THE EARLY YEARS OF THE AMERICAN LIFE OF BASEBALL
One of the most defining aspects of American culture is the game of baseball. It exists as a uniquely American endeavor, and is not only an important part of American history, but also an important part of American culture and society. In many ways, baseball reflects America. Through its historical influence, and representation of culture, baseball continues to make an imprint on American society. Baseball represents America in many different ways, but greatest among them is the issue of racial segregation, as seen by the Negro Leagues. The history of baseball is also the history of America, and in cetain ways, they are one and the same.
Who invented the game of baseball? If one were to ask this question to the common person, the answer would most likely be Abner Doubleday. However, the notion that Abner Doubleday invented baseball is more of a cultural narrative than historical fact. Every schoolchild knows the myth, that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839. In reality though, baseball’s conception was a little more complicated.
The first formal baseball organization was begun by a group of New Yorkers, led by Alexander Cartwright, who began the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in 1845. It was a social club of athletically inclined men who had been gathering in Madison Square to play what was originally an enhanced version of English Rounders. Over time though, it took on the name baseball, and evolved into what was considered a sport of American origin. One man emerged from this organization, and would in time come not only to represent the Knickerbockers, but the New York clubs in general. That man was A.G. Spalding, and he is universally acknowledged to have done more to build baseball into the nations favorite sport than any other individual. The rules that the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club had were set and defined, and could easily be compared to those used in...