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 Who Invented Baseball? 
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Post Who Invented Baseball?
Who Invented Baseball?
by: Gordie Guide

It continues to baffle me why certain people bother to try changing history, especially in modern times. Since the 20th century, there are better ways to verify facts than ever before. Yet, so much effort has to go into not only validating what was always the plain truth to begin with, but to counter falsehoods that get embedded into the folklore.

Nothing New Under The Sun

Stick and ball games go way back to the time of the pyramids. In the 1800's the British and Americans were playing games similar to baseball known variably as "stool ball", "base", "American Town Ball", and "Cricket". A variation of these games known as "English Rounders" eventually evolved into baseball.

The Great American Evolution

Around the mid 1800's two young New York gentlemen known as Dr. Daniel Adams and Alexander Cartwright formed and organized baseball teams. They would meet with other young professional men at the Madison Square after work. Cartwright was thereafter credited for establishing the rules and organizing the first baseball game.

Originally, Baseball and Town Ball allowed what was called, "soaking a runner" or "plunking" whereas the defender could throw and hit the runner with the ball to get him out. Imagine playing in those days. Ouch! To his credit, Cartwright abolished this type of play as ungentlemanly.

Finally, in 1845, the Knickerbockers Base Ball Club was formed from the Madison Square players. They advertised for opponents and the first baseball game was played on June 19, 1846 in Hoboken, NJ between the Knickerbockers Base Ball Club and the New York Nine. After agreeing to the same rules, Cartwright umpired the game and enforced a 6 cent fine for swearing—payable on the spot. That must of settled down the hotheads of the game, don't you think?

The winners of that game were the New York Nine, scoring 23 to 1. They followed a rule of Rounders which ended the game after 21 runs were scored, rather than setting a fixed number of innings.

History Changing Myths

After knowing all this, you would think Cartwright would be credited for having invented baseball. However, in 1936 a myth evolved that Abner Doubleday, a West Point cadet, invented the game in 1839.

This myth was started by Albert Spalding, a former player and manufacturer of sports equipment, who formed a commission to determine the true origin of the game. It turns out these founders of the Baseball Hall of Fame wanted to create a geographic link between the new museum and the origins of the game.

Talk about truth in advertising! If you say it enough times, it starts to get believed.

Thankfully, it was finally determined after a thorough investigation of Doubleday's life, having left thousands of personal letters behind, (none of which ever mentioned baseball), that he did not invent the game.

That myth being finally put to rest, we can say with a high degree of certainty that Alexander Cartwright invented the game, as we know it today. He was officially recognized in 1953 by Congress as the inventor.

Modern Baseball's history is a great example of an institutional myth-making failure gone sour. It's a credit to the game of Baseball and to the spirit of Cartwright himself.

About The Author
Got a burning question about who invented baseball? Grandpa Gordie and Grandma Gertie put a sensible spin on expert advice, with a little humor thrown into the mix. We cover topics ranging from pets to parenting, careers to hobbies, relationships to lifestyle, finances to food, and everything in between. Visit us at for some simple and straight from the hip advice from people who've been around the block a few times.
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Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:42 am
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