Womack: The first Induction Day and the cavalcade of baseball at Cooperstown

From SABR member Graham Womack at The National Pastime Museum on July 28, 2017:

On June 12, 1939, dedication day finally arrived for the Baseball Hall of Fame. It had been five years since Alexander Cleland hatched the idea for a baseball museum on a trip to Cooperstown; 22 years since a group of men in an Ilion, New York, cigar store launched a fund to build a memorial to baseball’s supposed founder Abner Doubleday; and 36 years since then-National League President Harry Pulliam opened a private hall of fame in his New York offices.

A century after Doubleday’s alleged inventing of the National Pastime in a field in Cooperstown in 1839, Major League Baseball wasn’t about to let anything get in the way of its centennial celebration—putting an exclamation point on so many years of work to build a lasting shrine to the game. The show would go on, no matter what—even if in the time leading up to dedication day, the game weathered serious attacks on Doubleday’s legitimacy as baseball’s founder.

Doubts started soon after the Mills Commission relied on scant evidence to proclaim in 1908 that Doubleday had founded the game. Baseball acquiesced a little in 1938, with the Centennial Commission putting another purported founder, Alexander Cartwright, in the Hall of Fame and declining to induct Doubleday. Although Cartwright had no connection to Cooperstown, there was no moving the Hall of Fame at this point. Instead, baseball opted to put on a show to once again proclaim its own history, a show it dubbed the Cavalcade of Baseball.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/very-first-induction-day-and-cavalcade-baseball-cooperstown

Originally published: July 28, 2017. Last Updated: July 28, 2017.