Alexander Cartwright

Alexander Cartwright autograph
Birthdate 4/17/1820
Death Date 7/12/1892
Debut Year
Year of Induction 1938
Teams Knickerbockers
Position Executive

A founding member of the Knickerbockers, baseball’s first organized baseball team, Cartwright was instrumental in formalizing the game’s rules.

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In the collection:

Alexander Cartwright's autograph on a woodworking receipt from 1883

Alexander Cartwright's autograph on a woodworking receipt from 1883

Perhaps the truest father of the game, Alexander Cartwright was responsible for introducing the concept of foul territory, 90 foot bases, three outs to a half inning, a fixed batting order and the elimination of retiring base runners by throwing a batted ball at them.
Letter to HoF secretary from Alexander Cartwright's grandson dated four years before opening of the Hall

Letter to HoF secretary from Alexander Cartwright's grandson dated four years before opening of the Hall

Before it was the Hall of Fame, it was called the National Base Ball Museum. In the collection is a letter from Bruce Cartwright, the grandson of baseball pioneer Alexander Cartwright. Dated December 4, 1935, the letter says in part, “…I would like to donate to the
Letter of 9/13/38 from Cartwright's grandson to the HoF - amazing content

Letter of 9/13/38 from Cartwright's grandson to the HoF - amazing content

The Doubleday myth was still widely believed when this letter was written by Bruce Cartwright, grandson of Alexander Cartwright. In this offering the younger Cartwright writes, “…I remember viewing several games…with, ‘The Father of Organized Base Ball’. On one occasion
First of four pages promoting Alexander Cartwright and Abner Doubleday as baseball pioneers

First of four pages promoting Alexander Cartwright and Abner Doubleday as baseball pioneers

Much debate about the origin of baseball centered around Abner Doubleday, a Civil War general. Today baseball historian fully discount any contribution to the game by Doubleday, but as the Hall of Fame was getting ready to open,
Second page of four-page testimony trumpeting Doubleday

Second page of four-page testimony trumpeting Doubleday

The second page refers to the Mills Commission whose charge was to identify the origins of baseball. According to this page, the commission was composed of “Col. A.G. Mills, Morgan G. Bulkeley, the first president of the National League, Alfred J. Reach, George Wright, and other experts
Page three -- finishing Doubleday, starting on Cartwright and Henry Chadwick

Page three -- finishing Doubleday, starting on Cartwright and Henry Chadwick

The third page makes mention of a witness who maintained that, “Doubleday was the captain of the boys and usually played catcher.” The page continues, “To Alexander Joy Cartwright, sometimes spoken of as a playmate of Doubleday, is conceded the honor of
Final page -- More on Chadwick and Cartwright

Final page -- More on Chadwick and Cartwright

In reference to the Chadwick’s role during the Civil War is this, “Chadwick was a war correspondent during the strife between the States, and he saw first hand the game take hold in a big way. He was keen on statistics…” Indeed Henry Chadwick is credited with creating creating the box score & statistics of batting average and ERA. Truly interesting
Cartwright's grandson writes to the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce

Cartwright's grandson writes to the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce

Bruce Cartwright made it his mission to illuminate his grandfather’s role in the origin of the National Pastime. To that end he would have to discount Abner Doubleday’s supposed contributions. The younger Cartwright does this early in this two-page letter to the Hawaii
Second page of Cartwright letter to Chamber of Commerce

Second page of Cartwright letter to Chamber of Commerce

In the second page of Bruce Cartwright’s letter is this, “From the above facts, I know Judge Landis will agree to, you can get some idea of why Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr. should be honored whenever the birth of the game of Base-ball is celebrated, and why he should be nationally recogn
Alexander Cartwright letterpress letter from 1861

Alexander Cartwright letterpress letter from 1861

In the 19th Century, long before copy machines, letterpress copies were an option for letter writers wishing to create an exact copy of an outgoing letter. The letter to be copied was placed under the thin paper, a damp blotter was placed on top of the paper, and the original letter, translucent sheet, and blotter were then pressed together, resulting in a certain amount

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"Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball…"

~Jacques Barzun, 1954