The exact origins of baseball are unclear. Various games featuring a bat and a ball have been played since the 14th century. The official rules of baseball date back to 1845 and are credited to Alexander Cartwright, who one year later organized the first game in the United States. But that came eight years after the first game in North America was played in Beachville, Ontario.
Baseball was a demonstration sport at St. Louis 1904, Stockholm 1912, Berlin 1936, Melbourne 1956, Tokyo 1964, Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988. At those last two Olympic Games, a full tournament was held, rather than just a single game exhibition.
Baseball made its official Olympic debut at Barcelona 1992. It featured in five Games, most recently at Beijing 2008. In July 2005, an IOC vote removed baseball from future Olympic Games. The World Baseball Softball Confederation was established in April 2013 as a joint international governing body for both sports aiming to return to the Olympic program. Baseball has been included at the Pan American Games since the inaugural edition in 1951, but Toronto 2015 marks the debut of women’s baseball at a multi-sport Games.
Men’s baseball games are divided into nine innings while the women play seven innings. Each team has three outs per inning. There can be no tied games, so any game tied after the regulation innings will go to as many extra innings as necessary to decide a winner.
While one team assumes defensive positions (three in the outfield, four around the bases, catcher, pitcher) the other team sends players to bat. The objective for the batter is to hit the ball thrown by the pitcher and advance around the bases to home plate, scoring a run. When the defending team gets three of the batting team’s players out, the teams switch positions.