At Gunn Historical Museum: Museum to Host Program, How Baseball Happened!

Above is one of the first photographs of a baseball game in progress: The Gunnery Reunion Game on August 4, 1869, on the Washington Green, from the collection of the Gunn Museum. The Gunn Historical Museum offers an illustrated presentation, “How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! The True Story Revealed,” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 19, via Zoom with the book’s author, Thomas W. Gilbert.

WASHINGTON — The Gunn Historical Museum offers an illustrated presentation, “How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! The True Story Revealed,” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 19, via Zoom.

The guest lecturer is Thomas W. Gilbert, the book’s author.

Registration, required to receive the Zoom link for this free virtual program, may be found on the Gunn Museum’s registration page at

Baseball fans may have heard that Alexander Doubleday or Alexander Cartwright invented baseball; that a club called the Knickerbockers played the first baseball game in 1846; that Cooperstown, N.Y., or Hoboken, N.J., were the birthplaces of baseball.

In reality, a movement began in the 1850s to transform the ancient New York game of baseball into America’s first national sport. The men who gave us baseball were amateur, part-time athletes who founded businesses and industries, practiced professions, ran for office, created great railroad networks, published newspapers and served in the military.

Mr. Gilbert will tell the real story of where America’s first national sport came from and how it conquered the nation. Included is a mention of Washington’s own place in baseball history with one of the earliest images of a baseball game in action: The Gunnery Reunion Game played on the Green on August 4, 1869.

Thomas W. Gilbert is a baseball historian and prolific author who has written numerous books on baseball, including, “Baseball and the Color Line,” “Playing First,” “Roberto Clemente” and “How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! The True Story Revealed.”

Mr. Gilbert obtained his bachelor’s degree in classics and classical languages, literature and linguistics at Yale University. He lives with his wife in Greenpoint in Brooklyn.

Like baseball’s amateur 19th-century forefathers, Mr. Gilbert plays ball on the weekend, socializes with firefighters and is active in local politics.

Those seeking additional information may visit, call the museum at 860-868-7756 or

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