America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. ~ Field of DreamsThree days later, on June 17, the Mets were in the news, although events on the same day would overshadow the New York baseball-aligned obituary of the day.
The New York Times' opening paragraphs of the death news told quickly about the connections the deceased had to money, publishing, and baseball:
Nelson Doubleday Jr., who shortly after taking over his family’s publishing business used it in 1980 to buy the lowly New York Mets and put the team on course to win the World Series in 1986, died on Wednesday [June 17,2015] at his home in Locust Valley, N.Y. He was 81.As you know, another incident occurred on Wednesday, June 17. That was the attack on African-Americans in Charleston. We don't need to go into details here, but if you want a refresher, see "There's A Storm Coming: Dylann Storm Roof."
The cause was pneumonia, his son-in-law John Havens said.
Books and baseball defined Mr. Doubleday’s life. He was the grandson of Frank Nelson Doubleday, who founded the publishing company bearing his name in 1896, and the son of Nelson Doubleday, who built the business into a mass-market powerhouse.
Another Doubleday ancestor was Abner, a great-great-granduncle long credited (erroneously) with inventing the game of baseball. Growing up on the family’s Long Island estate, in Oyster Bay, Nelson Jr. was a passionate baseball fan, following the fortunes of the Brooklyn Dodgers on the radio. Source.
Roof left a ranting, racist manifesto on the internet calling for a new civil war in America before staging his massacre in a church.
But as S.J. Reidhead commented on my earlier Charleston posting, "Abner Doubleday was responsible for the first shot being fired from Fort Sumter."
initially served in coastal garrisons and then in the Mexican–American War from 1846 to 1848 and the Seminole Wars from 1856 to 1858. In 1858 he was transferred to Fort Moultrie in Charleston harbor serving under Colonel John L. Gardner. By the start of the Civil War, he was a captain and second in command in the garrison at Fort Sumter, under Major Robert Anderson. He aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot in answer to the Confederate bombardment on April 12, 1861. He subsequently referred to himself as the "hero of Sumter" for this role.I've been to Cooperstown with my son's youth baseball championship team, seeing the fame Doubleday has brought to that town, although it is viewed as all myth today.
Although Doubleday achieved minor fame as a competent combat general with experience in many important Civil War battles, he is more widely remembered as the supposed inventor of the game of baseball, in Elihu Phinney's cow pasture in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839.
The Mills Commission, chaired by Abraham G. Mills, the fourth president of the National League, was appointed in 1905 to determine the origin of baseball. The committee's final report, on December 30, 1907, stated, in part, that "the first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839." It concluded by saying, "in the years to come, in the view of the hundreds of thousands of people who are devoted to baseball, and the millions who will be, Abner Doubleday's fame will rest evenly, if not quite as much, upon the fact that he was its inventor ... as upon his brilliant and distinguished career as an officer in the Federal Army."
However, there is considerable evidence to dispute this claim. Baseball historian George B. Kirsch has described the results of the Mills Commission as a "myth". He wrote, "Robert Henderson, Harold Seymour, and other scholars have since debunked the Doubleday-Cooperstown myth, which nonetheless remains powerful in the American imagination because of the efforts of Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown." At his death, Doubleday left many letters and papers, none of which describe baseball, or give any suggestion that he considered himself a prominent person in the evolution of the game. Chairman Mills himself, who had been a Civil War colleague of Doubleday and a member of the honor guard for Doubleday's body as it lay in state in New York City, never recalled hearing Doubleday describe his role as the inventor. Doubleday was a cadet at West Point in the year of the alleged invention and his family had moved away from Cooperstown the prior year. Furthermore, the primary testimony to the commission that connected baseball to Doubleday was that of Abner Graves, whose credibility is questionable; a few years later, he shot his wife to death and was committed to an institution for the criminally insane for the rest of his life. Part of the confusion could stem from there being another man by the same name in Cooperstown in 1839.
Despite the lack of solid evidence linking Doubleday to the origins of baseball, Cooperstown, New York became the new home of what is today the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1937. See also here.
Besides the baseball links, Doubleday also was involved in the twilight world of Theosophy. In the summer of 1878, Doubleday lived in Mendham Township, New Jersey, and became a prominent member of the Theosophical Society. When two of the founders of that society, Helena Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott, moved to India at the end of that year, he was constituted as the president of the American body. Another prominent member was Thomas A. Edison.
I am becoming caught up in recurrences of the name Walter Scott. This started when I went looking in genealogy listings for members of the Roof family in the Columbia or Lexington area (because someone had written online that Dylann Roof's family was Afrikaans, which doesn't seem to be the case.) I found a fair number of them, going back into the early 1800s, including a Walter Scott Roof who was born in 1875. I don't know if he was Dylann's direct ancestor, but he seems pretty likely he was some kind of relative. That one name caught my eye in particular because I've read that the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott had a strong influence on Southern concepts of honor and chivalry and on the founding of the Ku Klux Klan. It made me wonder if the Roof family had a long-standing streak of Confederate romanticization.
I also find this New Yorker article noting the coincidence of names between Walter Scott and Sir Walter Scott.
South Carolina is not Missouri—its racial past, in fact, is more violent, but its attempts to move away from that history, while less known, have been more bold. The state’s history of violence against black men and women is excruciating to know, or to read. If you are unfamiliar, then Google “George Junius Stinney, Jr.,” “Julia and Frazier Baker,” the Hamburg massacre, or the Orangeburg massacre. That is South Carolina at its worst. But there is a streak of fair-mindedness in the state’s history—an ancient ideal that Mark Twain parodied as coming straight out of the chivalric fiction of Sir Walter Scott’s mist-filled novels of courtly knights. While reserved exclusively for whites for most of its history, this tendency appears from time to time and is always surprising, especially to outsiders. . . .
Admittedly, it may be hard to make a case, any case, for a South Carolina tradition of fair play. But, as inchoate or feeble as it may be, it is there, and we may be seeing a little bit of South Carolina’s almost romantic longing for true justice in the reaction to this murder victim—whose name, historians of cosmic coincidence should note, is Walter Scott.
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, FRSE (August 15, 1771 - September 21, 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet.