Supposition. We live in a golden age of sports.
I mean this not in the sense of athletes becoming stronger, speedier, savvier and smarter than ever before, nor in terms of the amazing access to live streams and stat feeds, the instant insights and opinionating, the quirks and personalities of celebrity heroes.
This, rather, is a golden age of sports in humanistic, historical terms. The truth is that the great majority of people today, willingly or not, have a direct and regular connection to organized and/or participatory sports in their everyday lives than anyone born before the 20th century.
In the United States, not a person alive can recall a time when sports was not a staple of the daily newspaper. For four generations, the notion that nightly news programs should devote up to one-quarter of their airtime to sports is taken for granted. Why do we take this for granted?
At Unpopular Essays on Sports History, everything is questionable.
SHN Presents: Gridiron Greats Magazine Podcast - SHN Trailers
When Football Is Football is part of the Sports History Network - The Headquarters For Sports Yesteryear.
Row One - the vintage shop for sports history fans!
I am Chad Cain your host of One Guy with a Mic Presents: History of Dingers and Dunks. I am going to be bringing the history of baseball and basketball to life. For every one of you that doesn’t know anything about the history of baseball or basketball, this is your place to learn.
If you know some knowledge about baseball and basketball this is your place to know more. If you have more knowledge than others around you this is your safe space. I can always learn from each and every one of you as well.
Learn more about the show on the Sports History Network.
SHN Presents: Total Sports Recall - SHN Trailers
Total Sports Recall is part of the Sports History Network - The Headquarters For Sports Yesteryear.
“Covering Sports from a Different Angle”
HARV ARONSON (HOST) BACKGROUND
Harv Aronson was born and raised in Pittsburgh but now lives in Florida with his beautiful wife Melissa. Harv currently writes for Abstract Sports, the Sports History Network, and the magazine Gridiron Greats.
Harv wrote the published book "Pro Football's Most Passionate Fans" (Amazon link) and as a professional writer has had articles published in an array of sports publications. Harv loves all sports but football, baseball, and MMA are at the top of his interest. His passion is for sports history.
You can email Harv at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him via Twitter @TSRHarv59.
Listen to the TOTAL SPORTS RECALL podcast on your app of choice.
Please note, As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
SHN Presents: The Official Football Learning Academy Podcast - SHN Trailers
The Official Football Learning Podcast is part of the Sports History Network - The Headquarters For Sports Yesteryear.
HIGHLIGHTED SHOW - FOOTBALL LEARNING ACADEMY
Each week, the official Football Learning Academy podcast will take you deep into the history of this great game.
Through interviews with players, coaches, or administrators in the NFL, as well as interviews with Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors, authors, and historians, you will learn about how the game evolved and important moments that shaped the sport into what it is today.
You will also get first-hand accounts from the people who have made history in pro football.
Host: Ken CrippenKen Crippen was in a leadership position within the Professional Football Researchers Association for 15 years and is now the founder and lead instructor at the Football Learning Academy.
He has been researching and writing about pro football history for over 30 years and has been a sought-after interview for publications like the Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone magazine, and a sought-after guest on podcasts and radio shows, namely The History Channel, ESPN Radio, and Fox Sports Radio.
He has written two books, been the managing editor of two other books, and a contributor to yet two more books. He has also written hundreds of articles on pro football history, has won the Dick Connor Writing Award for Feature Writing (which is now called the Lesley Visser Enterprise News/Features Award) from the Pro Football Writers of America, as well as the Professional Football Researchers Association’s Ralph Hay Award for lifetime achievement in pro football research.
Learn more about the show on the Sports History Network.
SHN Presents: Fantasy Football Origin Stories - SHN Trailers
Fantasy Football Origin Stories is a podcast hosted by The Football History Dude, and part of the Sports History Network.
What is the greatest sport ever invented?
Another unpopular essay on sports history...
On this episode of Unpopular Essays on Sports History, host Os Davis looks to answer the question, "What is the greatest sport ever invented?"
Make your guess and run through a thorough process of elimination to arrive at a logical, objective answer. You may be surprised at how easy this question really is...
The Unpopular Essays on Sports History theme and all other music used in this episode was written and performed by Shane Ivers or Silverman Sound Studios.
Who invented baseball?
Another Unpopular Essay on Sports History...
Question: Who invented baseball?
On April 2, 1908, Chicago Cubs president Albert Spalding made an announcement of earth-shattering importance to the game of baseball. Spalding was a huge name in the game, having played for over a decade before helping form the National League, and then player/managed his Chicago White Stockings to the championship in the inaugural season of 1876. (Not uncoincidentally, that same year Spalding Sporting Goods, still the sole official supplier of baseballs to the major leagues, was founded.)
And just prior to the opening of one Major League Baseball’s most exciting seasons ever, Spalding announced the findings of the Mills Commission:
“I claim that the game of baseball is entirely of American origin, and has no relation to or connection with any game of any other country, except insofar as all games of ball have a certain similarity and family relationship.”
Specifically, the commission had “discovered” that a Civil War general named Abner Doubleday had written the rules for official organized baseball in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. This game of legend would have been played seven years before the acknowledged first official game between the New York-based Mutuals and Knickerbockers at Elysian Fields in New Jersey.
“It certainly appeals to all Americans' pride to have had the great national game of baseball created and named by a major general in the United States Army, and to have that same game played […] by the soldiers of the Civil War, who, at the conclusion of the war, disseminated baseball throughout the length and breadth of the United States and thus gave to the game its national character.”
It certainly was quite the appealing story for a country bursting with a new patriotic pride espoused by President Teddy Roosevelt.
It was also *a complete fabrication.
The Miles Commission was created almost entirely in response to a single newspaper article by England-born Henry Chadwick, the first great baseball writer and revolutionary statistician. In 1904, Chadwick wrote that the first organized team was that of the Philadelphia Olympic Club. The Olympic played townball, which
“…was simply an American edition of the English game of rounders, which i used to play 65 years ago, when a schoolboy in England."
Almost from the start, holes in the Doubleday story were easily punched: in 1839, for example, Doubleday was a 20-year-old student at West Point Military Academy – 150 miles away from Cooperstown.
In fact, 90 years passed before any tangible link between baseball and Doubleday was found by a Civil War historian in 1998: A requisition form for baseballs and bats for his troops in training. Still, Doubleday was one of the great diarists of the 19th century and in some 60 volumes of personal journals covering most of his adult life plus his known personal correspondence, not a single mention of baseball is made.
The previous Unpopular Essay on Sports History recounted the aggrandizement of William Webb Ellis, ostensibly the creator of rugby football, albeit accidentally. As with creation of the Doubleday myth, the Webb Ellis story was a product of a commission of gatekeeper-types looking to keep its sport rooted in local tradition. The commission for each “discovery” based key conclusions on a single eyewitness’s testimony decades after the genesis event took place, where the setting for each instantly gained in international prestige, particularly the village of Cooperstown, since 1937 home to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
And in our present day neither story is widely believed in its country of origin; artificially-created historical events seem to have little sticking power, and by the 100th...