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Organization Men at the KBBC in 1848

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Baseball Professionalism, Club Constitutions/Bylaws, Famous
City/State/Country: NYC, NY, United States
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

"Early references to the Knickerbockers' 1845 rules credit both William H. Tucker and William R. Wheaton, with (Hall of Famer Alexander) Cartwright seldom if ever getting a mention until (Duncan) Curry made an offhand remark to reporter Will Rankin during an 1877 stroll in the park (and even this remark was initially reported as a reference to "Wadsworth" as the diagram-giver; only in 1908 was Rankin's recall of Curry's attribution morphed into Cartwright).

Curry and Cartwright perhaps deserve more credit for the organization of the
club (i.e., its by-laws) than the rules. In the 1848 Club Constitution, p.

Committee to Revise Constitution and By-Laws:
D.L. Adams, Pres.
A.J. Cartwright, Jr., Vice Pres
Eugene Plunkett, Sec'y
J.P. Mumford
Duncan F. Curry


19cbb post by John Thorn, June 9, 2003, referencing the 1848 revision of the Knick's constitution and bylaws (see 1848.1)


As of 2016, recent scholarship has shown little evidence that Alexander Cartwright played a central role in forging or adapting the Knickerbocker rules.  See Richard Hershberger, The Creation of the Alexander Cartwright Myth (Baseball Research Journal, 2014), and John Thorn, "The Making of a New York Hero" dated November 2015, at http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2015/11/30/abner-cartwright/.

John's concluding paragraph is: "Recent scholarship has revealed the history of baseball's "creation" to be a lie agreed upon. Why, then, does the legend continue to outstrip the fact?  "Creation myths, wrote Stephen Jay Gould, in explaining the appeal of Cooperstown, "identify heroes and sacred places, while evolutionary stories provide no palpable, particular thing as a symbol for reverence, worship, or patriotism."

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Submitted by Bob Tholkes, LMc
Submission Note 2/9/2015, 3/9/2016


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