You know it’s going to be the best year ever when there are both Minor League Baseball and Olympic games in the same year! Whether you are a fan of it or not, it’s no wonder that baseball has garnered popularity over the years. To begin with, it’s not secluded anymore, now we have worldwide baseball leagues that play some incredible matches. However, it’s not the popularity of baseball I wanted to talk about today; I wanted to introduce you to the history of baseball in the Olympic games. Hopefully, this will be a fun and informative read!
The History of Baseball at The Olympics
Baseball was first introduced to a larger audience in St Louis’ Olympic Games in 1904, but unfortunately, we have no clear memorabilia from that era. Eight years later, the US baseball team played against Sweden at the Stockholm Olympic Games and won, and several years later, the US team played against France and won as well. Unfortunately, baseball was commonly discontinued from the Olympic Games, so there is only a small list of years I can offer you that mark the inclusion of this wonderful sport in the list of sports at the Olympics (1904, 1912, 1936, 1952, 1956, 1964, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2021).
As with other sports at the start of the Olympic Games (since the Games were only targeting amateur sportsmen back then) only male amateurs were allowed to play baseball! This caused many issues because a lot of people playing for different countries really weren’t that good in this sport; namely because baseball, like any other sport, needs constant practice. Believe it or not, it was only in 2000 that professional baseball players were allowed to play at the Games. This, however, didn’t really make a difference with the US teams because the Major League didn’t allow their players, who were professionals, to participate at the Olympics. To escape the obstacles, the US started sending their Minor League players to the Olympics, which changed their game for the better.
When it finally started getting better for the US at the Olympic Games, baseball, as well as softball, were canceled and voted out of the Olympics held in London in 2012 and were replaced by rugby sevens and golf. The reason for the cancellation of baseball and softball was the following: In order to participate at such a world-famous event, sports needed to have a proper following – they needed to be universal. As the Olympics was moving from the amateur-based approach, it also demanded more professional players at their games – which as we mentioned, was something that the US team lacked when it came to their teams.
Luckily, for us baseball fans, baseball was brought back to the Olympics this year, and I sincerely hope the Olympic Games won’t continue their tradition of voting it out, now that it has achieved the status of a popular sport..