Unfortunately there was no real eureka moment for how baseball sprang up. It was more of an evolutionary process that led to baseball in the early years. There are some early pioneers who played a big part in baseballs development that can be read about below. We also provide you some resources you can read if you dare! Note: none of the references were solicited in any way and are included only due to established credibility.
The association of Abner Doubleday with the invention of baseball is a popular myth, but it lacks historical evidence. In reality, baseball's origins are more complex and can be traced back to a gradual evolution rather than a single "eureka" moment.
Abner Doubleday was a career United States Army officer and Union general during the American Civil War. The Doubleday legend suggests that he devised the rules for baseball in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. However, there is no credible historical evidence to support this claim. The Doubleday story has been widely discredited by baseball historians.
The true history of baseball is rooted in various bat-and-ball games that were played in North America and Europe. It evolved over time, drawing influences from games like rounders and cricket. The first recorded baseball game in the United States took place in 1846, and the game continued to develop through the 19th century.
While Doubleday did have connections to Cooperstown, and there is a Baseball Hall of Fame located there, the myth of him inventing baseball has been debunked. The Hall of Fame itself acknowledges that the real origins of baseball are unclear and that it wasn't invented by a single person.
If you're interested in exploring the true history of baseball, there are many reputable books and articles that delve into the evolution of the sport and its cultural significance.
read more here
The Alexander Cartwright myth is another aspect of baseball's origin that has been debunked. Alexander Cartwright was a key figure in the early development of baseball, but the myth suggests that he single-handedly formalized the modern rules of the game and organized the first official baseball game in 1845 in Hoboken, New Jersey.
In reality, baseball's evolution involved the contributions of multiple individuals and the adaptation of rules over time. While Cartwright was a prominent figure in the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club and was involved in codifying rules, he did not create the game from scratch. The Knickerbocker rules of 1845 were influential, but they built upon existing practices rather than being a revolutionary creation.
The myth surrounding Cartwright has persisted, in part, because of the efforts of his grandson, Bruce Cartwright, who sought to establish his grandfather's legacy. However, historical evidence supports the idea that baseball's development was a collective effort involving various players, clubs, and communities.
In summary, while Alexander Cartwright played a role in the early organization of baseball, the myth attributing the sole invention of the game to him is not accurate. Baseball's history is more accurately described as an evolutionary process shaped by the contributions of many individuals and communities.
The true origin of baseball is not attributed to a single person or a specific "eureka" moment; rather, it evolved over time from various bat-and-ball games played in North America and Europe. Baseball's roots can be traced back to informal games that were played in different forms for centuries.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, variations of bat-and-ball games were popular in different regions. Games like rounders, cricket, and town ball were played on schoolyards, open fields, and in urban areas. As communities developed and people interacted, these games underwent changes and standardizations.
The first recorded baseball game took place in 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey. The contest featured the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, and this event is often considered a milestone in baseball history.
As baseball continued to gain popularity, various clubs and communities contributed to shaping the rules and practices. The Civil War also played a role in spreading the game, as soldiers from different regions shared their versions of baseball during the conflict.
In essence, the invention and development of baseball were collaborative efforts involving many individuals and communities over time. It wasn't the result of a single person's innovation but rather a product of cultural exchange, adaptation, and a shared love for the game.
Some key participants in the codification of baseball are Doc Adams and William Wheatley.
they can be read about by clicking here!
Nucciarone, Monica. Alexander Cartwright: The Life Behind the Baseball Legend (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009)
Block, David. Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005)
Seymour, Harold and Dorothy Mills. Baseball: The Early Years (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960).
More references available on request
“He’s the true father of baseball and you’ve never heard of him!”
-John Thorn, Major League Baseball’s official historian
He’s baseballs most important figure not in the Hall of Fame…With the recent discovery of his “Laws of Base Ball” we have tangible primary evidence of his genius. More than anyone else, he created our game of nine innings, nine men, and ninety-foot base paths .
-John Thorn on Doc Adams