Birth of national pastime

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In addition to umpiring the first officially recorded game, Alexander Cartwright also is credited with spreading the game of baseball as he journeyed west in search of gold.

If you’ve enjoyed any peanuts or cracker jack at the old ball game recently, you should probably tip your cap to Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr. On this date in 1846, the first officially recorded baseball game in America was played in Hoboken, N.J., using rules written by Cartwright. Some of Cartwright’s innovations included a diamond shape for the field, designating fair and foul territory and making it illegal to put a runner out by throwing the ball and hitting him. The game, which was played on Elysian Fields, featured Cartwright’s New York Knickerbockers against the New York Nine. Cartwright was the umpire, but the Knickerbockers still lost 23-1. Cartwright was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1938, and his plaque reads “Father Of Modern Base Ball.”