SABR

Thorn: Pittsfield 1791 and Beachville 1838

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on May 21, 2013:

Not two hours ago, reader Brian Dawe posted this interesting comment about Adam Ford and the game he recalled playing in Beachville, Ontario on June 4, 1838. The article he references may be viewed at: http://goo.gl/CRkhI

Be sure to read other reader comments, including one by my esteemed colleague David Block. I introduced the Beachville article this, and repeat it here to supply a bit of context to Ford’s report, which may be read verbatim.

“In a letter to Sporting Life, published  May 5, 1886, Dr. Adam Enoch Ford recalled a ball game he had witnessed nearly fifty years earlier on June 4, 1838, in Beechville, Ontario, Canada, ‘which closely resembled our present national game.’ Recalling events that may or may not have transpired when the author was seven years old, Ford’s letter is eerily reminiscent of Abner Graves’ missive to the Mills Commission in 1905, in which he recalled witnessing Abner Doubleday inventing the game of baseball when the inventor was twenty and he was five. In a further coincidence, both Ford and Graves resided in Denver at the time they wrote their letters. Both endured disgrace in their lifetimes: Graves murdered his second wife and ended his days in an asylum; Ford was driven from Ontario by a murder inquest, a relationship with a woman who was not his wife, and a dependence on alcohol and drugs which, in 1906, brought him to his end.” 

I will add that I played a role in rediscovering the 1791 Pittsfield Prohibition. At one time I believed that baseball may have arisen in North America from a “Housatonic Valley Triangle” whose points were Pittsfield, Cooperstown, and New York City. I now believe that baseball was played in North America as early as the 1730s, in south central Massachusetts.

Read the full article here: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/05/20/pittsfield-1791-and-beachville-1838/

This page was last updated May 21, 2013 at 10:40 am MST.

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