1905 Contributors and Bob on baseball’s origin story

Vote for four, and this election will end Thursday night. The ballot for 1905 Contributors:

Daniel “Doc” Adams
Frank Bancroft
Alexander Cartwright
Bob Ferguson
John Gaffney
Bud Hillerich
Al Reach
Ernest Thayer
Chris Von Der Ahe
Louis Wadsworth
Wil Wheaton

Bob on baseball’s origin story:

The origins of baseball is THE hot topic of SABR’s 19th Century Committee right now. Different men are being advanced as the “Father Of Baseball”, sides are being drawn, books are being written, and tempers are flaring. To re-work that quote about O’Malley: when John Thorn sneezes, SABR catches cold. Currently there are four men vying for the title (leaving Doubelday out of the argument, of course) of “FOB”, Alexander Cartwright, Daniel “Doc” Adams, Wil Wheaton and Louis Wadsworth. Here’s my take on the discussion:

The forming of baseball was similar to the founding of our country, and these four men have near parallels to our Founding Fathers. (Bear with me, this will make some sense when I’m done). Wheaton and Cartwright are reprising the roles of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. In 1844/1845, the Knickerbockers formed a committee to codify the game they were playing. Wheaton was the committee head, and Cartwright acted as the secretary; just as Adams and Jefferson were part of the committee to draft the Declaration Of Independence (the role of Ben Franklin will be played by the other members on that committee). Jefferson, like Chadwick, didn’t write the Declaration; he had plenty of help.

The Declaration Of Independence was not a treatise on how to form a government, just a list of grievances. The Knickerbocker Rules were a list of how to play the game. They needed a better way to govern the game. This is where Wadsworth and Adams join the fray. Wadsworth was James Madison, dispensing ideas on how to improve the game, to make it more viable to the masses. From what I gather reading Thorn et al he was a rather polarizing man, just as Madison’s Virginia Plan was in need of altering and compromise. Adams was that man to lead the way. It’s not that he did anything of particular innovation; he was just the respected leader who made everyone work together. Sound like George Washington?

The parallels aren’t perfect of course. But it’s how I simplify the debate on the “FOB” options.

To extend the parallels: Chadwick was Alexander Hamilton, Jim Creghton was Nathan Hale, and I have no idea who Button Gwinnett is paired with.


With 6 ballots, the results”

27 Daniel “Doc” Adams
11 Al Reach
9 Bob Ferguson
7 Alexander Cartwright
6 Frank Bancroft
4 John Gaffney
1 Ernest Thayer
1 Chris Von Der Ahe

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