Saturday, April 17, 2010

Take me out to the old Ballgame

The fellow above is one Alexander Joy Cartwright born this day 1820 in New York City, New York. Born the son of a merchant, young Alexander began earning his living as a clerk, and was also a volunteer fireman (hence the fancy duds in the photo above). Many of his co-workers were playing a game similar to stick ball, and Alexander joined in with relish. He even formed a ball club, naming it after the fire department he worked for, it was called the Knickerbocker base ball Club. The team drew up a constitution and by laws, and in September 1845 adopted the 20 rules from which our modern game of baseball is derived. They played their first games against another New York team on June 19th, 1846, getting waxed by a score of 21-1. That is in some quarters to be considered the first baseball game. He later caught the Gold Rush bug, and skipped out to California, but eventually wound up in Hawaii, where he got into all sorts crazy dealings in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Those deeds do not concern us here, and if you want to read about them if you want. He died there of blood poisoning on July 12th, 1892, but his reason for being our hero is for that invention of what would become America's Pastime. I confess that I am not the baseball fan I used to be, but for great periods of my childhood I was a big fan of the game. I was also a fan of the glory days of the game, the true heroes of the game, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiaMaggio, Stan Musial, etc, etc. Before the multi-million dollars juicers of the game of today, baseball was fun to watch, and maybe one day it will be again. However, Cartwright, who was officially credited with inventing the game by the United States Congress, on June 3rd, 1953, is not to blame for that. So, for inventing a lovely game in a time of not steroid taking apes, Alexander Cartwright (April 17th, 1820-July 12th, 1892, at the age of 72), you are my (235th) hero of the day.

No comments: