No, no – – – You have it wrong. Kudos to Abner Doubleday
But that wasn’t the real beginning. You see, it goes back a while,
To 1790. Those Brits had trouble swallowing their big loss on the
Battlefields, so they tried again – – – on the playing field, this time
Challenging the Founding Fathers and some others to what started
Out as a fame of Rounders . . . thinking they could win some bragging
Rights and go home with some pride. They billed it as a good old British
Game between the Redcoats and the Turncoats but that soon
Changed, as the new statesmen declared their team name would
Be referred to as the Patriots. Leftover cannonballs were to be used
As spheroids to be hit but they kept breaking branch-bats during
Practice, so Franklin came up with balls of cowhide stuffed with
Southern cotton. The umps were those strange men who’d attended the
First meeting of the new Supreme Court February 1; the crew chief was
John Jay and the base umpires were James Wilson, William Cushing
And John Blair, Jr. There was no dissent among the Redcoats as they
Were confident of victory. A few Rounders rules were tweaked for ease
Of playing. The Americans took the field, as they were the home team:
Tom Paine was bench coach; Ben Franklin was manager, since he named
Himself wisest; John Hancock signed on as pitcher and Patrick Henry
Caught him, saying things like, “Give me fastballs or give me Death!”;
Tall George Washington was at first; the Adams boys (Sam and John)
Were the double-play combo; Alex Hamilton, quick as he was, played
Third; and the outfield consisted of Richard Henry Lee, Tom Jefferson
(Who caught everything he could reach) and Roger Sherman. The umps
Ordered the playing of the National Anthem by Fife and Drums but
No one knew the tune yet, though the Brits suggested playing some old
English drinking song – – – and everybody laughed. Sad to say, no one
Kept a scorecard and so the details of the game were lost to history,
But the new countrymen must have won . . . for baseball, as the winners
Must have renamed it, has become embedded in American souls since
That first matchup recognized by all and known after that grand
Occasion – – – until it transitioned into our mythology – – – as the
First real baseball game quietly referred to by the true believers
As the Founding Fantasy Baseball Game!