A Marriage Between Baseball And America

2198 words - 9 pages

The origin of baseball is a complicated story. Baseball began in small towns around America before 1791 according to evidence in a Pittsfield, Massachusetts library found the first mention of baseball in a bylaw stating that no baseball would be played within 80 yards of the new town hall. Many believe that baseball was created in 1829 by Abner Doubleday, a former Union General during the Civil War. It is said he created baseball at Elihu Phinney’s cow pasture in Cooperstown, New York in 1839. The story goes that a minor from Colorado named Abner Graves who says that he saw Doubleday draw a diagram of a baseball field. This story was a lie. In 1903 Henry Chadwick, an English writer wrote an article noting common factors between rounders (an English folk game) and baseball. In 1905 Albert Spalding, the president of the Chicago Cubs and Abraham G. Mills, president of the National League created a commission called the Mills Commission which was made up of Spalding’s supports of the Doubleday story and those against the story like Chadwick were excluded from the commission. The Mills commission was to find that baseball was an American invention and did not come from an English folk game called rounders but an American folk game called Old Cat. Mills gave credit to the Doubleday story and gave baseball the American origin on December 30th, 1907. This was 15 years after Doubleday’s death. The problems with the Doubleday story are that Abner Doubleday was a sophomore at West Point in 1839 and didn’t have a summer vacation. That Abner Graves was five years old in 1839; he expressed anti-English sentiments in a letter to the Mills Commission and spent time in an insane asylum late in his life after shooting his wife. The early days of baseball were very complicated. After the game appeared in America, baseball had many names early on like; baseball, round ball, fletch-catch, town ball, old cat, rounders, and even just base. Each town and city had different rules than the next town or city. It wouldn’t be until 1845 that someone created a standard rule code.
In 1845 a man named Alexander Cartwright got the ball rolling down the line by creating the first standardized rule code in baseball. This ball is still rolling down the line today. Cartwright is one of the fathers of baseball along with Henry Chadwick, who invented the modern box score, as well as modern statistics like the K for strikeout, batting average and earned run average (ERA). Cartwright created the first rule book with it he invented the modern baseball field. He created the team the New York Knickerbockers, whom got the name from the Knickerbocker Engine Company No. 12 where he was a member and later fire chief. On June 19th, 1846 the New York Knickerbockers versus the New York Nine at Elysian Field at Hoboken, New Jersey is a park that Cartwright rented for 75 dollars a year to play ball. The Knickerbockers lost 23-1 to the Nine in four innings and Cartwright being umpire at home...

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