CNN: A Baseball Wife Emerges From Dugout

From Ann O’Neill at CNN on February 25:

Harold Seymour wrote baseball’s first Bible, debunking some of the game’s biggest myths.

He informed fans that Abner Doubleday didn’t invent baseball in 1839 in Cooperstown, New York, (Footnote: There’s evidence of games involving sticks, balls and bases being played in England in the 1700s.) and that Jackie Robinson wasn’t the first black major league player. (That distinction more likely went to Moses Fleetwood Walker in the 1880s.)

Three books produced over a span of 30 years made Seymour the dean of baseball historians, and his journey from batboy to Ph.D. was celebrated as a success story. The study of America’s national pastime at last seemed “grownup and worthwhile,” observes John Thorn, a colleague who followed in his footsteps.

But after Seymour died in 1992, his wife, Dorothy, set about debunking one more myth: that he had researched and written all three books on his own.

She was the student turned secretary who married her professor. Now, more than 50 years after the first book was published, baseball’s scholars acknowledge that hers was the invisible hand that shaped the three volumes.


Read the full article here:

Further reading:

  • The Seymour Medal, awarded to the best book on baseball history published in the preceding year, was named after Dr. Harold Seymour and Dorothy Seymour Mills.
  • In 2010, Dr. Harold Seymour and Dorothy Seymour Mills were part of the inaugural class of Chadwick Award winners, honoring baseball’s greatest historians, researchers and statisticians.
  • Read John Thorn’s profile of the Seymours in the Summer 2010 edition of the Baseball Research Journal.

Originally published: February 25, 2011. Last Updated: February 25, 2011.