There is a wonderful story about how Abner Doubleday, a military hero from Cooperstown, New York, founded baseball. As it turns out, it’s a myth.
The actual origins of baseball are a little more complicated than most people think.
Abner Doubleday – Who Was He?
When he graduated from West Point in 1839, Doubleday was still attending the military academy in upstate New York, and he never claimed any involvement with baseball.
A Union commander in the American Civil War, he went on to careers as a lawyer and author after the war. A.J. Spalding, a sports goods mogul and former major league player, set up a special committee in 1907 to discover the roots of baseball, specifically if it originated in the United States or was developed from games played in the United Kingdom.
To come up with the genesis tale, the panel relied on thin evidence, including the allegations of one guy, mining engineer Abner Graves, claiming that he attended school with Doubleday.
The National Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame was founded in Cooperstown, New York, in the 1930s by local businesses and major league executives who capitalized on the myth’s staying power.
Did Abner Doubleday Invent Baseball?
You’ve probably heard that baseball was conceived by a guy named Abner Doubleday. This, on the other hand, is completely false. Baseball was invented fifteen years after Abner Doubleday had passed away.
If he had been aware of his purported accomplishments, he would have been shocked to learn they were untrue.
A three-year examination into the topic led to the creation of the myth that Abner Doubleday developed baseball. Chadwick released a paper in 1903 that suggested that baseball may have been derived from rounders in England.
Rounders, a classic children’s game in the United Kingdom, is like baseball since it requires a ball, bat, and several bases. Albert Spalding, a baseball executive, disputed Chadwick’s account.
Spalding maintained that baseball was an American sport established on American soil throughout his life. The two men decided to form a commission to settle the matter.
Abraham Mills, the NLPC’s fourth president, headed the panel. There were a total of six other sports executives participating. According to the mythology of baseball, Abner Graves invented it for Doubleday in Colorado.
Spalding’s secretary received a letter from Graves in which he claimed to have observed Doubleday inventing the game. He claimed to have been a witness to the plot’s origins during a schoolyard game.
Doubleday developed a new ballgame in Graves’s telling by drawing a diagram in the dust with a stick and naming it “baseball.”
His story was embellished even more when he wrote to his local newspaper, telling them how he and Doubleday had had a “rollicking game.”
The story of Abner Graves inventing the Doubleday legend remains a mystery, but it was the deciding evidence for the Mills Commission’s investigation.
After the commission’s findings were made public, people widely believed that Doubleday was the one responsible for the game’s invention in 1839.
Why do People believe Abner Doubleday Invented Baseball?
Graves’ belief that Abner Doubleday developed baseball is a mystery. Since Graves was only five years old in 1839, it’s improbable that he saw or heard anything that he recounted in his narrative.
Doubleday and Graves were formerly Cooperstown classmates, but Doubleday was serving in the military at West Point when Graves claimed Doubleday developed baseball.
As a Civil War hero who served as a Union commander, Doubleday was a natural choice for the honor of launching baseball in the United States rather than the British.
But Mills’ study on baseball’s roots arrived 15 years after Doubleday’s death and had little to no proven proof
Graves’ report was not fact-checked, an omission that would undoubtedly enrage today’s media and record-keepers. Graves wound up in an insane institute and died in 1926, leaving the case unanswered.
What Is the Truth About the Origins of Baseball?
Baseball’s origins may be traced back to 18th-century New York when several men got together and devised their own set of rules.
Some men on the rules of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in New York are credited with the first serious attempt, laying down a 20-rule framework known as the Knickerbocker Rules, which established foul lines, base-to-base distances, and the maximum number of outs each game.
The first official baseball game played in June 1846 was between the Knickerbockers and cricket’s New York Nines, which utilized these rules.
Doctor Daniel Adams was a founding member of the Knickerbocker Club and quickly rose to the club president.
For years, he worked tirelessly to promote and grow the young sport. Baseball players met for the first time in 1857 to discuss the Laws of Base Ball, a more formal version of Knickerbocker Rules.
For all, as he has been dubbed the “Father of Baseball,” Adams was not the game’s inventor. Thanks to a great part of New York’s Knickerbocker Base Ball Club members, baseball was born
What Factors Contributed to the Popularity of Baseball?
Baseball immediately drew the attention of bettors, who viewed it as a new way to make money. The 1919 World Game controversy, in which eight Chicago players conspired to toss the series in return for money, had a lasting impact on the sport, which struggled to recover.
Babe Ruth’s New York Yankees made baseball a popular spectator sport in the 1920s. Some people refer to the 1920s as the “Golden Age of Sports” because individuals had the leisure and money to attend sporting events.
Stadiums got bigger, and people started tuning in to the radio and reading the papers to keep up with the action. Eventually, other stars like Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, and Willie Mays stepped up and made baseball a national sport.
The World Baseball Classic and other high-profile broadcasts have helped the game gain popularity.
Although Doubleday had gone on to become a Civil War hero, it is safe to state that he did not develop baseball. As far as we know, the game’s origins may be traced back to cricket and rounders.
Despite this fact, the game as we know it today can be attributed to a collective American effort, not to a single person.