Abner Doubleday

Doubleday, Abner, 1819–93, once credited as originator of baseball and Union general in the American Civil War, b. Saratoga co., N.Y., grad. West Point, 1842. The A. G. Mills commission (1905–8) investigated the origin of baseball and, based upon a single, unsubstantiated letter from an elderly man who later died in an insane asylum, declared that in 1839 Doubleday invented the game at Cooperstown, N.Y. In fact, Doubleday's obituary described him as a man who did not care for outdoor sports, and scholars since have effectively discredited the Cooperstown myth. Doubleday served in the Mexican War and in the Civil War. He saw action at Fort Sumter (where he fired the first shot in defense), Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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