Setting the record straight
As part of Great American Folklore for more than 100 years, Abner Doubleday has taken his place alongside such heroes as Paul Bunyon and Johnny Appleseed, rather than such real-life heroes as Audie Murphy and John F. Kennedy.
Doubleday has been long taken for granted as the "Father of Baseball," but the truth of the matter is that there probably is not just one "Father," but rather the game has evolved from such other "stick-and-ball" games as the Irish's rounders and England's cricket.
Doubleday was said to have created the game in 1839, in a rural Cooperstown, New York cow pasture, but records show he was enrolled at West Point at the time. He never claimed to have any major influence over the sport, which is supported by the fact that among his possessions at the time of his death were a goodly number of personal letters and documents, none of which mentioned the game.
The persona of the "Father of Baseball" was largely created by Al Spalding, one of the premier pitchers in the game in the fledgling years of the first professional baseball league, and a successful sporting goods manufacturer after he left the game.
After much discussion, speculations, and arguments, Spalding formed a panel of baseball experts in 1907, including himself, two U.S. Senators, two former stars of the game, and two former presidents of the National League.
Spalding apparently did not want the whole truth to get out, but rather a "fairy tale" version where a future war hero from a quaint small town, would slow down long enough to invent "America's Pastime."
According to historians, Alexander Cartwright was the first to codify the rules of the game in 1845 for a Manhattan team called the "Knickerbockers."