The story of Abner Doubleday, inventing baseball around 1839 on Farmer Phinney’s lot in Cooperstown, served as the official story of baseball since the Mills Commission thrust it upon the public in 1907. The only problem with that is, it is completely false. General Doubleday attended West Point in 1839 and there is no proof that he ever visited Cooperstown. Not only did Doubleday himself not claim to have invented baseball, but throughout his life he never showed more than an ordinary interest in the game.
Baseball as we know it began on the Elysian Fields in Hoboken New Jersey in 1846 – where two teams, the New York Knickerbockers and the New York Nine played the first formal match.
Alexander Joy Cartwright, who gave baseball it’s 20 original rules, is a nearly forgotten figure in baseball history. Early photos of him often show him formally dressed as if he is about to umpire a game (as he was often called upon to do, and actually did in the first game) or attend a Knickerbocker banquet. Cartwright was working for a bank when he joined the club in the mid 1840′s. The club may have been related to the local fire company of the same name, as the volunteer fire company was an important civic cause and one of Cartwright’s passions.
In 1849, three years after the first baseball game, Cartwright travelled to San Francisco by wagon train, taking with him an old Knickerbocker baseball. According to his fragmentary diary, Cartwright amused himself by teaching his game to people he met along the way. Legend has it there were western Indians playing New York style baseball before it was ever heard of in Chicago or even Boston. And there is no doubt that it was played earlier in Hawaii as Cartwright, not happy with California, with his family in tow, loaded up a ship with various goods and set out to sell them in the Hawaiin Islands.
(all contents above is from 150 Years of Baseball – 150th Anniversary 1989 Publications International Ltd.)