Civil War History
Baseball’s So-Called Inventor Abner Doubleday Was a War Hero
By Ken Zurski
ABNER DOUBLEDAY, the name synonymous with the invention of baseball, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
A decorated general in the Civil War, Doubleday was everywhere in the Union theater. He aimed the first guns at Fort Sumter to start the war, replaced another general, Joshua Reynolds, after he was struck down on the first day of Gettysburg, and led the troops to repulse Pickett’s Charge. Doubleday survived the war with honors and continued a life in the military until his retirement in 1873.
That was his service to his country, an undisputed and honorable affirmation.
He died in 1893.
His connection to baseball, however, is more dubious.
It begins in 1905 with a letter published in “Spalding Baseball Guides” claiming Doubleday was in Cooperstown, New York (the so-called birthplace of baseball) and had indeed “…invented the game.” It was signed by a man named Abner Graves who says he witnessed it. The letter caught the eye of A.G.Mills, the president of the National League of Base Ball Clubs at the time, and head of a commission to determine how baseball started.
Mills and Doubleday were friends and both members of the soldier’s veterans committee. Based only on the letter it seems, Mills began the push to link his friend with the game’s conception.
Of course, this was all done after Doubleday was gone.
In fact, until his death at the age of 73, Doubleday never mentioned a connection to baseball and was only interested in his legacy as a war general.
His inclusion at the nation’s most hallowed grounds is a testament to that.
This entry was posted in History, unrememebred history and tagged A.G. Mills, Abner Doubleday, Arlington Cemetary, Baseball orgins, Civil War History, Cooperstown New York, General Abner Douibleday, Gettysburg history, History, History of Baseball, Pickett's Charge, Spalding Baseball Guides, Unremembered, Unrememebered History.