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Portal:Baseball

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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 objective of the offensive team (batting team) is to hit the ball into the field of play, allowing it 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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The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card
The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card depicts Pittsburgh Pirates' Honus Wagner, a dead-ball era baseball player who is widely considered to be one of the best players of all time. The card was designed and issued by the American Tobacco Company (ATC) from 1909 to 1911 as part of its T206 series. Wagner refused to allow production of his baseball card to continue, either because he did not want children to buy cigarette packs to get his card, or because he wanted more compensation from the ATC. The ATC ended production of the Wagner card and a total of only 50 to 200 cards were ever distributed to the public. In 1933, the card was first listed at a price value of US$50 in Jefferson Burdick's The American Card Catalog, making it the most expensive baseball card in the world at the time. The most famous T206 Honus Wagner is the "Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner" card. The card has a controversial past, as some speculate that it was once altered, based on the card's odd texture and shape. The Gretzky T206 Wagner was first sold by Alan Ray to a baseball memorabilia collector named Bill Mastro, who sold the card two years later to Jim Copeland for nearly four times the price he had originally paid. Copeland's sizable transaction revitalized interest in the sports memorabilia collection market. In 1991, Copeland sold the card to ice hockey figures Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall for $451,000. Gretzky resold the card four years later to Wal-Mart and Treat Entertainment for $500,000, for use as the top prize in a promotional contest. The next year, a Florida postal worker won the card and auctioned it at Christie's for $640,000 to collector Michael Gidwitz. In 2000, the card was sold in an auction on eBay to Brian Seigel for $1.27 million. In February 2007, Seigel sold the card to an anonymous collector for $2.35 million. Less than six months later, the card was sold to a California collector for $2.8 million. These transactions have made the Wagner card the most valuable baseball card in history. A number of other T206 Wagners, both legitimate and fake, have surfaced in recent years. Some of the real cards have fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars in auctions. One particular T206 Honus Wagner owned by John Cobb and Ray Edwards has attracted media controversy over its authenticity, despite many leading hobby experts regarding it to be a fake.

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Walter Francis O'Malley (October 9, 1903 – August 9, 1979) was an American sports executive who owned the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers team in Major League Baseball from 1950 to 1979 and who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He served as Brooklyn Dodger chief legal counsel when Jackie Robinson broke the racial color barrier in 1947. In 1958, as owner of the Dodgers, he brought major league baseball to the West Coast, moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and coordinating the move of the New York Giants to San Francisco at a time when there were no teams west of Missouri. For this, he was long vilified by Brooklyn Dodger fans.

O'Malley was mentioned several times in Danny Kaye's 1962 song tribute, "The D-O-D-G-E-R-S Song (Oh, Really? No, O'Malley!)", which spins a tale of a fantasy game between the Dodgers and the Giants. At one point, the umpire's call goes against the home team:

Down in the dugout, Alston glowers
Up in the booth, Vin Scully frowns;
Out in the stands, O'Malley grins...
Attendance 50,000!
So ....what does O'Malley do? CHARGE!!

On March 17, 1970, Walter turned over the presidency of the team to his son Peter, remaining as Chairman until his death in 1979. Peter O'Malley held the position until 1998 when the team was sold to Rupert Murdoch. The team remained successful on the field under Peter and won the World Series in both 1981 and 1988. They remained successful at the box office as well: by the end of the 1980s, they had not only became the first franchise to draw three million fans, but also they had done it more times than all other franchises combined.

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Terry Francona, current Red Sox manager
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox are members of the American League (AL) East Division in Major League Baseball (MLB). There have been 43 different managers in their franchise history; four during the era of the Boston Americans (19011907) and the rest under the Boston Red Sox (1908–present). In baseball, the head coach of a team is called the manager, or more formally, the field manager. Since 1912, the Red Sox have played their home games at Fenway Park. Jimmy Collins was the first manager of the Americans and managed from 1901 to 1906. Joe Cronin managed the most games with 1,987 and wins with 1,071 with the Red Sox. He is followed by Pinky Higgins in both categories with 1,116 games and 560 wins. Terry Francona, the current manager of the Red Sox, has managed the most playoff games with 42 and wins with 28. Bill Carrigan and Francona have each won two World Series championships. Carrigan won his two championships in 1915 and 1916, while Francona won his two championships in 2004 and 2007. John McNamara and Jimy Williams are the only two Red Sox managers to win the AL Manager of the Year Award, in 1986 and 1999 respectively.

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