Who was Abner Doubleday?
Legend has it that Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball in 1839 as a cadet at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. Although the claim has been debated for decades among baseball historians and fans, the popular myth remains.
Doubleday is recognized at the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., where it's said the first game was played. The historic baseball field at West Point is also named in Doubleday's honor.
According to the Hall of Fame:
"On April 2, 1908, the Mills Commission determined that Abner Doubleday originated the game of baseball. In its final report, the seven-man commission states that, "The first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, NY, in 1839."
Doubleday, baseball aside, is also known as a famed United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He fired the first shot of the war in defense of Fort Sumter, the opening battle of the war, and had a pivotal role in the early fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg.
His father, Ulysses Doubleday, fought in the War of 1812 and later worked as a newspaper publisher, a book publisher, and represented Auburn for four years in the United States Congress. Abner spent his childhood in Auburn and later was sent to Cooperstown to live with his uncle and attend a private preparatory high school.
Doubleday practiced as a surveyor and civil engineer for two years before entering the U.S. Military Academy in 1838, where he graduated in 1842, 24th in a class of 56 cadets, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.
Doubleday's name has since been linked to baseball history. Doubleday Field, a ballpark named for Abner Doubleday, was building in Cooperstown, New York near the Baseball Hall of Fame. It hosted the annual Hall of Fame Game, an exhibition game between two Major League teams that was played from 1940 until 2008.
The Auburn Astros were renamed the Doubledays in 1996.