Dr. Harold Seymour

Baseball Historian

Stories about Harold Seymour
Baseball Articles and Speeches

Early Baseball

Over the years Seymour, with my help, published many articles, most of them on baseball history. In 1956 The New-York Historical Society Quarterly printed his "How Baseball Began," explaining that the game came originally from England and had been played there long before Abner Doubleday supposedly "invented" it in Cooperstown in 1839.

In 1986 John Thorn reprinted this article in The Armchair Book of Baseball, published by Scribner's, and announced the piece as "The game's premier historian on the game's central question!" This forty-year-old article is still pertinent, in view of the recent (July 2001) announcement of newly-discovered early references to baseball being played in the United States long before 1939 (New York Times, July 8, 2001, page 1+ page 18).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 02:01
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Famous Baseball Names

Names You'll Recognize

Over the years we corresponded with some well-known people in baseball. You'll recognize these names, which are signed to letters in our correspondence file: Ford Frick, Charlie Segar, Dave Grote, Charles "Chub" Feeney, Larry MacPhail, Albert B. "Happy" Chandler, Bowie Kuhn, Marty Appel. These letters were written in response to our requests for information to be used in the Seymour books, information that many businesses other than baseball businesses would be glad to distribute. But most of the answers these famous people gave were in this vein: No, we can't give you that information; it's not our policy to do it. Only Larry MacPhail and Marty Appel of the Yankees said Yes, we'll send what you need.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 02:02
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Final Fans

Invitation to Fans

Seymour had always received fan mail, but when he was in his final years I determined that he would receive even more. Through the SABR newsletter I announced that because of poor health he was receiving therapy at the McKerley Center in Keene, New Hampshire, and asked that people write him. A flood of mail came in, mostly appreciative letters from readers but some also from other authors. In my daily visits to Seymour at the Center, I took these letters with me and read them to him, hoping that, as well as giving him pleasure, they would keep his mental faculties functioning.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2011 05:06
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Cornell Baseball Bequest

Thanks to the University

In his will Seymour arranged to honor Cornell, which was first to recognize baseball as a legitimate subject for academic inquiry and awarded him the Ph.D. degree for his dissertation on the early history of baseball. His bequest took several forms. He set up a fellowship in American history for a graduate student to study sports history. He also planned an annual invitational lecture on sports history at Cornell, called the Harold "Cy" Seymour lectureship in Sports History.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2011 05:39
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Who's On First?

Plans for a Ceremony


In a trip to visit the National Baseball Library at Cooperstown in 1994 I delivered Seymour's ashes to Tom Heitz, then the Library's Director, in the hope that he could arrange for interment in Cooperstown. Tom planned a ceremony to take place during the annual Cooperstown Symposium on American Culture, which attracts about a hundred scholars each year to the Otesaga, a beautiful resort hotel on Lake Otsego in the heart of Cooperstown.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2011 05:00
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Big-League Batboy

A noted historian remembers his youth at Ebbets Field

By Harold Seymour, Ph. D.

"Wanna mind the bats for Cincinnati today?"

The voice was that of Babe Hamburger, a Brooklyn clubhouse attendant, who had just passed me with his hands full of food one Sunday afternoon about 1925 as I was standing near the Ebbets Field pass gate on Cedar Place.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2011 05:05
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