Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner was nicknamed "The Flying Dutchman" due to his superb speed and German heritage. He won eight batting titles, tied for the most in National League history with Tony Gwynn. He also led the league in slugging six times, and in stolen bases five times.
While there are reports that the New York Knickerbockers played games in 1845, the contest long recognized as the first officially recorded baseball game in U.S. history took place on June 19, 1846, in Hoboken, New Jersey. In four innings, the "New York Nine" defeated the Knickerbockers, 23-1.
On January 12, 1921, federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was elected baseball's first Commissioner. He accepted on the condition that he be granted unlimited authority to act in the "best interests of baseball". He also insisted on a lifetime contract. The owners, still reeling from the perception that the sport was crooked, readily agreed.
In 1973, Nolan Ryan set his first major record when he struck out 383 batters in one season, beating Sandy Koufax's old mark by one. Koufax later joked, "Yeah, and he also surpassed my total for bases on balls in a single season by 91. I suspect half of those guys he struck out swung rather than get hit."