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Abner Doubleday Invented Baseball
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Abner Doubleday invented baseball.

Don’t Believe That!

According to legend, Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839. Nearly every baseball historian now agrees that this is false. Most legends have a bit of truth to them, but in this case it’s very likely that Doubleday had nothing to do with baseball’s origins!

Baseball appears to have evolved gradually from English games such as cricket and rounders, which themselves probably evolved from much older ball-and-bat games dating back as far as 2,500 B.C.

The Doubleday myth began in the early 1900s. U.S. sporting goods magnate Albert Spalding formed a commission to determine the origins of the game. With an obvious bias towards claiming the sport as an American invention, the commission credited Abner Doubleday with its origin, based on the dubious recollections of another Abner, Abner Graves, who was five years old in 1839. Soon after the report was issued, Graves murdered his wife and spent the rest of his life in an insane asylum.

Doubleday kept extensive diaries for years but the diaries contain no claim that he invented baseball or in fact any mention of the game whatsoever!

A statue of Doubleday – who eventually became a civil war general – stands at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, but no such tribute can be found at the National Baseball Hall of Fame (located, alas, in Cooperstown, New York). In “The Doubleday Myth is Cooperstown’s Gain,” a book published by the Hall of Fame, an official wrote that Doubleday wasn’t even in Cooperstown in 1839 – he was enrolled at West Point military academy at the time.

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