Baseball is an American sport, the game having been invented in the early 19th century. Popular lore attributes its discovery to Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York, but research indicates that it is highly unlikely he actually discovered the game. Its exact origins are unclear, although it is probably based somewhat on the British games of cricket and rounders.
American baseball has been contested at the Olympics as a demonstration sport in 1912, 1936, 1956, 1964, 1984, and 1988. In 1952, pesäpallo (“Finnish baseball”) was demonstrated at the Helsinki Olympics. American baseball became a full medal sport at Barcelona in 1992. The Americans do not dominate the sport in international play, as the Cubans and several Central American countries produce excellent teams, although the United States upset the Cubans and won the gold medal at Sydney in 2000. Internationally, baseball is governed by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) which was founded in 1938 and had 112 members as of 2013. The organization was known as Federación Internacional de Béisbol Amateur (FIBA) from 1944 to 1976 and as International Baseball Association (AINBA [Asociación Internacional de Béisbol Amateur], shortend IBA from 1984 onwards) from 1976 to 2000. In 1973 also a differnet body was formed called Federación Mundial de Béisbol Amateur (FEMBA), but FIBA and FEMBA merged in 1976 to become AINBA. At the 2005 International Olympic Committee (IOC) session baseball, along with softball, was eliminated from the Olympic Program, a decision which was confirmed in 2006. The reasons for its exclusion are several-fold. One is that Major League Baseball in the United States has been unable to set up a system similar to ice hockey and the National Hockey League (NHL), which allows all the best players to play, and the IOC wants this. Secondly, the sport is not terribly popular in Europe, which dominates the Olympic Movement. Third, the sport is seen as one played mainly in the United States and the United States now has very little influence within the Olympic Movement. There are also concerns about doping use in Major League Baseball, and limited re-use of Olympic baseball stadiums in most European nations.
When the IOC later also classified baseball and softball as one sport with differnet disciplines, the International Baseball Federation merged with the International Softball Federation to become the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) on 14 April 2013 in Tokyo. The sport has lobbied to be added back to the program but faces a difficult battle, nevertheless baseball/softball was voted back to the Olympic program for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the IOC session in Rio de Janeiro on 3 August 2016.