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Dan Bretta
(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 18 2007, 8:33 PM 

I've always had a passing interest in the origins of the game, and I accept that it was a game that evolved out of perhaps many different childhood games so it doesn't really rile me up too much, but Spalding's rigging the origins kind of riles me up a bit. I still think an essential pull to the romance of baseball is that it's true origins still remain shrouded in mystery.

 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 18 2007, 8:43 PM 

That's a fair point. We may never know the true origin of the game, but there is no way we can condone what Spalding did.

 
 
Rhys
(Login prewarsports)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 18 2007, 8:51 PM 

I would vote for Chadwick. His popularity and standing as a pioneer even in his day can not be overlooked. I think if you could go back in time and ask Harry Wright who he thought was the father of baseball, he would probably give the nod to Chadwick.

Basically there is no right or wrong answer, its like asking who invented a specific pitch; It always can be traced back one step further. However, I think Chadwick did the most over the longest period of time spanning the earliest days of pre-professionalism to the days when the modern game was firmly in place.

Rhys Yeakley

 
 

Dan Bretta
(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 18 2007, 8:52 PM 

He (Spalding) definitely muddied the water, but I don't know, did he destroy anything document wise that may have pointed to something solid? I doubt it.

edited to add: (Spalding) in my response.


    
This message has been edited by slidekellyslide on Dec 18, 2007 8:53 PM


 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 18 2007, 9:12 PM 

One thing about Spalding and Doubleday that David Block discussed in his book (in a chapter written by David's brother Philip) is that when the Mills Commission published its results in 1905, the two were not strangers.

In the late 19th century Albert Spalding vacationed in the Point Loma section of San Diego (for point of reference, both Don Larsen and David Wells went to Point Loma High School), and his wife attended some spiritual meetings led by Madame Blavatsky, a well known 19th century psychic. Well guess who else attended those meetings- Mrs. Abner Doubleday! So it's reasonable to believe that both Albert and Abner knew each other and were acquaintences years before Doubleday was anointed the inventor of baseball.

Is it possible that the two had a clandestine meeting, and agreed to this whole charade beforehand? Who knows. But it's an amazing fact that has only been recently uncovered.

(and not that it matters, but my oldest friend lives in Point Loma and I have visited it many times- a beautiful place indeed!)

Edited to add Doubleday died in 1893, so let me rephrase my hypothesis- is it possible that when the Mills Commission was looking for the game's inventor, Spalding was well acquainted with Doubleday, and while he knew that Doubleday had nothing to do with the game, felt he would be the perfect person to fill the role? However it worked out, they already knew each other.


    
This message has been edited by barrysloate on Dec 18, 2007 9:18 PM


 
 

Dan Bretta
(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 18 2007, 9:35 PM 

Spalding was a sneaky bastard... Getting John Ward out of the country with him in 1888 on his World Tour while John Brush was instituting the player classification system.

 
 
ramram
(Login ramramram)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 18 2007, 11:33 PM 

My vote is Cartwright. He was the "voice" of the formulating group.

I also say that, if it wasn't for the civil war, baseball today may have been no more popular than lacrosse or, at the least, baseball today would be about 50 years behind where it is now.

Rob M.

 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 7:10 AM 

Maybe in the end we should just say the Founding Fathers of the game were the esteemed members of the Knickerbockers, among them Alexander Cartwright, who jointly codified the rules of baseball and laid the groundwork for our national pastime.

 
 

Dan Bretta
(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 9:47 AM 

I think you're right Barry...and thanks for starting this thread. I learned a lot.

 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 10:39 AM 

I was hoping we would have a stimulating discussion, which we did...but did you happen to notice how few people actually chimed in?

 
 
Tom Russo
(Login TRusso)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 11:04 AM 

Barry, you mention that Mrs. Spalding and Mrs. Doubleday knew each other at least through Madame Blavatsky. Has there ever been any mention as to why Doubleday's widow went along with the Mills Commission report? She had to know that it was nonsense.

 
 

leon
(Premier Login leonl)
Network 54 Moderator

well

December 19 2007, 11:44 AM 

I was going to add something to this thread but I didn't have anything worthwhile to add. With that being said I vote for Harry Wright being the Father of Baseball....as I have a card of him. It's always about "me" ....

 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 12:30 PM 

Leon- that's the best reason yet.

Tom- I don't know when Mrs. Doubleday died; it's possible it occurred before 1905. I really should read that chapter again, as there are many details I'm sure I've forgotten.

 
 

Steve Murray
(Login jacklitsch)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 12:57 PM 

It has to be Harry Wright otherwise Barry would have to change his ebay handle to alexandercartwright

 
 

Dan Bretta
(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 1:14 PM 

Heh! I've always kind of liked AJC and we share a birthday too...I wanted to name my kid AJ Cartwright Bretta, but my wife nixed it (she nixed all baseball related names ). Imagine if she'd let me and documents were uncovered that showed he had ZERO to do with the formation of the modern game's rules. Would I have gotten a do over?

You think there were baseball fans that named their kid Abner because of their love for baseball?

 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 1:18 PM 

Steve is right- my ebay handle is in honor of my favorite 19th century baseball figure.

 
 

Jerry Rucker
(Login TheBig6)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 2:30 PM 

I'm with Leon on this one because I don't have a Cartwright card.

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barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 2:59 PM 

You know, when I wrote articles on a regular basis for VCBC, I checklisted all the known photographs of Cartwright, Chadwick, and Wright, and clearly Harry Wright had far more known than the other two.

Unfortunately, that article appeared in issue #7, the one that turns out to be the hardest to find.

 
 

Ken W.
(Login triwak)

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 11:15 PM 

Dan,

I like your theory about why the Hall named the ballfield after Doubleday - to keep the Spalding people happy. But what I have never understood, is why the opening of the Hall to commemorate the centennial of the Game's invention occurred in 1939 (the Doubleday myth stems from 1839)? And furthermore, if they were still intent on sticking with this story, why wasn't Doubleday inducted? I realize they had already inducted 3 classes starting in 1936, and maybe it just took three years to complete the process - which coincidently corresponded to the centennial of the myth. Does anyone know when the Doubleday story began to fall out of favor with true baseball historians? Nice thread.

Ken

 
 

Dan Bretta
(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Who is the Real Father of Baseball?

December 19 2007, 11:31 PM 

I think the Doubleday myth has been widely known as a myth amongst baseball historians for a very long time...and true historians of the game never accepted the Mills Commission findings. There are no known documents where Doubleday even mentions baseball...he was nowhere near Cooperstown in 1839, he was at West Point and the only testimony came from someone who was only 5 years old in 1839...who actually went on to murder his wife. Not a very credible witness. A 1911 Encyclopedia article on Doubleday doesn't even mention baseball so it's evident that historians didn't buy into Spalding's ruse.

 
 
 
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