ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Origins & Secret History of Baseball

Updated on March 26, 2012

What is Baseball

Baseball is the archetypical sport of America. When you see a game of Baseball in progress, the first thing you think of is the USA. The great Baseball heroes are all American guys. They play the game that was invented for Americans, by Americans - Don't they?

Erm... No actually.

Where did it come from?

Americans tend to think that Baseball is an American invention - Wrong!

The Brits tend to think that Baseball is a corruption of a British game called Rounders - Wrong again!

Baseball is not a corruption of Rounders, played here  at Nowton Cricket Club in the UK
Baseball is not a corruption of Rounders, played here at Nowton Cricket Club in the UK | Source

Baseball was actually invented in England. It was originally called base ball, and the first description of the game surfaced in the year 1744 in a publication called The Pretty Pocket Book. It was a very popular publication in England and was also republished in America in 1762.

Catherine Moreland, the heroine of the novel Northanger Abbey, which was written in 1796, was described as preferring "cricket, baseball, riding on horseback and running about the country to books"

The game of Rounders (which most Brits erroneously think Baseball is based on), did not receive an airing in print until it appeared in the second edition of The Boy's Own Book in 1828 - some 84 years later.

The first printed instance of Rounders in America was in Robin Carver's The Book of Sports in 1834, and although he cited The Boy's Own Book as his source, he said that the game was called either "goal ball" or "base ball"

General Abner Doubleday
General Abner Doubleday

Birth of a Baseball Legend.

Meanwhile, back in America in 1907, Baseball was now regarded as such an American Icon, such an indispensable part of the very fabric of the USA, that it simply had to be made to have an official American birth, and so, a plot was hatched.

The Baseball authorities Major League's Executive Board first commissioned a report into the games origins. They then promoted the false history that Baseball had been invented by General Abner Doubleday, a Civil War hero, in Cooperstown, New York in the year 1839.

Doubleday however, had never visited Cooperstown. Neither had he ever mentioned Baseball in any of his diaries, and despite the fact that there was plenty of evidence that similar bat-and-ball games had been played all over early Puritan America, the report struck a chord with the American public and the story was accepted as the truth.

As they say, "Abner Doubleday didn't invent Baseball - Baseball invented Abner Doubleday"

Alexander Cartwright
Alexander Cartwright

The Real Inventor of Modern Baseball?.

If anyone could be said to have been the inventor of Modern Baseball as it is known today throughout the USA, It must surely be Alexander Cartwright.

Mr. Cartwright was a Manhattan bookseller and part-time volunteer fireman who, in 1842 founded the Knickerbocker Baseball Club, which was named after the Fire Engine Company of the same name.

Knickerbocker Baseball Team 1847
Knickerbocker Baseball Team 1847
The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told: Thirty Unforgettable Tales from the Diamond
The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told: Thirty Unforgettable Tales from the Diamond

"Every once in a while, a book publisher comes up with a great concept for a series of books that deserve more than superficial recognition. Such a series is "The Greatest (fill in the blank) Stories Ever Told", anthologies that should win places on many bedside tables. On the long winter nights that lie ahead, such stories make great reading." --The Lexington County Chronicle


The KnickerbockerBaseball Club comprised of Alexander Cartwright and a number of his Firefighter colleagues, and they played on a field situated near 47th and 27th Streets.

Alexander Cartwright was the first person to draw a diagram of the now familiar diamond-shaped field.

The rules of the modern game as we know it are based to a large extent on the by-laws of the Knickerbocker Baseball Club.

Alexander Cartwright was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938.


Submit a Comment
  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ carcro - It came as a surprise to me as well!

  • carcro profile image

    Paul Cronin 

    7 years ago from Winnipeg

    That's real interesting, I always was led to believe baseball was invented in the states, oh well - we only know what we think we know, right? Thanks for the info!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)