The untold story of baseball’s nineteenth-century origins: “a delightful look at a young nation creating a pastime that was love from the first crack of the bat” (Paul Dickson, The Wall Street Journal).
You may have heard that Abner Doubleday or Alexander Cartwright invented baseball. Neither did. You may have been told that a club called the Knickerbockers played the first baseball game in 1846. They didn’t. Perhaps you’ve read that baseball’s color line was first crossed by Jackie Robinson in 1947. Nope.
Baseball’s true founders don’t have plaques in Cooperstown. They were hundreds of uncredited, ordinary people who played without gloves, facemasks, or performance incentives. Unlike today’s pro athletes, they lived full lives outside of sports. They worked, built businesses, and fought against the South in the Civil War.
In this myth-busting history, Thomas W. Gilbert reveals the true beginnings of baseball. Through newspaper accounts, diaries, and other accounts, he explains how it evolved through the mid-nineteenth century into a modern sport of championships, media coverage, and famous stars—all before the first professional league was formed in 1871.
Winner of the Casey Award: Best Baseball Book of the Year