WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22,.1945
TAI MICHIGAN DILYi~
Doubleday Tur ns in Grave; Baseball's Founding Quesi
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R:> * V dATW TrW9TQVIE
BSy HANK KEISER
It looks as if a basic American ideal
is about to be shattered. One may
only guess what effects this will have
on the very core of American life.
Perhaps the whole foundation of our
democratic structure will be shaken.
You ask, what is this horrible reve-
lation? Well, listen:
All evidence points to the fact
that the great American game of
baseball was not invented by Ab-
ner Doubleday,in 1839, at Coopers-
town, N. Y., but stems from a game
of English origin.
This Anglican pastime, called
"rounders," differed from baseball in
that the fielders retired a base runner
by the somewhat bloodthirsty prac-
tice of conking him with the mis-
sile. In 1840 a humanitarian Amer-
ican, who shall remain nameless
chiefly because nobody knows who
he was, instituted the more gentle
plan of tagging, instead of beaning,
a runner to retire him. Naturally,
since there was a shortage of able
players at the time, the innovation
adopted to conserve the
However, America quaked at the
thought that its national pastime was
merely a "zoot suit" version of a
British lawn contest. So, in true
Yankee style, a well-known sporting
goods house which found itself with
nothing better to do during the off-
season, established a commission, to
determine a more acceptable expla-
nation of the origin of baseball. It
could be pointed out that a more
favorable explanation of the game's
inception would result in an increase
in its popularity, thus enabling said
business establishment to sell more
balls and bats. But such a view
would be wholly incompatible with
American industry's noble picture of
Be that as it may, the Commis-
sion, composed not of trained ex-
perts but of baseball men reported,
in 1908, that baseball was invented
in 1839 by Abner Doubleday, later
Gen. Doubleday, a hero of the bat-
tle of Gettysburg. And that expla-
But, in 1939, a lone figure from the
catacombs of the N. Y. Public Li-
brary raised his stentorian voice in
protest against the "Doubleday Doc-
trine." The voice belonged to R. W.
Henderson who issued a pamphlet
that strengthened the argument of
the "English-origin" school of think-
Today, added facts seem to indi-
cate (to the dread of the American
public) that, in truth, baseball is
English "rounders" with pegged
H. G. Salsinger, sports editor of
the Detroit News, points out that
the controversy has been carried to
the authoritative pages of the 1946
Encyclopedia Britannica. In this
publication Will Irwin argues in
favor of the English-origin theory,
pointing out that pop bottles were
being thrown at umpires in Eng-
land as early as 1748:
"The name 'base ball' to desig-
nate some popular English game, has
been traced back to the first half of
the eighteenth century," he writes.
"In the 'Letters of Mary Lepell, Lady
Hervey," accurs a passage under the
date of Nov. 8, 1748, satirizing Freder-
ick Prince of Wales and his romantic
habits: 'The Prince's family is an
example of cheerful and innocent
amusements . . . they divert them-
selves at base ball, a play all who
are or have been, schoolboys, are
well acquainted with.' " Although
this does not make very racy reading,
as do most private memoirs, it illu-
strates the point pretty well.
Irwin goes on to point out, "In
'Northanger Abbey,' written about
1798, Jane Austen remarks of her
heroine, 'It was not very wonderful
that Catherine, who had by nature
nothing heroic about her, should pre-
fer cricket, base ball, riding on horse-
back, and running around the country
at the age of 14, to books.' " Person-
ally, I think any tomato thatrgoes
sightseeing through the heather at
14 is a bit of a square. At that age
lady friends of my acquaintance were
concerned mainly with devising
snares to trap unsuspecting young
gentlemen. But that has no place
here, since we are discussing baseball.
To get back to the matter at
hand: "in 1744, 'A Little Pretty
Pocketbook' (not the type obtained
at the burlesque show "with every
bar of chocolate purchased") was
published in England . . . it pic-
tures and describes-26 children's
sports-one for each letter of the
alphabet-and 'B' is represented
by baseball." The book was re-
printed twice in America, in 1762
"There is a great deal of evidence
that baseball was played elsewhere in
this country long before Coopers-
town, N. Y. ever heard of it," Salsing-
er states. It seems as though um-
pires' skulls have been unearthed at
Valley Forge, seeming to indicate that
General Washington's men were
stealing bases as early as 1778.
The boys from Rochester, N. Y.
whose pool-room was raided by the
local gendarmes, decided to martyr
themselves by braving the dangers
of concentrated and prolonger doses
of fresh air, so they formed a baseball
club way back in 1825. As expected,
not many survived.
To top it off there was published4
in London. in 1828, a work entitled
"The Boys Own Book," containing,
among other things, helpful hints
to youth concerning book-making,
taking numbers, making a 10 the
hard way, systems for selecting a1
two-horse parley and a daily
double, and various methods of
peddling dope. In addition, this
handy little guide, which may be
likened to modern books on the
raising of healthy, happy, normal
children, contained a full descrip-
tion of the aforementioned "round-
ers," and the game bears a closer
resemblance to baseball than rug-
by to American football. The book
was printed in America in 1835,
when Doubleday, 16-years-old, was
still pitching pennies on street-
Irwin, in the Encyclopedia Britan-
nica, has this to say about Double-
day, the accredited inventor of the
"Abner Doubleday entered West
Point in 1838 and was graduated and
commissioned in regular order in
1842. In that period, as later, a
West Point cadet had no leave dur-
ing his second year. That, he was
at Cooperstown at all in 1839 is
therefore improbable, and that he
was an instructor in a military school
unlikely, and that he had the rank
of colonel, virtually impossible."
So, it appears likely that Double-
day, the baseball fan's Santa Claus,
didn't know the difference between
a baseball bat and a flag-pole. It
may even be that he regarded steal-
ing a base a criminal offense, pun-
ishable under the Articles of War.
But disregarding that, and gazing
at the other side of the picture, we
may venture to speculate at the ef-
fects this revelation might have on
the American pastime. For example,
since baseball is essentially an Eng-
lish game, maybe we should disregard
the practice of beginning each con-
test with the traditional cry of "Play
ball," and substitute a rousing "Tal-
A's to Split with
Tigers; 7-6, 6-7
Detroit Remains One
Game In League Lead
As Greenberg Stars
DETROIT, Aug. 21 -(p)- Louis
(Bobo) Newsom, as advertised,
pitched both ends of a twin bill for
the Philadelphia Athletics today, but
the Detroit Tigers knocked him out
of the box twice, winning the night-
cap 7 to 6 with a ninth inning rally
after losing the first game by the
same score in 11 innings.
Newsom lasted six innings of the
opener, retiring in the seventh with
the score 6-3 in his favor. Jittery
Joe Berry lost the lead when Rudy
York's ninth inning homer tied the
score but the A's came back to score
in the 11th. on Irv Hall's single and
Mayo Smith's double to pin the de-
feat on Artie Houtteman, third Ti-
Old Bobo got away to a 4-0 first
inning lead in the nightcap when
Frank (Stubby) Overmire hit two
batsmen and walked another before
the A's. catcher Charley (Greek)
George poled a three-run triple.
Roy Cullenbine's 13th homer of
the year in the seventh shaved Phil-
adelphia's lead to one run at 6-5
after the game had been interrupted
twice by rain.
With the rain coming down again
as Detroit came up in the ninth, Ed
Borom beat out an infield hit, Doc
Cramer singled to center and Hank
Greenberg hit a line drive that went
through to the wall for a double as
left fielder Bob Wilkins skidded and
fell. That tied the score and brought
Berry to Newsome's relief the second
Roy Cullenbine was purposely
passed to fill the bases and Rudy
Yorkdrilled a single through short
to break up the game.
Each club had 28 hits in the dou-
bleheader, Al Benton giving up nine
hits in the six innings of the opener
as he failed for the fourth straight
time to go as far as seven innings.
Overmire was lifted after four in-
nings of the second game, charged
with five hits and six runs.
Final Phase of Basketball Practice
Cheers Barcla y
Opening the final phase of basket-
ball's summer practice last Tuesday,
Coach Bill Barclay found that Dave
Strack, letter winner in 1942 and
1943, has been discharged from the
Marine Corp. and is returning to
Strack, who was a guard on the
Michigan basketball team during the
years that he played, was elected hon-
orary captain after his departure in
1943. Dave was a Marine here at
Michigan for one year, but he was
ordered to Paris Island to train for
his commission. He was discharged
just one day before his commission-
ing. ,Strack is now
and will graduate
a senior at school,
As for practice, drills are consist-
ing mainly of offensive screening
plays. This is done so that the
players will get practice in fast breaks
under playing conditions. Usually
there is one set of men trying to get
to the basket, and one set guarding
them. After this is done for a while,
the men rotate-thus giving all can-
didates a chance to be on the offen-
This form of drill is followed by a
practice game between the "skins"
and the "red shirts." The players
are now able to put their knowledge
into effect, under simulated game
Veterans on Team
To date, the team has three men
who are experienced in collegiate
basketball. They are veteran letter-
men Kieth Harder, a forward last
year, and Don Lindquist, who played
guard last year; and Red Louthen,
who played for Western Michigan
Types of Drills
Coach Barclay utilizes many differ-
ent types of drills. One consists of
having the players stand in a circle.
Within this circle stand two men who
try to block the passes that the play-
ers standing around the ring throw to
each other. When one of the men
within the circle blocks a pass thrown
by one of his teammates, he goes to
the outside of the sphere and the
man, whose pass was blocked, goes to
the center, where he then tries to
block the passes thrown by the play-
ers remaining around the ring.
Another di;,ill consists of having
two men trying to shoot baskets,
while two of their team mates guard
them. This affords the opportunity
of practicing shots under the guard
of an opposing player.
The team is now practicing at the
Yost Fieldhouse, and sessions are be-
ing held every Tuesday, Thursday,
Red Sox Split
ST. LOUIS, Aug. 21-(/P)-The St.
Louis Browns could only manage a
split in their doubleheader tonight
with the Boston Red Sox, but moved
into a virtual tie for third place
in the American League with Chi-'
cago who dropped a doubleheader to
New York. The Browns won the first
game, 2 to 1, and lost the second,
4 to 3, in a contest called after five
innings because of rain.
RETURNS TO THE FOLD-Dave Strack, recently discharged from
the Marine Corps, is now working out with the Maize and Blue basket-
ball squad after a two and one half year lay-off. Strack played on the
'42 and '43 teams and was elected honorary captain at the end of the
NEWS + VIEWS + COMMENT
By BILL MULLENDORE, Sports Editor
MILITARY DISCHARGES are in the air, and another complicating factor
is added to the confusion that already is the American League pennant
race. With the Greenbergs, the Fellers, the DiMaggios, the Kellers, and
the rest of them beginning to make their way back to baseball, the also
ran becomes a contender and the contender becomes an also-ran in a
screwy up-and-down cycle that leaves us all slightly dizzy.
MUCH of the Detroit Tigers' success in holding on to the American League
lead can be traced to the effects of these discharges. First there was
Big Al Benton, whose phenomenal pitching over the early-season route did
much to keep Detroit, in the running. Then came Hank Greenberg, and
Hank's big bat, which has been pounding the ball at a better than .500
clip for the past 15 games, has supplied some much needed punch to the
Tiger attack. Now the possible return of "Fireball" Virgil Trucks may
have much to do with the Bengals' ability to cling to first place.
Over in Cleveland, the Indians are playing like champions without
the services of mound ace Bob Feller, the best right-hander in baseball.
Feller is due back Friday, and his return might go a long way toward
making Cleveland's determined first-place challenge a successful one.
N NEW YORK, the fans are cheered by the re-appearance of Charlie
Keller in Yankee uniform and the expected discharge of Joe DiMaggio
within ten days. Put Keller and DiMaggio back in Joe McCarthy's lineup,
and the team assumes a far more serious aspect when it comes to conten-
sion for the pennant.
MEANWHILE, 'he Washington Senators can trace their recent climb back
to the day whey, Buddy Lewis came back. While Lewis was never in
the class with Greenberg, Feller, DiMaggio, et al as a ball player, he seems
to have wielded a steadying influence on Ossie Bluege's young and inexperi-
enced collection of talent. His handy stickwork at the plate also has helped
the Senators to several ball games they might not otherwise have won.
As the days go by, more and more former stars of the national
pastime will be coming back to their old haunts. Even though the
season is definitely in its later stages, many of these men will still
have time to exert their influence in the final positions of their respect-
AS MATTERS now stand, returning stars have a more than normal import-
ance to their teams. Pre-war calibre performers are mighty scarce
these days, and the addition of even one or two often is enough to make a
difference of several games in the final standings. All of which, added to
the generally chaotic character of the American League scramble, points
to a repeat performance of the 1944 last-ditch battle that was not decided
until the final game of the season.
AROUND THE CLOCK WITH WPAG
TEAMS W L Pct.
Chicago ..........74 40 .649
St. Louis .........70 47 .598
Brooklyn .........63 52 .548]
New York.... ...64 54 .542l
Pittsburgh .......62 58 .517
Boston ..... .......54 66 .450
*Cincinnati ........45 68 .398
*Philadelphia ......34 81 .2964
Chicago 3, New York 4. #
Pittsburgh 12, Brooklyn 1.
St. Louis 8, Boston 4. o
Cincinnati at Philadelphia.
No games scheduled.
TEAMS W I, Pct.
Detroit ...........66 48 .579.
Washington ......65 49 .570
Chicago..........59 55 .518
**St. Louis ........57 53 .518
Cleveland........58 55 .513
New York ........56 54 .509
**Boston ..........53 61 .4651
Philadelphia ......36 75 .3242
*Playing single night game.
**Playing twi-night doublehead-
Philadelphia 7-6, Detroit 6-7.
New York 3-6, Chicago 0-2.
Washington 11, Cleveland 8.
Bostgn at St. Louis (2-night).
Philadelphia at Detroit.
Washington at Cleveland (2).
WED., AUG. 22, 1945
Eastern War Time
7:15-Sleepy Head Serenade
11:30-Farm & Home Hour.
11:55 Martial & College Airs.
2:45 Baseball Brevities.
2:55-Baseball (Phila. at
5:05-Music for Listening.
5:15-Mg, tery Melodies.
5:30-Reo. Room Rythms.