Astifan: Thurlow Weed and baseball in Rochester

From SABR member Priscilla Astifan at Our Game on November 19, 2012:

When I first wrote about 19th century Rochester baseball nearly twenty years ago, the 1825 team recalled by local newspaper editor Thurlow Weed was considered proof that Abner Doubleday did not suddenly invent the game in a Cooperstown meadow in 1839. Twenty years later, many more discoveries illuminate the mysteries of the early game. Yet, the evolution of Rochester baseball continues to make important contributions to our knowledge of the early game.

Thurlow Weed, who later became a significant 19th-century American politician, mentioned the club in his 1883 autobiography, published one year after his death at 85. Weed listed the club’s best players as attorneys Addison Gardner and Frederick Whittelsey, businessmen James K. Livingston, Samuel L. Selden, and Thomas Kempshall, Drs. George Marvin, Frederick Backus, and A.G. Smith, and others.[1]

Urged to seek his fortune here by his friend Addison Gardner, Weed and his wife and family moved to Rochester from the Syracuse area in November 1822. Born in a poor family and largely self-taught, Weed had worked at a wide variety of menial tasks, including his voluntary service in the War of 1812, since the age of eight. More recently his work as a journeyman printer and occasional newspaper editor had enabled him to develop his skills and to make significant friends in a number of New York state communities, including Cooperstown. There, according to baseball historian Randall Brown, Weed worked on a rival newspaper of Ulysses Doubleday, father of Abner.[2] He also met his wife, Catherine.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 19, 2012. Last Updated: November 19, 2012.