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Portal:Baseball

The Baseball Portal

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Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team (batting team) are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases--having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team (fielding team) is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate (the place where the player started as a batter). The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

The first objective of the batting team is to have a player reach first base safely. A player on the batting team who reaches first base without being called "out" can attempt to advance to subsequent bases as a runner, either immediately or during teammates' turns batting. The fielding team tries to prevent runs by getting batters or runners "out", which forces them out of the field of play. Both the pitcher and fielders have methods of getting the batting team's players out. The opposing teams switch back and forth between batting and fielding; the batting team's turn to bat is over once the fielding team records three outs. One turn batting for each team constitutes an inning. A game is usually composed of nine innings, and the team with the greater number of runs at the end of the game wins. If scores are tied at the end of nine innings, extra innings are usually played. Baseball has no game clock, although most games end in the ninth inning.

Baseball evolved from older bat-and-ball games already being played in England by the mid-18th century. This game was brought by immigrants to North America, where the modern version developed. By the late 19th century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball is popular in North America and parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and East Asia, particularly in Japan and South Korea.

In the United States and Canada, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL), each with three divisions: East, West, and Central. The MLB champion is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. The top level of play is similarly split in Japan between the Central and Pacific Leagues and in Cuba between the West League and East League. The World Baseball Classic, organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, is the major international competition of the sport and attracts the top national teams from around the world.

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Joe West 2011.jpg
Joseph Henry West (born October 31, 1952), nicknamed "Cowboy Joe", is an American professional baseball umpire in Major League Baseball (MLB). A native of Greenville, South Carolina, West attended Rose High School and played football at East Carolina University (ECU) and Elon College. West entered the National League (NL) as an umpire in 1976; he joined the NL staff full-time in 1978. As a young umpire, West worked Nolan Ryan's fifth career no-hitter, was on the field for Willie McCovey's 500th home run, and was involved in a 1983 shoving incident with manager Joe Torre.

A few years later, West was the home plate umpire during the 1988 playoff game in which pitcher Jay Howell was ejected for having pine tar on his glove. In 1990, he threw pitcher Dennis Cook to the ground while attempting to break up a fight. West resigned during the 1999 Major League Umpires Association mass resignation, but was rehired in 2002. Since then, he has umpired throughout MLB. In a 2004 playoff game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, West's crew made a controversial decision that necessitated police presence to calm the crowd. He served as crew chief for the 2005 World Series.

In 2010, West attracted media attention after he publicly complained about the slow pace of a game between the Red Sox and Yankees. He also worked the game that year in which Albert Pujols hit his 400th career home run. West has worked several no-hitters, including a 2012 perfect game by Félix Hernández. As of 2012, West has the longest tenure of any MLB umpire. West has appeared in five World Series, two All-Star Games, seven League Championship Series (LCS) and five League Division Series (LDS).

West is president of the World Umpires Association (WUA). As the organization's president, West helped negotiate the largest umpiring contract in baseball history. He works with a sporting goods company to design and patent umpiring equipment endorsed by MLB. West is also a singer and songwriter, and has released two country music albums. He had a small acting role in the comedy film The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! and a cameo appearance in the television crime drama The Oldest Rookie. He plays golf on the Celebrity Players Tour.

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Steven Louis Dalkowski (born June 3, 1939 in New Britain, Connecticut) is a retired left-handed pitcher in minor league baseball. He is sometimes called the fastest pitcher in baseball history and had a fastball that may have exceeded 100 mph (161 km/h). Some experts believe it went as fast as 110 mph (177 km/h), others that his pitches travelled at 105 mph (169 km/h) or less. The Guinness Book of Records records the fastest pitch ever as 100.9 mph (162.4 km/h) by Nolan Ryan. As no radar gun or other device was available to measure the speed of his pitches precisely, the actual top speed of his pitches remains unknown. Regardless of its actual speed, his fastball earned him the nickname "White Lightning".

Dalkowski was also famous for his unpredictable performance and inability to control his pitches. His alcoholism and violent behavior off the field caused him problems during his career and after his retirement. After he retired from baseball, he spent many years as an alcoholic, making a meager living as a migrant worker. He recovered in the 1990s, but his alcoholism has left him with dementia and he has difficulty remembering his life after the mid-1960s.

Screenwriter and film director Ron Shelton played in the minor leagues alongside Dalkowski. His 1988 film Bull Durham features a character named "Nuke" LaLoosh (played by Tim Robbins) who is based loosely on Dalkowski. Also in the film The Scout Brendan Fraser's character is loosely based on him.

Quotes

I believe in the Rip Van Winkle Theory: that a man from 1910 must be able to wake up after being asleep for 70 years, walk into a ballpark, and understand baseball perfectly.
-- Bowie Kuhn, Former Major League Commissioner


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Pete Rose is the all-time MLB hits leader with 4,256 hits
In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 3,000 hit club is a term applied to the group of batters who have collected 3,000 or more regular-season hits in their careers. Cap Anson was the first to join the club on July 18, 1897, although his precise career hit total is unclear. Two players--Nap Lajoie and Honus Wagner--reached 3,000 hits during the 1914 season. Ty Cobb became the club's fourth member in 1921 and became the first player in MLB history to reach 4,000 hits in 1927, ultimately finishing his career with more than 4,100. Cobb, also MLB's all-time career batting average leader, remained the MLB hit leader until September 11, 1985 when Pete Rose collected his 4,192nd hit. Rose, the current record holder, finished his career with 4,256 hits. Roberto Clemente's career ended with precisely 3,000 hits, reaching the mark in the last at bat of his career. Derek Jeter is the most recent player to reach the milestone, achieving the feat on July 9, 2011.

In total, 28 players have reached the 3,000 hit club in MLB history. Of these, 14 were right-handed batters, 12 were left-handed, and 2 were switch hitters, meaning they could bat from either side of the plate. Ten of these players (and the only active member of the 3,000 hit club) have played for only one major league team. The Cleveland Indians are the only franchise to see three players reach the milestone while on their roster: Lajoie (while the franchise was known as the "Naps"), Tris Speaker, and Eddie Murray. Four players--Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Murray, and Rafael Palmeiro--are also members of the 500 home run club. Cobb holds the highest career batting average, .366, of the club while Cal Ripken, Jr. holds the lowest at .276. Jeter and Wade Boggs are the only players to hit a home run for their 3,000th hit and Paul Molitor is the only player to hit a triple for his 3,000th; all others hit a double or single. Craig Biggio was thrown out at second base attempting to stretch his 3,000th hit, a single, into a double. Biggio and Jeter are the only players to join the club in a game where they had five hits; Jeter reached base safely in all of his at bats. Baseball writer Josh Pahigian wrote that the club has been "long considered the greatest measure of superior bat handling." Reaching 3,000 hits is often described as a guarantee of eventual entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All eligible club members, with the exception of Palmeiro, have been elected to the Hall, and since 1962 all have been elected on the first ballot. Eligibility requires that a player has "been retired five seasons" or deceased for at least six months, disqualifying two living players (Biggio and Jeter). Additionally, Rose was declared permanently ineligible for his role in gambling on baseball games.

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