Americans began playing baseball in backyards and fields throughout America in the mid-1800s but started regarding the sport as the nation's favorite pastime in the 1920s, thanks to construction of large ballparks, radio and newspaper sports coverage, and a sense of pride in regional teams. The sport soon became popular in cities and rural areas alike. It also began attracting Americans of all demographics.
In 1941, Joe DiMaggio captured the nation's attention with the longest hitting streak in history at 56 games. During World War II, baseball promoters recruited women to play in place of men on professional teams. Once the war ended, and men returned to the field, Jackie Robinson became the highest-profile African-American pro ball player during his time with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Modern sports commentators attribute baseball's popularity to its live audiences. According to the "Atlantic," while most NFL fans never watch a game in person, baseball fans make regular trips to the ballpark to watch their regional team play.
Another reason baseball appeals to so many Americans is that it is easily played by people of all ages and both genders. Children start with T-ball and peewee baseball. There are senior citizen baseball leagues throughout the country as well.