Laying waste to the notion that Abner Doubleday established the modern game of baseball, acclaimed biographer Jay Martin makes a bold case for A. J. Cartwright (1820-1892), an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and avid ballplayer whose keen perception and restless spirit codified the rules of the sport and engineered its rapid spread throughout the country. Consulting Cartwright's personal correspondence and papers, Martin shows how this American archetype synthesized a number of elements from popular ballgames into the program, bylaws, and positions we find on the field today. After formalizing his blueprint, Cartwright worked tirelessly to promote baseball nationwide, appealing to both upper- and lower-class spectators and ballplayers and weaving a trail of influence across nineteenth-century America. Addressing the controversy that has roiled for years around the claims for Doubleday and Cartwright, Martin revisits the original arguments behind each camp and throws into sharp relief the competing ambitions of these figures during a time of aggressive westward expansion and unparalleled opportunities for individual reinvention.
Martin's story of modern baseball not only offers a fascinating window into a thoroughly American phenomenon but also accesses a rare history of American ideals.
Jay Martin is the Edward S. Gould Professor of Humanities, professor of government, and founder of the Questions of Civilization Program at Claremont McKenna College. He has written and edited twenty-one books, including biographies of Nathanael West, Henry Miller, John Dewey, and Conrad Aiken, along with a standard history of American literature from 1865 to 1914. His most recent book is the short story collection Baseball Magic.
The Birth of the Father The Dream Cartwright, Dreaming Again Across the Plains Visions and Revisions Paradise Bound Paradise Found The Last Gasp of the Great Sailing Ships Missionary Baseball Starting All Over Again: It's Gonna Be Rough-but We're Gonna Make It The New Fire Chief Freemasonry Comes to Hawaii A Gift from the Sea-and a Loss Back to Baseball DeWitt and His Brothers Cartwright & Co., Ltd. Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr., American The Social Whirl Advisor to the Queen Deaths and New Life King Sugar Baseball on the Plantations Spalding's World Tour-First Stop, Hawaii The Final Dissolving Cartwright's Second Life: Myth Into History Appendix 1: Chronology of the Life of Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr. Appendix 2: Did Cartwright "Really Invent" Baseball? Or, How Did the Game Evolve Before He Arrived? A Short Survey of Two Vexed Questions Notes and References Acknowledgments Index