This 1976 photo inspired Lorde’s Grammy-winning song, “Royals.” George Brett, then 23, signs baseballs for adoring Kansas City fans. He’s the only player in Major League Baseball (MLB) history to win a batting title in three different decades.
Though baseball is a global passion and you can find a pickup or professional game from Cuba to Canada to Japan, it’s arguably the most American of sports. And the most nostalgic. It’s “the timeless aspect of the game [that] has helped connect generations for more than two hundred years,” says Jeff Idelson, president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
And another thing ... Baseball is one of those things that is more than the sum of its bat-ball-and-glove parts. Writes sports columnist Mike Barnicle: “It is your life played across nine innings. It comes with hits, runs and errors. It's played by people who are rather isolated on the field ... and when they make a mistake, an error, it’s there for all to see. But they do what you must do every day: Get back in the batter’s box and keep on swinging.”
We went through our archives to retrieve some of the most iconic National Geographic images of this beautiful game. Enjoy!