One “sports history” tidbit that I quite like is the fact that cricket and ten-pin bowling ultimately derive from the same sport. It makes sense if you think of the wicket in cricket as analogous to the pins in bowling. At some point during the Tudor era, people had the thought, “Hey, wouldn’t bowling be even more fun if there was some guy standing in front of the pins trying to defend them?” The whole sport of cricket evolved out of that. Supposedly this is also why underarm bowling wasn’t banned until Trevor Chappell (under instructions from his captain) infamously deprived NZ of the chance to tie a 1981 match by bowling underarm on the last ball(external link). I don’t think you could argue that that bad sportsmanship was justified by the (very!) historical origins of the sport. Still, I think it’s cool how two games that seem so utterly dissimilar today are in fact related.