History Headlines

Cincinnati Reds general manager and future Hall of Famer Larry MacPhail presides over the lighting of Crosley Field on May 24, 1935. (Baseball Hall of Fame)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – It was an idea born almost the moment the incandescent light bulb became a reality. Its execution, however, required more than five decades of perseverance – as technological advances, economic necessity and a few brilliant men finally wore down the opposition.

Today, baseball fans born after 1935 have grown up knowing almost nothing but night baseball. But until 75 years ago, big league baseball was played exclusively during the day.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game was written in 1908. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

What do Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Stan Musial, Harpo Marx, LL Cool J, Harry Caray and Carly Simon have in common? They’ve all recorded baseball’s anthem, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” the third most frequently played song in American culture, after “Happy Birthday” and “The Star-Spangled Banner."

On May 7, 1957, Herb Score's baseball career changed with one swing of the bat. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Only one percent or so of all major leaguers earn election to the Hall of Fame. That isn’t many.

At any point in time, we can survey the crop of active players and identify those who have amassed such impressive statistics that their election seems obvious. A tougher group to evaluate is younger players who have sparkled but who will have to maintain their excellence to reach immortality. Tim Lincecum, Joe Mauer, and Hanley Ramirez are examples of current young stars with superior talent who may – or may not – eventually compile HOF-worthy statistics and achievements.

In 1990, Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan threw his sixth of seven career no-hitters. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Click here to view video footage of Nolan Ryan's sixth career no-hitter.

Baseball fans like labels.

1968 was the Year of the Pitcher. 1961 was dubbed the Year of the Home Run. A book even labeled 1930 as the Year of the Batter.

So if one trend must define a season, 1990 was the Year of the no-hitter.

The Hall of Fame collections house a ticket from the first game at the original Yankee Stadium. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Cooperstown comes to Joe Mauer

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Only four teams in the history of Major League Baseball have won the World Series in the inaugural year of a new stadium, including the New York Yankees in 2009.

The Minnesota Twins hope to follow in Bronx Bombers’ footsteps in 2010, when they begin their first season at Target Field. But no matter how many games the Twins win this year, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will be there to document Minnesota’s historic season.

Rube Foster was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

At the time, it seemed little more than a footnote to history.

But today, the men who launched the Negro National League are recognized as pioneers in baseball and business. Their legacy is that of pioneers.

Bob Feller threw the first Opening Day no-hitter on April 16, 1940. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Opening Day of baseball is one of the most anticipated days of the year. So it should come as no surprise that some of the best season-starting performances in history have come from players who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ted Williams is considered by many the best hitter of all-time – and he certainly supported that argument on Opening Day. He played in 14 Opening Day games, hitting .449 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. He had at least one hit in every Opening Day game he appeared in.

Catfish Hunter signed his first Yankee contract worth 3.75 million with this pen. (Samantha Carr/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – In December of 1974, Jim “Catfish” Hunter became the first modern major leaguer to become a free agent at the peak of his career.

And the 39-cent pen that made him the highest-paid player in baseball quickly found its way into the collection at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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