Play Ball! (?) in the Election of 1860

While reading accounts about Major League baseball returning soon, I happened upon a political cartoon about the 1860 election depicting the four candidates playing a variety of baseball.  Lincoln is the one with his foot on home plate, and he is saying to the others, “Gentlemen, if any of you should ever take a hand in another match at this game, remember that you must have ‘a good bat’ and strike ‘a fair ball’ to make a ‘clean score’ & a ‘home run.'”  John Bell complains about a ‘foul ball;” Stephen Douglas says he had hoped a fusion ticket would be a “short stop” to Lincoln’s career; and John Breckinridge says that it appears that the other candidates are “skunk’d.”  The players’ bats and belts have political labels on them — Lincoln’s “bat” is actually a wooden rail labeled “Equal Rights and Free Territory.”

After viewing this element of the “history of baseball,” I checked for information about the formerly-credited creator of baseball, General Abner Doubleday.  As we now know, Doubleday never knew, during his lifetime, that he had invented baseball, probably because he didn’t.  I did find interesting his carte de visite photo, below, on which either he or someone he trusted wrote the following tribute and bellicose message, “Doubleday, who fired the the first Gun, with the determination, that Traitors to the Stars & Stripes – must & shall be put down, trodden, if need be into dust.”

While we wait for real baseball to resume, these images will have to suffice. Enjoy!

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Author: geneofva

Author of "Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era," and of the upcoming "Lincoln, Antietam, and a Northern Lost Cause."

One thought on “Play Ball! (?) in the Election of 1860”

  1. My GG Granfather’s army discharge papers were signed by Abner Doubleday! Comment on service: “Excelsior!” (Ulster Militia from NY State.)

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