players to England; and two clubs, the Bostons, who were the champions that year, and the Athletics, former champions, crossed the Atlantic and played several exhibition games with each other. While successful in exciting some interest, the trip did not succeed in popularizing base-ball in Great Britain. Fifteen years later two other nines of representative American base-ball players made a general tour of Australia and various other countries, completing their trip by a contest in England. This too, however, had little effect, and later attempts to establish base-ball in England have likewise been unsuccessful. But in America the game continued to prosper. The first entirely professional club was the Cincinnati Red Stockings (1868). Two national associations were formed in 1871, one having jurisdiction over professional clubs and the other over amateurs. In 1876 was formed the National League, of eight clubs under the presidency of Nicholas E. Young, which contained the expert ball-players of the country. There were so many people in the United States who wanted to see professional base-ball that this organization proved too small to furnish the desired number of games, and hence in 1882 the American Association was formed. For a time it seemed that there would be room for both organizations; but there was considerable rivalry, and it was not until an agreement was made between the two organizations that they were able to work together in harmony. They practically controlled professional base-ball for many years, although there were occasional attempts to overthrow their authority, the most notable being the formation in 1890 of a brotherhood of players called the Players' League, organized for the purpose of securing some of the financial benefits accruing to the managers, as well as for the purpose of abolishing black-listing and other supposed abuses. The Players' League proved not sufficiently strong for the task, and fell to pieces. For some years the National League consisted of twelve clubs organized as stock companies, representing cities as far apart as Boston and St Louis, but in 1900 the number was reduced to eight, namely, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Pittsburg, Philadelphia and St Louis. Certain aggressive and dissatisfied elements took advantage of this change to organize a second great professional association under the presidency of B. B. Johnson, the "American League," of eight clubs, six of them in cities where the National League was already represented. Most of the clubs of both leagues flourish financially, as also do the many minor associations which control the clubs of the different sections of the country, among which are the Eastern League, the American Association, Western League, Southern Association, New England League, Pacific League and the different state leagues. Professional base-ball has not been free from certain objectionable elements, of which the unnecessary and rowdyish fault-finding with the umpires has been the most evident, but the authorities of the different leagues have lately succeeded, by strenuous legislation, in abating these. Of authorities on base-ball, Henry Chadwick (d. 1908) is the best known.
Amateur base-ball, in its organized phase, is played mostly by school and university clubs as well as those of athletic associations. The first college league was formed in 1879 and comprised Harvard, Princeton, Amherst, Brown and Dartmouth, Yale joining a year later. The Eastern College League, with Columbia, Harvard, Princeton and Yale, followed in 1887. This was afterwards dissolved and at present the most important universities of the eastern states are members of no league, although such organizations exist in New England and different parts of the west and south. Amateur base-ball has progressed along the same lines as professional, although the college playing rules formerly differed in certain minor points from those of the professional leagues.
The following is a general description of the field and of the manner in which the game is played, but as the game has become highly complicated, situations may arise in playing in which general statements do not strictly hold. Any smooth, level field about 150 yds. long and 100 yds. broad will serve for a base-ball ground. Upon this field is marked out with white chalk a square, commonly called the diamond, smooth, like a cricket pitch, the sides of which measure 30 yds. each, and the nearest corner of which is distant about 30 yds. from the limit of the field. This corner is marked with a white plate, called the home-base or plate, five-sided in shape, two of the sides being 1 ft. long and that towards the pitcher 17 in. At the other three corners and attached to pegs are white canvas bags 15 in. square filled with some soft material, and called, beginning at the right as one looks towards the field, first-base, second-base and third-base respectively. The lines from home-base to first, and from home to third are indefinitely prolonged and called foul-lines. The game is played by two sides of nine men each, one of these taking its turn at the bat while the other is in the field endeavouring, as provided by certain rules, to put out the side at bat. Each side has nine turns, or innings, at bat, unless the side last at bat does not need its ninth innings in order to win; a tie at the end of the ninth innings makes additional innings necessary. A full game usually takes from 1½ to 2 hrs. to play. Three batsmen are put out in each innings, and the side scoring the greatest number of runs (complete encircling of the bases without being put out) wins. A runner who is not put out but fails to reach home-base does not score a run, but is "left on base."
Implements of the Game.—The ball, which is 9-9¼ in. in circumference and weighs 5-5¼ oz., is made of yarn wound upon a small core of vulcanized rubber and covered with white leather, which may not be intentionally discoloured. The bat must be round, not over 2¾ in. in diameter at the thickest part, nor more than 42 in. in length. It is usually made of ash or some other hard wood, and the handle may be wound with twine. Three-cornered spikes are usually worn on the players' shoes. The catcher and first-baseman (v. infra) may wear a glove of any size on one hand; the gloves worn by all other players may not measure more than 14 in. round the palm nor weigh more than 10 oz.
The Players.—The fielding side consists of (a) the pitcher and catcher, called the battery, (b) the first-baseman, second-baseman, third-baseman and short-stop, called infielders, and (c) the left-fielder, centre-fielder and right-fielder, called out-fielders.
The pitcher, who delivers the ball to the batsman, is the most important member of the side. In the act of pitching, which is throwing either over or underhand, he must keep one foot in contact with a white plate, called the pitcher's plate, 24 in. long and 6 in. wide, placed 60.5 ft. from the back of the home-base. Before 1875 the pitcher was obliged to deliver the ball with a full toss only, but about that time a disguised underhand throw, which greatly increased the pace, began to be used so generally that it was soon legalized, and the overhand throw followed as a matter of course. As long as the arm was held stiff no curve could be imparted to the flight of the ball in the air, but with the increase of pace came the possibility of doing this by a movement of the wrist as the ball left the hand, the twist thus given causing the ball, by the pressure on the air, to swerve to one side or the other, or downwards, according to the position of the hand and fingers as the ball is let go. The commonest of these swerving deliveries, and the first one invented, is the out-curve, the ball coming straight towards the batsman until almost within reach of his bat, when it suddenly swerves away from him towards the right, if he be right-handed. The other important curves are the incurve, shooting sharply to the left, and the drop, with their many variations, nearly every pitcher using some favourite curve. Change of pace, disguised as well as possible, is also an important part of pitching strategy, as well as variation of the delivery and the play upon the known weaknesses or idiosyncrasies of the batsman. Good control over the ball is a necessity, as four "balls" called by the umpire,—that is, balls not over the base, or over the base and not between the shoulder and knee of the batsman,—entitle the batsman to become a base-runner and take his first base. If the pitcher disregards the restrictions placed upon him by the rules (e.g. he may not, while in position, make a motion to deliver the ball to the batsman without actually