No, not Alex Cole, the man for whom the Indians famously moved the fences back in 1990, it’s Alexander Cartwright’s birthday today. Given that he’s 189 years-old, however, the celebration will remain low key.
For those unfamiliar, a Wiki-overview of why all of the banks and government offices are closed today:
Cartwright was a bookseller in Manhattan, and a volunteer fireman. Cartwright founded the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club (after the Knickerbocker Fire Engine Company) in 1842. They played a brand of stick-and-ball game called the town game. In 1845 Cartwright and a committee from his club drew up rules converting this playground game into a more elaborate and interesting sport to be played by adults. He and other firemen played on a field at 47th and 27th Streets. The rules of the modern game are based on their by-laws, and Cartwright is thought to be the first person to draw a diagram of a diamond shaped field. The Knickerbockers participated in the first competitive game (as opposed to intramural) under these rules on June 19, 1846. The Knickerbockers lost 23–1 to the New York Nine.
How bad do you have to suck in order to lose that badly even though you drew up the rules yourself? My daughter makes up little games to play with her brother and she wins every time, usually because she’s able to change the rules on the fly without him knowing. Sure, he’s only three so he’s easily fooled, but when you adjust for inflation, I’m pretty sure he has the same level of intelligence as a grown ballplayer in 1846 or Kyle Farnsworth today.
Anyway, happy birthday Alexander C.