Live All You Can: Alexander Joy Cartwright and the Invention of Modern Baseball

Live All You Can: Alexander Joy Cartwright and the Invention of Modern Baseball

by Jay Martin


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Laying waste to the notion that Abner Doubleday established the modern game of baseball, acclaimed biographer Jay Martin makes a bold case for A. J. Cartwright (1820-1892), an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and avid ballplayer whose keen perception and restless spirit codified the rules of the sport and engineered its rapid spread throughout the country.

Consulting Cartwright's personal correspondence and papers, Martin shows how this American archetype synthesized a number of elements from popular ballgames into the program, bylaws, and positions we find on the field today. After formalizing his blueprint, Cartwright worked tirelessly to promote baseball nationwide, appealing to both upper- and lower-class spectators and ballplayers and weaving a trail of influence across nineteenth-century America.

Addressing the controversy that has roiled for years around the claims for Doubleday and Cartwright, Martin revisits the original arguments behind each camp and throws into sharp relief the competing ambitions of these figures during a time of aggressive westward expansion and unparalleled opportunities for individual reinvention. Martin's story of modern baseball not only offers a fascinating window into a thoroughly American phenomenon but also accesses a rare history of American ideals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231147941
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 07/09/2009
Pages: 168
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jay Martin is the Edward S. Gould Professor of Humanities, professor of government, and founder of the Questions of Civilization Program at Claremont McKenna College. He has written and edited twenty-one books, including biographies of Nathanael West, Henry Miller, John Dewey, and Conrad Aiken, along with a standard history of American literature from 1865 to 1914. His most recent book is the short story collection Baseball Magic.

Table of Contents

The Birth of the Father
The Dream
Cartwright, Dreaming Again
Across the Plains
Visions and Revisions
Paradise Bound
Paradise Found
The Last Gasp of the Great Sailing Ships
Missionary Baseball
Starting All Over Again: It's Gonna Be Rough—but We're Gonna Make It
The New Fire Chief
Freemasonry Comes to Hawaii
A Gift from the Sea—and a Loss
Back to Baseball
DeWitt and His Brothers
Cartwright & Co., Ltd.
Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr., American
The Social Whirl
Advisor to the Queen
Deaths and New Life
King Sugar
Baseball on the Plantations
Spalding's World Tour—First Stop, Hawaii
The Final Dissolving
Cartwright's Second Life: Myth Into History
Appendix 1: Chronology of the Life of Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr.
Appendix 2: Did Cartwright "Really Invent" Baseball? Or, How Did the Game Evolve Before He Arrived? A Short Survey of Two Vexed Questions
Notes and References

What People are Saying About This

Robert D. Richardson

Jay Martin has given us a John Dewey with a passion for education and a passion for democracy, a man with an open spirit not only for America but also for the changes that swept China and Russia in the earliest decades of the twentieth century; a man who avoided academic inflation, grandstanding, and oratorical excess; a man with a passion above all for plainness and decency, the Harry Truman of American thinkers. Not only Dewey's thought but his life was democratic, as Jay Martin shows in this fine new psychologically revealing biography. A splendid achievement.

Robert Hamblin

Live All You Can is so engaging I read it in two sittings. This book is by the far the most comprehensive record of Alexander Joy Cartwright's life yet available.

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