Who Really Created And Made Baseball “America’s Game”
- Updated: October 10, 2009
If someone asked you who was the founder of the game of baseball? Well, if you are not a baseball historian or purist, you may just say Abner Doubleday. After all, the field at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Doubleday Field, is named after him. But the new book, “Live All You Can: Alexander Joy Cartwright and the Invention of Modern Baseball” tells a different story.
On a field in Hoboken in 1845, Alexander J. Cartwright helped give birth to baseball or “base-ball” as it was originally known. Three strikes, the position of shortstop, the concept of an inning, and even bases themselves were all Cartwright’s innovations.
In Live All You Can: Alexander Joy Cartwright and the Invention of Modern Baseball, Jay Martin lays waste to the notion that Abner Doubleday established the modern game of baseball. Martin makes a bold case for A. J. Cartwright (1820-1892), an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and avid ballplayer whose keen perception and restless spirit codified the rules of the sport and engineered its rapid spread throughout the country.
In addition to popularizing baseball and making it “America’s game,” Cartwright was also instrumental in developing an American presence in Hawaii, becoming a sugar plantation owner and eventually an adviser to the Queen of Hawaii. His life was a reflection of nineteenth-century American ingenuity and expansion and Martin’s biography offers a fascinating window into the invention of baseball as well as Cartwright himself and the times in which he lived.
For a glimpse into this controversial book, Columbia University Press has also posted an excerpt of the book that documents that first official game that took place at Elysian Fields in 1845.
Be on the lookout in the future for a possible book review or interview with the author, Jay Martin.