Welcome to SportVault! Your #1 Source For America's Top Professional Sports!



 Here in America, one of the most popular hobbies for many citizens is playing sports. However, some people don’t play sports as a hobby. They play them because it’s their everyday job. Since  the late 19th century, professional sport leagues began flourishing the nation and are continuing to grow in popularity in the world’s top empire known as the United States of America. In a  historical context, the history of professional sports has displayed similar events and messages that our nation has witnessed during wars, movements, hardships, victories, and unities as a  family. Fans all around the world tune in to watch these leagues daily, and treasure them as their own “National Past-time”. The love of the game by players, fans, coaches, legends, alumni  players, and community members of all nations have helped to transform the world of sports into an unbreakable bond of friendships, respect, work ethic, intensity, fun, and family.

Before You Go To The League Pages, Find Out How They All Began! (History Section Below)

The Dream Is Born: The Creation Of America's Past-Time Sports


 There are two famous people that are in this conversation of where this sport began. One of them is a myth, while the other is definitely credited and approved as an actual inventor of the game.  The idea of creating the game of baseball was supposedly thought of by a young future Civil War veteran named Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York in the summer of 1839. Today,  Cooperstown is the location of the Major League Baseball Hall Of Fame. However, Doubleday never really approved of having anything to do with the sport and he is known as a myth to this day.  Although baseball didn't exist in the 1600s, some say that the English folk would play a little game called rounders. The players on the other team tried to tag the runner by throwing the ball at  him and hitting him with it (Yes, with an actual hard ball like a baseball). Later, in the 1700s, men in the American colonies played their own version of this game which was known as town ball.  However, there were 25 players on each team that all were required to bat in the same inning before the other team got a chance to bat. Then another man named Alexander Cartwright came along in 1845 with a list of rules that he came up with. Since then, baseball was played the way we know it today. This earned Cartwright the right to be called "the father of organized baseball". Many say that Doubleday is the only credited inventor, but according to sources, there are actually two of them (which share a conflict between mytholgical beliefs and facts).


 Abner Doubleday (far left) is known to be a myth of creating baseball after his service in the Civil War. Alexander Cartwright (middle left) is known as the true creator of organized  baseball because of his official book of rules that he introduced in 1845. Before that time, some English folk would play a similar sport known as "rounders" (middle right), which  required the players to throw the ball at each other instead of just tagging the runner. In 1936, the National Baseball Hall Of Fame and Museum (far right) was built in Cooperstown,  New York. Since that time it has been home to the legacies left by baseball's greatest players and has attracted endless amounts of baseball fans year round.

Learn More Here! The History Of Baseball And It's Origins Website Sources: Wikipedia, Google, History


 The games remained largely unorganized until the 19th century, when intramural games of football began to be played on college campuses. This was when Walter Camp, a Yale graduate and  "The Father of American Football", invented certain rules (such as the system of downs) to provide singularity in the sport. This game originally was known as rugby, but then Camp's edition of  the game transitioned it completely. According to History.com, Camp was a Yale undergraduate and medical student from 1876 to 1881. He played halfback and served as team captain,  equivalent to head coach at the time. Even more importantly, he was the guiding force on the rules board of the newly formed Intercollegiate Football Association (IFA). Thanks to Camp, the IFA  made two key innovations to the fledgling game: It did away with the opening “scrummage” or “scrum” and introduced the requirement that a team give up the ball after failing to move down the  field a specified yardage in a certain number of “downs.” Among the other innovations Camp introduced were the 11-man team, the quarterback position, the line of scrimmage, offensive  signal-calling and the scoring scale used in football today. In addition to his work with the rules board, Camp coached the Yale team to a 67-2 record from 1888 to 1892—all while working as an  executive at a watch-manufacturing firm. As a result, the "American Pigskin" was born!


 Walter Camp (far left) is known today as "The Father Of American Football". He was a graduate from Yale University and was a member of the school's rugby team (middle left). Rugby  (middle right) is a game that involves tackling and playing rough without helmets or protective head gear. It was later joined by football in the family of "rough boy" sports.  Eventually, the National Football League was born and the Chicago Bears won one of first ever championships over the New York Giants in 1933 (far right). Today, both sports are  rising in popularity and rugby is beginning to get more recognition than it ever has, becoming an official Olympic sport here in the 21st century.

Learn More Here! The History Of Football And It's Origins Website Sources: Wikipedia, Google, History


 As we know it, the game of basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in December 1891. His purpose of doing this was to condition athletes during the cold weather. He started out with a  peach basket and a soccer-type ball. Then, he put the basket on a pole, and started shooting the ball into it. At first, he used the basket with the bottom in it, but then he got tired of climbing up  and getting the ball out every time. So, he cut a hole in the bottom, and the game was born. Even though the NBA didn't exist until the 1940s, the popularity of this sport rose quickly throughout  Naismith's home state of Massachussetts. Before long, it seemed that everyone had their own homemade basketball hoop. Because he was a Canadien physical education instructor, he had a  great background of being active. It definitely paid off knowing that basketball is considered as one of the more fast-paced games in the world today. For his fine acheivement, he had the NCAA  Men's Basketball Player Of The Year Award named after him.


 The invention of this sport by Dr. James Naismith (far left) lead to the formation of many leagues in the future. Teams like the North Texas Mean Green college basketball team played  their first ever game in 1916 (middle left). In honor of Mr. Naismith, the "College Basketball Player Of The Year" award (middle right) for boys and girls is named after him. Today, the  game continues to grow and flourish with much tradition, especially in the National Basketball Association (far right).

Learn More Here! The History Of Basketball And It's Origins Website Sources: Wikipedia, Google, History


 The first recorded ice hockey game was reported in 1825. On March 3, 1875, the first organized indoor game was played under the new devised rules of J.G (William) Creighton in Montreal,  Canada. Today, ice hockey is an Olympic sport and the most popular team sport played on ice. Although Canada is known the birthplace of this sport and they have officially named it their  "national pasttime", there have actually been objections to this fact. Way back in BC times, Egyptians played a game that, in some cases, resembled field hockey. Another source says that England  is where hockey originated from. Sources everywhere have also said that hockey was first played in the 19th century in the Canadien ice rinks. There also isn't a credited inventor. According to all  of this different information, one person just hasn't been singled out. But it has been made known that the changes of J.G (William) Creighton started hockey's rise into the NHL.


 William Creighton (far left) played for the Quebec hockey team, then he later coached the Los Rideau Hall Rebels (middle left) starting in 1917. Even though arguments have been  made over the years, lots of people haven't noticed that the BC Egyptians actually played a game that resembled the game of field hockey (middle right). The National Hockey League  was then formed in the early 20th century, featuring ten teams, including the NHL's most successful franchise, the Montreal Canadiens (far right).

Learn More Here! The History Of Ice Hockey And It's Origins Website Sources: Wikipedia, Google, History

The Emergence Of The Leagues: On To The Next Chapter

Major League Baseball

 After Alex Cartwright realeased the new and imporved rules of the game, the first "new and improved" baseball game was played on June 19, 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey, between the  Knickerbockers and the New York Base Ball Club (with the Knickerbockers losing 23-1).The country’s first “all-professional” baseball team emerged in 1869. They were called the Cincinnati Red  Stockings. They were financed by a group of Ohio investors so they got off to a terrific start with economics. Each player was paid a salary, with the highest paid player, shortstop George Wright,  earning $1,400 per season – a value equal to almost $23,000 a year now. However, in 1870, the manager of the team moved it to Boston. A year later, the newly-minted Boston Red Stockings,  along with eight other teams from Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Troy (New York), Fort Wayne (Indiana), Cleveland and Rockford (Illinois) formed the National Association of  Professional Ball Players. The World Series didn't exist until 1903, but the first season of Major League Baseball was played in 1871 after the NAPBP was formed. The first reference to baseball as  “the National Pastime” came from the New York Mercury newspaper in 1856, though the title then was a bit premature. Baseball in that time emerged as a New York game played primarily by  immigrants. Newcomers to America took to the game by scores, forming their own baseball clubs, while the Knickerbockers continued to refine the game. Since this took place in the post-Civil  War era, this was a great way for America to grow stronger as a nation, while giving themselves a brand new tradition that was more than just a game.


 The Knickerbockers strike a pose before their first game between the NYC Baseball Club on June 19, 1846 (far left). Although they weren't the first team to ever pick up a baseball, the  Cincinnati Red Stockings (middle left) are known today as the first "all-professional" MLB team. Baseball was a great way to get away from all of the suffering and turmoil that  America had gone through during the Civil War (middle right). The first World Series was played in 1903 between the Boston Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates (far right).

Learn More Here! Major League Baseball's History And Events Website Sources: Wikipedia, Google, History

The National Football League

  Just like in Major League Baseball, Ohio economics played a big part in getting "America's Pigskin" up and rolling. 14 men huddled inside the Jordan and Hupmobile automobile showroom in  downtown Canton, Ohio, on the night of September 17, 1920, and were finally ready to strike a deal. They had come to Ralph Hay’s dealership not in search of a new set of wheels, however, but  a new professional football league to save them from themselves. Nearly a month later, a deal was ready to be struck. Hay (the car dealership owner) gathered representatives from 11  professional football clubs sprinkled across Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and New York: Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles, Decatur Staleys, Hammond Pros, Massillon  Tigers, Muncie Flyers, Racine Cardinals, Rochester Jeffersons and Rock Island Independents. (So unfamiliar were the teams that even the meeting minutes mistakenly listed the Cardinals, who  played home games at Normal Park on Chicago’s Racine Avenue, as being from the Wisconsin city of the same name.) Unable to squeeze into Hay’s office on the steamy night, the football  pioneers, including Jim Thorpe and George Halas, sat on the running boards and fenders of the $3,000 cars on the showroom floor and grabbed cold beer bottles from an icy bucket as they  hammered out an agreement. When the deal was struck, the 1920 Canton Bulldogs and Dayton Triangles were formed. By the end of the deal, 14 teams had joined the league, ready to begin the  inaugural season in 1921. However, during the 20s, the NFL sputtered because of the college football leagues getting to the playground first. As a result, they struggled to gain fans, so they  didn't bother to crown a world champion. Eventually, fans became interested every year as the legacy of the game grew, but the first Super Bowl wasn't played until 1966. Until then, the NFL held  World Championships instead. The first one was played in 1932 in Chicago because of a first-place tie in the league rankings. The Chicago Bears defeated the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0 in a game  which drew 11,198 fans. This was the turning point of the NFL's legacy because the playoffs always provided great entertainment as the stakes got higher. By now, America was about to enter the  Great Depression, and football was one of the many reasons that she prevailed.


 Jim Thorpe (far left) was a star football player for the Canton Bulldogs as well as an Olympian who broke many records in his generation. Jim's motivation came from his brother, who  passed away at a young age. Ohio was a great place for sports in the Roaring 20's. The Dayton Triangles were just one of many home-grown Ohio teams to join the NFL in 1920  (middle left). The first Super Bowl was played in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs (middle right). Canton, Ohio is home to the NFL Pro Hall Of Fame (far  right) today.

Learn More Here! The National Football League's History And Events Website Sources: Wikipedia, Google, History

The National Basketball Association

 On August 3, 1949, after a damaging three-year battle to win both players and fans, the rival Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) merged together  to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). The BAA incorporated in 1946, challenging the hegemony of the nine-year old NBL. The BAA established itself in bigger cities than the NBL,  which existed only in small Midwestern cities like Fort Wayne, Sheboygan and Akron. While the NBL held its games in small gymnasiums, the upstart BAA played its games in large major-market  arenas such as the Boston Garden and New York City’s Madison Square Garden. By the 1948-49 season, the BAA had begun to attract some of the country’s best players, and four NBL  franchises–Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Rochester–moved to the BAA, bringing their star players with them. George Mikan, the biggest attraction in either league who by himself  could virtually assure a team’s success, defected to the new league with the Minneapolis Lakers. On August 3, 1949, representatives from the two leagues met at the BAA offices in New York’s  Empire State Building to finalize the merger. Maurice Podoloff, head of the BAA since its inception, was elected head of the new league. The new NBA was made up of 17 teams that represented  both small towns and large cities across the country. Through the 1950s, though, the number of teams dwindled, along with fan support, and by the 1954-55 season, only eight teams remained.  That year, the league transformed the game with the creation of the 24-second clock, making play faster-paced and more fun to watch. Fans returned, and the league, now financially solvent,  expanded throughout the 1960s and 70s (fueled by the Civil Rights Movement). Today, the NBA has 30 franchises and attracts players—and millions of fans—from countries around the world.  Out of all the professional leagues across America, the NBA has definitely taken the biggest step in popularity over the past couple of decades because it was formed 50+ years after the MLB and  20+ years after the NFL. The first NBA Finals were played in 1950 between the Minneapolis Lakers and the Syracuse Nationals, with the Lakers winning the series 4-2. As the 50's got underway in  America, a new high-flyin' dynasty was born.


 Just like in Major League Baseball, the New York Knickerbockers had their own NBA team which was involved in the first actual league game against the Toronto Huskies on November  1, 1949. They had a policy on the first ticket (far left) that if you were taller than 6"8, you would get in free ("The Husky"). Later known as the Los Angeles Lakers, the Minneapolis  franchise took the NBA by storm in the 50s. The team (middle left) won 5 of the first 6 NBA Finals in the history of the league. Whether it was before or after the NBA began, the drama  was endless. The 40's gave America hope for a bright future. As World War II was ending, the dominance of the Philadelphia Warriors during their historic season in 1946 (middle  right), provided American citizens with great entertainment to lift their spirits once again. Today, the NBA is doing better than ever in providing fans with many memories and the  time of their lives (far right).

Learn More Here! The National Basketball Association's History And Events Website Sources: Wikipedia, Google, History

The National Hockey League

 The NHL opened it's first season on December 19, 1917. 4 teams of the National Hockey League (NHL) played in the fledgling league’s first two games. At the time of its inception, the NHL was  made up of five franchises: the Canadiens and the Wanderers (both of Montreal), the Ottawa Senators, the Quebec Bulldogs and the Toronto Arenas. The Montreal teams won two victories that  first day, as the Canadiens beat Ottawa 7-4 and the Wanderers triumphed over Toronto 10-9. The first professional ice hockey league was the International Pro Hockey League, founded in 1904  in Michigan. After it folded, two bigger leagues emerged in Canada: the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast League (PCL). In 1914, the two leagues played a championship  series, and the winner was awarded the famous silver bowl donated for Canada’s amateur hockey leagues by Lord Stanley, the English governor general of Canada, in 1892. The NHA stopped  operating during World War II, and after the war the five elite teams from Canada formed the NHL in its place. Despite that early defeat, Toronto went on to win the inaugural season. In March  1918, they defeated the PCL champions, the Vancouver Millionaires, 3-2 for the first ever Stanley Cup. By 1926, the PCL had folded, and the 10 teams of the NHL divided into two divisions. The  champions of each of those two divisions–the Eastern and the Western Conference–now face each other at the end of each season in the Stanley Cup Final.


 The NHL is known today as one of the most worldwide famous sports of all-time because so many different cultures have participated for over a century. Canada was and still is the  "hockey capital" of the world. The Toronto Arenas defeated the Vancouver Millionaires 3-2 in the 1917 Inaugural Stanley Cup Final (far left). Toronto's legacy in the world of hockey  would live on and continue to grow into one of the NHL's greatest franchises, the Toronto Maple Leafs (1946 Stanley Cup Champions in middle left photo). Their long-time rivals, the  Montreal Canadiens, are the all-time leader in Stanley Cup championships, and they had players that could score goals like nobody's business. Maurice "the Rocket" Richard (middle  right) became the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in 50 games (1957). He also was the first NHL player to score 500 career goals. Hockey can also become very  dangerous. In many games (usually with teams that don't like each other) such as the classical Philadelphia Flyers/Boston Bruins rivalry, very brutal fights can break out (far right). As  a result, the intensity level raises even higher.

Learn More Here! The National Hockey League's History And Events Website Sources: Wikipedia, Google, History