Dotinga: Baseball’s origin myth has roots in Point Loma through Albert Spalding

From Randy Dotinga at Voice of San Diego on September 2, 2019, with mention of SABR member John Thorn:

If you head out to a Padres game this month, you might assume you’re enjoying the national pastime invented by a man called Doubleday in a bucolic place called Cooperstown. But this origin story is a hoax, perhaps the greatest in all of sports, and it has its roots right here in Point Loma, where wealth, the occult and shameless myth-making collided early in the 20th century.

At the center of it all was a man named Albert Goodwill Spalding, the early baseball player-turned-sporting goods king whose last name is emblazoned on countless baseballs, bats and gloves. He landed here around 1900 at the urging of his mistress-turned-wife, a follower of a pioneering New Age-adjacent religion known as Theosophy that had set up its fantastical “White City” headquarters along the shore.

Theosophy, one of the first New Age religions, blended Asian philosophies like Buddhism and Hinduism with homegrown American mind-over-matter philosophy and occult beliefs like clairvoyance and communication with spirits. (Unfortunately, no one appears to have tried to reach Abner Doubleday from beyond the veil to consult him about his supposed baseball bona fides).

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Originally published: September 3, 2019. Last Updated: September 3, 2019.