New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Mythology

Abner Doubleday


Abner Doubleday (Mythology.  Born, Cooperstown, NY, June 26, 1819; died, Mendham, NJ, Jan. 26, 1893.)  A genuine Civil War hero, Abner Doubleday is falsely credited with the “invention” of modern baseball in 1839 at Cooperstown, N.Y.  Though his accomplishments were many and laudable, this achievement was not among them.  It is a myth wholly without factual foundation.  Doubleday was, in fact, a student at West Point during the summer of 1839, confined by regulation to the military reservation.  The story of Doubleday’s creation of baseball is based on the testimony of Abner Graves, a probably delusionary and certainly publicity-seeking childhood acquaintance of Doubleday’s.  Graves told his story to the Mills Commission, which was formed in 1910 to prove baseball was an American game, not derived from the English game of rounders (which is probably is).  Doubleday did, however, command Fort Sumter, S.C., upon which the Confederacy fired the first shots of the Civil War (1861-65).

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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