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Answered 2009-08-25 00:40:14

In the mid-1850s, a Baseball craze hit the New York metropolitan area.[16] By 1856, local journals were referring to baseball as the "national pastime" or "national game".[17] A year later, sixteen area clubs formed the sport's first governing body, the National Association of Base Ball Players. In 1863, the organization disallowed putouts made by catching a fair ball on the first bounce. Four years later, it barred participation by African Americans.[18] The game's commercial potential was developing: in 1869 the first fully professional baseball club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was formed and went undefeated against a schedule of semipro and amateur teams.[19] The first professional league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, lasted from 1871 to 1875; scholars dispute its status as a major league.[20]

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