Baseball Debunked

History Sport

There’s a lot of controversy in baseball - and not just over the best team. Its origins are widely disputed, with some believing in a great myth from America’s 1839. Many, however, say this story is, in fact, just that a story. So what is this myth? And what’s the truth? Well let’s find out, and debunk the game of baseball.

Ankylosaurus playing baseball t-shirt

We know the truth: that the Ankylosaurus created baseball (we have the t-shirt to prove it)

The most popular baseball story involves that of Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York. Doubleday lived in a quiet, rural town and graduated from the famous West Point. He served in the Civil War, and the U.S. wars against Indians. Oh - did we forget - he supposedly also created baseball in the summer of ‘39.  

This story was backed by the Major League Baseball and the Spalding Publishing empire, which made it so convincing. It was also the conclusion of research conducted by the Mills Commission in 1905, but the members of which were baseball figures, not historians. Many facts also discredited their research, such as the mental instability of their main witness, the lack of credentials of the committee, the personal interest of the U.S. government in showing baseball as homegrown, and, finally, the findings of baseball rules and descriptions of oddly similar games found in earlier publications. Not that we are cynical at all...

So what is really the history of baseball?

This Red Panda is ready to tell the (not so scary) story

This Red Panda is ready to tell the (not so scary) story

Well, it’s a little more complicated than a one-man show. In fact, it’s from a whole other continent. Early versions of the ballgame appeared in early Britain, under guises such as ‘goal ball’, ‘round ball’ and even ‘base’. These games featured elements of pitching a ball, runners going base-to-base, and players being put out the game by getting hit by the ball. Sounding familiar? Two of baseball’s ancestors may sound very familiar: rounders and cricket.

English Koala Cricketer

This English Koala Cricketer thinks the elements sound familiar

The first mention of the name ‘baseball’ was found in 1700, where a British bishop was expressing his distaste over ‘morris-dancing, cudgel-playing, baseball and cricket’ (all the best stuff) occuring on Sundays. In America, the first mention is hard to find before 1845. At this point, a group of New York gentlemen founded the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club. One of these men, Alexander Joy Cartwright, created a new set of rules that is the foundation of modern baseball.

Although, again there is controversy, over whether these men were American born and bred, or British expatriates, and that is how the game reached the U.S.

Sumo Ducks

These Sumo Ducks will fight to determine the truth

But maybe we will never know the truth? So how about we just enjoy the modern game.


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