Sunday, November 30, 2003

Doubleday boosters remembers war exploits, not baseball 

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. -- Bars, highways and, yes, baseball fields here and in Cooperstown get named for Abner Doubleday, and it's because of something he didn't do.

The village native almost certainly didn't invent baseball. But he certainly fired a cannon ball or two as a career Army artillery officer who rose to a division commander for the Union during the Civil War...

Unfortunately, the Abner Doubleday Society is disbanding. I've been reading Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan and the author, Peter Morris, has an interesting take on the Doubleday Myth. He contends that it was another Abner Doubleday, younger than than the general, who introduced baseball to the Cooperstown area. This may have led a young and impressionable Abner Graves to believe that this other Doubleday invented the game.

Abner must have been a popular name in those days. The only Abners of recent times that I can think of are Abner Louima and Abner Kravitz.

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