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Professional baseball is played in leagues throughout the world. In these leagues and associated farm teams, baseball players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system.
Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada consists of the National League (founded in 1876) and the American League (1901). Historically, teams in one league never played teams in the other until the World Series, in which the champions of the two leagues played against each other. This changed in 1997 with the advent of interleague play.
In addition to the major leagues, many North American cities and towns feature minor league teams. An organization officially styled Minor League Baseball, formerly the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, oversees nearly all minor league baseball in the United States and Canada. The minor leagues are divided into classes AAA, AA, High A, Low A, Short-Season A, Advanced Rookie, and Rookie. These minor-league divisions are affiliated with major league teams, and serve to develop young players and rehabilitate injured major-leaguers. The Mexican League is an independent league that is a member of Minor League Baseball and has no affiliations to any Major League Baseball teams. Organized Baseball is often applied as an umbrella term for all leagues — Major and minor — under the authority of the Commissioner of Baseball.
Operating outside the Minor League Baseball organization are many independent minor leagues such as the Atlantic League, American Association, Frontier League,Can-Am League and the feeder league to these the Empire Professional Baseball League.
Japan has had professional baseball since the 1930s. Nippon Professional Baseball consists of two leagues, the Central League and the Pacific League, each with six teams.
South Korea has had professional baseball since 1982. There are 10 teams in KBO League.
Taiwan has had professional baseball since 1990s. The Chinese Professional Baseball League absorbed Taiwan Major League in 2003.
Other Asian leagues include the China Baseball League and Baseball Philippines. others include the Israel Baseball League.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, African-American players were barred from playing the major leagues, though several did manage to play by claiming to be Cubans or Indians. As a result, a number of parallel Negro Leagues were formed. However, after Jackie Robinson began playing with the major-league Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, the Negro Leagues gradually faded. The process of integration did not go entirely smoothly; there were some ugly incidents, including pitchers who would try to throw directly at an African-American player's head. Now, however, baseball is fully integrated, and there is little to no racial tension between teammates.
Between 1943 and 1954, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League fielded teams in several Midwestern towns.
The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball leagues comprising teams predominantly made up of African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latin Americans. The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning in 1920 that are sometimes termed "Negro Major Leagues".
While much has been written about baseball in the United States, it was often played in numerous other countries. Today, baseball is a popular sport around the world.
Nippon Professional Baseball or NPB is the highest level of baseball in Japan. Locally, it is often called Puro Yakyū (プロ野球), meaning Professional Baseball. Outside Japan, it is often just referred to as "Japanese baseball". The roots of the league can be traced back to the formation of the "Greater Japan Tokyo Baseball Club" in Tokyo, founded 1934 and the original circuit for the sport in the Empire two years later – Japanese Baseball League (1936–1949), and continued to play even through the final years of World War II.
The history of baseball can be broken down into various aspects: by era, by locale, by organizational-type, game evolution, well as by political and cultural influence. 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, South Korea, and Taiwan.
Wilmer Leon Fields was an African American baseball player who was a household name in the Negro Leagues and other baseball circuits between the 1940s and 1950s.
Adolfo Domingo De Guzmán "Dolf" Luque was a Cuban starting pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1914 to 1935. Luque was enshrined in the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1967, as well as in the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.
The color line, also known as the color barrier, in American baseball excluded players of black African descent from Major League Baseball and its affiliated Minor Leagues until 1947. Racial segregation in professional baseball was sometimes called a gentlemen's agreement, meaning a tacit understanding, as there was no written policy at the highest level of organized baseball, the major leagues. But a high minor league's vote in 1887 against allowing new contracts with black players within its league sent a powerful signal that eventually led to the disappearance of blacks from the sport's other minor leagues later that century, including the low minors.
Samuel Jethroe, nicknamed "The Jet", was an American center fielder in Negro league and Major League Baseball. With the Cincinnati & Cleveland Buckeyes he won a pair of batting titles, hit .340 over seven seasons from 1942 to 1948, and helped the team to two pennants and the 1945 Negro World Series title. He was named the National League's Rookie of the Year in 1950 with the Boston Braves, and led the NL in stolen bases in his first two seasons.
Miguel Angel González Cordero was a Cuban catcher, coach and interim manager in American Major League Baseball during the first half of the 20th century. Along with Adolfo Luque, González was one of the first Cubans or Latin Americans to have a long off-field career in the U.S. Major Leagues.
The Cuban League was one of the earliest and longest lasting professional baseball leagues outside the United States, operating in Cuba from 1878 to 1961. The schedule usually operated during the winter months, so the league was sometimes known as the "Cuban Winter League." It was always a small league, generally 3 to 5 teams, and was centered in Havana, though it sometimes included teams from outlying cities such as Matanzas or Santa Clara. The league became racially integrated in 1900, and during the first half of the 20th century the Cuban League was a premier venue for black and white players to meet. Many great black Northern American players competed in Cuba alongside native black and white Cuban stars such as José Méndez, Cristóbal Torriente, Adolfo Luque, and Martín Dihigo. After 1947, the Cuban League entered into an agreement with Major League Baseball and was used for player development. Following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, however, tensions rose with the new Communist government, and in March 1961 the government decreed the abolition of professional baseball.
The International League (IL) is a Minor League Baseball league that operates in the eastern United States and is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. Like the Pacific Coast League and the Mexican League, it plays at the Triple-A level, which is one step below Major League Baseball.
Professional baseball in Japan first started in the 1920s, but it was not until the Greater Japan Tokyo Baseball Club was established in 1934 that the modern professional game had continued success.
Triple-A or Class AAA is the highest level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States and Mexico. Before 2008, Triple-A leagues also fielded teams in Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the Triple-A International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL), with 14 teams in the IL and 16 in the PCL. The MLB-independent Mexican League fields 16 teams. Triple-A teams are typically located in large metropolitan areas that do not have Major League Baseball teams, such as San Antonio; Austin; Columbus; and Indianapolis.
Juan Francisco "Pancho" Herrera Willavicencio was a Cuban-born professional baseball player. He played all or part of three seasons in Major League Baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies between 1958 and 1961, primarily as a first baseman. He also played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro American League, from whom he was purchased by the Phillies in 1954, as well with the Buffalo Bisons of the International League (AAA) and also in Mexico. Herrera was the first Afro-Latino to play for the Phillies.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to baseball:
Minor League Baseball (MiLB) is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball (MLB) and provide opportunities for player development and a way to prepare for the major leagues. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses. Most are members of the umbrella organization formally known as National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL), which operates under the Commissioner of Baseball within the scope of organized baseball. Several leagues, known as independent baseball leagues, do not have any official links to Major League Baseball.
There is a wide variety of organized sports in the continent of North America. The continent is the birthplace of several of these organized sports, such as basketball, gridiron football, ice hockey, lacrosse, racquetball, rodeo, ultimate, and volleyball. The modern versions of baseball and softball, skateboarding, snowboarding, stock car racing, and surfing also developed in North America.
Marvin Williams was an African-American baseball second baseman. Listed at 6' 0" (1.83 m), 190 lb. (86 k), Williams batted and threw right handed. He was born in Houston, Texas.