The $270,000 Question

Who invented baseball? At the turn of the century, that was the argument of the day, or at least one of them. (We have “competitive balance” and Balco). Albert Spalding, looking to ensure the pastime’s American pedigree, backed a commission that credited Abner Doubleday. The cognoscenti, led by Henry Chadwick, didn’t buy it. Yesterday, an auctioneer’s gavel came down on a previously unknown document from this great debate: a Chadwick letter excoriating the Spalding position. A sampling: “Spalding must realize that the rounder argument overwhelms the ridiculous fraud [of Doubleday’s promoter] and the findings of the commission which are inherently flawed. It seems ‘Young Albert’ is overzealous in his patriotism to a fault. Indeed, baseball is a truly American Gameā€”but it evolved.”

Pre-auction estimate: $20,000-$40,000
Winning bid: $270,000

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  • Wowee.

    JCL (YF) May 4, 2004, 10:36 am

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