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Baseball is an immensely popular American game known as the national pastime played between two teams of nine players each The basic implements used in the game are a leather-covered ball wooden bats for hitting the ball and gloves for catching it Baseball is played on a large scale in Latin America Japan and other places besides the United States but it is in the United States that it thrives most both as a participants and spectators sport It is played at its highest level in the United States and two Canadian cities where 26 teams make up the American and National Leagues each with two divisions East and West Combined these leagues are called major-league professional baseball Most players who reach the major leagues have worked their way up through Little League scholastic college and minor-league professional ball The vast majority of major-league players are American-reared although since the 1960s the sport has seen an influx of Latin American players Following a regular season of 162 games the division winners vie for each leagues pennant the American and National League champions then compete in the World Series Both rounds of competition employ best-of-seven series of games Baseballs popularity is in part a result of the fact that almost every American boy plays the game at one time or another and the lore of the game is intertwined with American life Baseball has supplied the American culture with a wide range of legendary heroes as well as books magazines movies and songs The game has contributed hundreds of words and phrases to the American language The History of Baseball The popular myth that Abner DOUBLEDAY invented baseball in Cooperstown NY in 1839 is without foundation Actually baseball evolved from cricket and rounders with town ball and the New York game popular in the eastern United States by the 1820s as intermediaries On June 19 1846 a New York team defeated the Knickerbocker Baseball Club of
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