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Americans had been playing baseball long before they agreed on the rules or even settled on how to spell it. They didn't always call it baseball eitherin some places it was known simply as "town ball" or, more generically, "round ball." No matter what form it has taken, baseballand its close fraternal twin, softballhas endured. But it hasn't stayed the same in anyone's lifetime. Former major leaguer and announcer Bob Uecker, upon hearing the phrase "emotional distress" to describe poor hitting, observed, "When I played, they didn't use fancy words like that. They just said I couldn't hit."
Baseball Americana features items from the Library of Congress collections and those of its lending partners to consider the game then and nowas it relates to players, teams, and the communities it creates. Although baseball has stayed true to many of its customs, it has also broken with tradition through the invention, competition, and financial interests that still make it the most played sport in the country.