Guys Who Didn’t Invent Baseball Part III: Alexander Cartwright


Richard Hershberger

Richard Hershberger is a paralegal working in Maryland. When he isn't doing whatever it is that paralegals do, or taking his daughters to Girl Scouts, he is dedicated to the collection and analysis of useless and unremunerative information.

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6 Responses

  1. Well do I remember the afternoon when Alex Cartwright came up to the ball field with a new scheme for playing ball. The sun shone beautifully, never do I remember noting its beams fall with a more sweet and mellow radiance than on that particular Spring day.

    All together now:

    I had tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time.


  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    At one point Rankin even claimed that the Dutch had invented baseball, explaining its connection to New York City. This isn’t as good as an American origin, but at least it cuts out the English!

    I thought that by this point, we were friends with the British again. Now, that doesn’t mean we’d have let them take credit for invention our sport, but come on, the Dutch?Report

  3. Avatar Guy says:

    The Cartwright story is, to be frank, even more ludicrous than the Doubleday version. Less the names, of course. I mean, a bunch of kids coming up with the game and teaching it to other kids is perfectly reasonable; one of them was even the first one to think of it, presumably. But a bunch of players practicing techniques for a game they didn’t know, until one day a strange man showed up out of the blue and handed it to them? That’s nonsense!Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Especially since the instruction probably began with, “It’s like rounders, except…”Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      In fairness, I omitted for space that nobody–not even the most enthusiastic Doubleday/Cartwright proponents–ever quite brought themselves around to claiming that boys hadn’t been playing some sort of bat-and-ball games all along. It’s just that these early games were thought to be primitive. Whatever they were, they were not-baseball. Or so the thinking went. There are still some holdouts. I am planning another series, on what actually happened. I’ll cover more about this there.Report