After baseball became popular in the early 1900's, major league officials appointed a commission to investigate the origins of the game. Despite the plentiful information to the contrary, the commissioners reported that Abner Doubleday invented the sport in 1839 in Cooperstown, New York. Actually, historians today doubt Doubleday played a large role, if any, in the creation of baseball. Still, the rules used today are similar to rules used during Doubleday's time, with the exception of a few important changes adopted during the second half of the nineteenth century. For instance, early games were played until one team scored twenty-one points. The present nine-inning rule wasn't adopted until 1857. Then, as now, three strikes made an out -- but initially strikes had to be pitches swung at and missed. When a coach in the early days said, "Wait for the right one," the batter might wait a long, long time -- thrown strikes weren't recognized until 1868. Furthermore, a batter couldn't be walked until 1879, and even then only after nine balls; the present four-ball walk rule was introduced in 1889. These rule changes led the way to modern baseball and legendary players like Lou Gehrig.
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