A long standing myth claimed that Abner Doubleday invented baseball. Now that this myth has been effectively thrown out, it question as to who invented baseball persists.
History of Baseball
Several cultures invented games which involved hitting a ball with a bat and running. But there were several rules that set each game apart. The game of baseball itself has evolved over the times and has accommodated several changes from its early versions.
It is said that the game which resembles baseball the most was invented in England. Records from the early 18th century suggest that English people played a game known as 'rounder' which was very similar to the objective of baseball today.
It is dissimilar from cricket, in the sense that players had to run around the bases in circles as opposed to forwards and backwards as they do in cricket. The earliest reference to the word 'baseball' in 'A Little Pretty Pocket Book' from 1745 came from England itself.
While the game known as rounders continues to flourish in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, it is hard to debate the fact that baseball is more than just inspired from this old English game.
As the legend goes, the game we know as baseball today was invented or at least established formally, with an accepted set of rules, by Alexander Joy Cartwright.
As there is little proof that baseball was played in the United States before Alexander Cartwright wrote up the rules of baseball, it has now been formally accepted that Cartwright is, if not the biological, then the adaptive father of baseball.
The legend states that baseball, which has grown to become a hugely popular game in the United States today, was invented in a Manhattan based club called the Knickerbockers. So, the unofficial name for the rules as set by Alexander Cartwright goes, 'the knickerbocker rules'. The first New York based baseball team was called the New York Knickerbockers.
Having created the rules, it was quite natural for him to be the umpire for the first ever baseball game played in the United States based on the Knickerbocker Rules. The game was supposedly played in Hoboken, New Jersey on 19th June, 1846 between the New York Knickerbockers and the New York Nine.
Cartwright's contribution to baseball doesn't just end at setting the rules for the game. He is also credited with popularizing the game and its rules over the United States. Cartwright, who traveled to California during the California Gold Rush, spread the knowledge of baseball pretty much at every stop on his way from New York to California.
Till about the late 1860s, baseball was largely an amateur game until a Cincinnati club - the Cincinnati Red Stockings - decided to recruit the best players for monetary compensation. The first professional baseball league in the United States was the National Association of Professional Baseball Players, formed in 1871.
The game we know and play as baseball today was for sure formalized in the US. About the origins of baseball, well one cannot be sure.