The origins of baseball are controversial. James A. Vlasich discusses the debates between two men intimately involved in nineteenth-century baseball, Henry Chadwick and Albert G. Spalding. Abner Graves of the Mills Commission claimed that Abner Doubleday had invented the game and he had done it in Cooperstown, New York. This claim was scrutinized at the time but the myth became etched into baseball history.
Through the years, however, some critics have questioned the Mills Commission report. The problem is that the Baseball Hall of Fame is built on this shaky foundation. The lack of diligence on the part of Spalding’s self-appointed committee has led to a credibility gap for the baseball shrine that continues a half century after its dedication. Indeed, the story of the building of the Baseball Hall of Fame is filled with intrigue worthy of a political thriller.