LeRoy Pennysaver & News

LE ROY PENNYSAVER & NEWS - APRIL 10, 2022 by Lynne Belluscio The Little League teams have once again gathered behind LeRoy House to get ready for the 2022 season. The high school teams have already begun their season. The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown has announced their 2022 inductees who will be honored on July 24. The Rochester Red Wings open their 2022 season on April 12 – and yes, I have my tickets for the game. There is no question that baseball has a long history in Western NewAYo r k .AI nALeRoy, John Olmsted wrote in his “Recollections of Boyhood in LeRoy:” I played baseball when it was the fashion to “spot” the runner with the ball as he passed from base to base. Later on, we had a club called the "ibexes", a name derived after much search from an animal book which we owned, since ibexes were the swiftest runners of all four-footed things. We proceeded to carry out the idea by choosing as our short stop a thick, muddle-headed Scotch boy, whose sole qualification for the position was that his father had a pair of blue army pants thick and heavy enough to stop even a cannon ball. Girded on with this panoply of war, our player could run around the bases in about the same time that one of Oliver’s Ironsides might have made, but he was a great short stop. No ball ever got by him – if it happened to hit his legs.” Baseball evolved from several other ball games, such as cricket and rounders. Rules were often different from town to town. And unfortunately, the truth is, Abner Doubleday did not “invent” baseball in 1839. Early accounts of baseball can be found in 1778. George Ewing, a Revolutionary War soldier tells of playing a game of “base” at Valley Forge. In 1744, John Newbery o fALo n d o n , Ap u b l i s h e d “A Little Pretty Pocket” which contained a rhymed description of “Baseball.” The book was republished in 1762, and again in 1787. In Rochester, in 1825, there was a baseball club of fifty members that played every afternoon during the season. The infamous Thurlow Weed wrote about the Rochester game and even listed the players who were very prominent members of Rochester society. If there was anyone who should be credited with “inventing” baseball, it should be Alexander Cartwright, a young bank teller of New York City. His rules prohibited “soaking” or “pegging” the runner with the ball for an out. He established 90-foot base lines and the position of short stop. He established a batting order, limited a team to nine players and made three outs to a side. So, how did General Abner Doubleday get into the story? Even Doubleday failed to mention that he had anything to do with p l a y i n gAb a s e b a l l . AH e at tendedAWestPointAand fought in the Civil War, but he was long dead by the time he was credited with inventing baseball. In 1889, two hundred people gathered in Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City to honor Albert Spalding’s professional baseball team that had just returned from a world tour. (Spalding was a former pitcher, manager, founder of the National League, and co-founder of Spaulding sporting goods company. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame when it opened in 1939.) At the gathering at Delmonico’s, the President of the National League, Abraham Mills stated that he wanted it known that baseball was American in origin. He appointed a committee of seven men to prove once and for all that baseball was an American sport. Information was collected for three years and on December 30, 1907, the report was presented and of course it stated that baseball originated in the United States and according to the “best evidence obtainable,” General Abner Doubleday devised the game in Cooperstown in 1839.” Plain and simple - - it was a story that the committee made up. Never the less a building was erected in Cooperstown and a field was built, known as Doubleday Field. I have played a game on that field, and as an eight-year-old, I stood on the mound and my father took my photograph. And as much as I would love to believe that General Abner Doubleday was around in 1839 to “invent baseball”, I know he wasn’t. LeRoy’s history also includes Tom McGinnis’ g r a n d f a t h e r , A R a b b i t Maranville who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1954. It also includes the story of the “Aces” a Black ball team who won the championship in 1948, but were denied the traditional banquet and recognition. LeRoy’s history includes photographs of the Oatka Baseball Club, standing on the front steps of the Eagle Hotel in 1870, and the story of the Oatka Club, who in 1873 played the match game on Trigon Park. Over 1000 people came to watch the game, which they lost to East Bethany 100 to 74. Yes, baseball season has begun. And in case you haven’t heard, on Monday June 13, the Batavia Muckdogs are hosting LeRoy night at 6 pm. Put the date on your calendar! See you there! Baseball Season