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Missionaries, Cartwright, and Spalding: the development of baseball in nineteenth-century Hawaii.

The most extensive and reliable records available for the study of the development of baseball in nineteenth-century Hawaii are the contemporary accounts of games played between 1867 and 1890 as recorded in the local newspapers and Punahou School's newspapers and tally book. These records provide the dates and scores of the games; the names of the teams, players, and fields; and, occasionally, descriptions of the size of the crowds and the social events accompanying the games. In addition to these factual records, there is a short memoir written by W. R. Castle in 1924. which, while furnishing useful information about the early form of the game and its participants, is not as reliable. Finally, there are a number of modern journalistic articles on nineteenth-century baseball in Hawaii that, because they lack historical support for many of their "facts," often perpetuate myths, misconceptions, and misinformation.

What exists then is a crazy quilt of bits and pieces of factual information coupled with a fallible memoir and journalistic nostalgia. This essay will attempt to provide a cohesive treatment of the development of baseball in nineteenth- century Hawaii that will transcend the limitations of the records. However, it must be recognized from the outset that I will remain conjectural in those areas where gaps, ambiguities, inconsistencies, and improbabilities in the records prove insoluble.

To write this type of essay requires relating the records, such as they are, to the history of the period. With this method, it is possible to posit three influences on the development of baseball in Hawaii: (1) the coming of the Congregational missionaries in 1820 and their establishment of Punahou School, which became the center for the teaching and playing of baseball; (2) the arrival of New York baseball pioneer Alexander Cartwright in 1849 and his role as promoter of the game in the schools and community; and (3) the visit of the around-the-world baseball tour conducted by Albert Goodwill Spalding in 1888. Although these influences will be treated as separate categories, they are in fact closely related and continuous, spanning the seventy years from 1820 to 1890, the period that is the major focus of this essay.

One common thread among them is that they were exerted upon Hawaii by foreigners who visited or settled in the remote island kingdom. A second common element is created by the nexus between the missionaries, Punahou School, and baseball. The missionaries established Punahou to educate their children and to foster the creation of a new society in Hawaii dedicated to Protestantism and the American values of capitalism, competition, and progressivism. Their children learned these values and in the process developed baseball as a major recreational expression of them. After the graduates entered society, they engineered the political and economic changes that ultimately led to the annexation of Hawaii in 1898. Ironically, when the Spalding baseball tour attempted to play two games in Honolulu on Sunday, November 25, 1888, they were prevented from doing so by the blue laws, which had been created by the original missionaries and were now enforced by their descendants, who were primarily responsible for the develo pment of baseball and the invitation to Spalding to play in Hawaii.


The United Church of Christ sent more than 100 missionaries to Hawaii between 1820 and 1850. When the first missionary families arrived in the Islands, which at this time had a native population of about 140,000, their mission consisted of three aims: religion, education, and printing. (1) As the Instructions of the Foreign Missions to the Sandwich Islands declared:

You are to aim at... covering those islands with schools and churches;... raising up the... people to an elevated state of Christian civilization; ... [to] obtain an adequate knowledge of the language of the people; to make them acquainted with letters; to give them the Bible with skill to read it;... above all, to convert them from idolatries and superstitions and vices, to the living and redeeming God. (2)

One year before their arrival, King Kamehameha I had died, and his widow, Queen Kaahumanu, had broken the old religious system of kapu (taboo). Missionaries filled this vacuum with Christian instruction in the Hawaiian language. They also built churches and schools and discouraged native cultural practices, such as the hula, while introducing their own customs and amusements, including baseball.

The person usually credited with the introduction of the Massachusetts form of early baseball is Captain James H. Black, a Boston printer. (3) Although there is no real proof to validate this theory of origin, Black is said to have promoted the game by teaching the rules and providing the requisite equipment, with the result that, at the outset of the 1840s, baseball was established as a popular pastime. The game was adapted by Hawaiians, who called it kinipopo, which they played with bats made from kukui (candlenut) and hau (hibiscus) trees, sandbag bases, and rag balls. They also played other ball and bat games called aipuni. (4) So popular were these games that Orramel Gulick, a student at Punahou, declared that "bat and ball was the standard game of those halcyon days." (5) The Polynesian, the official government newspaper, also praised baseball as that "good old bat-and-ball [game], just the same as when we ran from the schoolhouse to the common to exercise our skill that way." (6)

The game flourished at Punahou School, which was established in 1841 for the children of missionaries, so that they would not have to return to New England for their education. The Rev. Hiram Bingham, the unofficial leader of the original missionaries, received 100 acres called Ka Punahou ("the new spring") from Queen Kaahumanu, and on this land the new school was built to "create a class of learned men ... amidst our Island institutions and associations, who will add vastly ... to our national strength, honor and respectability." (7) The students at Punahou were perceived as the foundation of "an Anglo-Saxon community at the Islands" and "the sheet anchor of our salvation." (8)

Daniel Dole, the school's first principal (1841-54), was a noted baseball enthusiast and player. His ability was praised by an appreciative student who described how Dole would throw a ball into the air and "with a swing of the whole body, would hit with the report of a pistol, sending it straight up into the air almost out of sight." (9) The school promoted baseball on campus and in the community, arranging match games with other schools and supporting town leagues. Punahou's encouragement of the game as a major recreational pastime resulted in the flowering of baseball in Hawaii from 1866 to 1890, a period that will be discussed in greater detail after Cartwright's influence in analyzed.

Alexander Joy Cartwright is considered an important baseball pioneer because he helped to create the New York Knickerbocker ball club in the 1840s and formulated rules for the version of the game that evolved into the national pastime. In March 1849, he left New York for the gold fields of California and on his cross-country journey became a kind of Johnny Appleseed for baseball by introducing the game to American Indians and settlers, as he recorded in his diary. (10) When he quickly grew disenchanted with California, he decided to sail home via China, but he disembarked in Honolulu at the end of August 1849 and soon determined to settle there permanently, bringing his family from New York in 1852.

In the next two decades, Cartwright not only prospered in shipping, whaling, insurance, and real estate but also became a community builder who helped to construct a new Hawaii. He was the organizer and first chief of the Honolulu Fire Department, one of the founders of the Queen's Hospital, organizer and president of the Honolulu Library and numismatics society, and founder of Masonic Lodge 21, among numerous other achievements. As a result of his business and legal acumen, he also served as financial advisor to five monarchs. (11)

Despite Cartwright's considerable presence in the political, economic, and legal sectors of Hawaii, there exists little evidence for his similar role in the development of baseball. Given his past experience as baseball pioneer and his staunch American values as evinced by his organizing Fourth of July celebrations and his refusing to become a Hawaiian citizen, it is likely that Cartwright did promote baseball. (12) However, history reveals only that he retained his interest in the game and passed that enthusiasm on to his sons. In a letter written on April 6, 1865, to his old Knickerbocker friend Charles DeBost, Cartwright exclaims, "I have in my possession the original ball with which we used to play on Murray Hill. Many is the pleasant chase I have had after it on... the sunny plains in Honolulu." (13)

In his Reminiscences, W. R. Castle describes baseball at Punahou in the 1860s and provides mixed evidence for the importance of Cartwright's influence. Castle remarks that

I used to have a good deal of business with Mr. Cartwright and while in his office one day... he surprised me by saying that he was an old ballplayer. ... However, his interest seemed as keen and alive as ever and I remember seeing him out at Punahou several times, watching the play as it had been recently introduced. He commented on some new features or different methods of playing from those he had learned as a New Yorker. (14)

It is surprising that Castle, who depicts himself as the introducer of the newer form of the game to Hawaii, would not be aware that Cartwright was a baseball pioneer. We may assume that if Cartwright's influence on Hawaiian baseball had been known, then Castle would have attested to this fact. But he confirms only that Cartwright retained his enthusiasm for the game. Moreover, if Cartwright had been instrumental in introducing the New York version to the Islands, then presumably Castle would not have written that the older town ball was the only version being played until he returned from Oberlin College. Finally, if Cartwright had kept up with the game, he should not have been surprised by its innovations. The paradoxes raised by Castle's remarks indicate either that Cartwright's influence on baseball in Hawaii was not as important as it has been said to be or that Castle's memoir is not entirely trustworthy.

Although Cartwright's role as developer of baseball in Hawaii is not documented in nineteenth-century sources, it is accepted as gospel in almost all modern journalistic accounts and in Harold Peterson's biography. (15) Cartwright and his son are said to have laid out the dimensions of a baseball field in 1852 at the Makiki Recreation Park, which, in 1938, was renamed Cartwright Field in his honor. (16) His son's name is never mentioned in these accounts, but he must have been De Witt Robinson, his first son (1843-1870), who arrived in Honolulu in 1852 with his mother and two sisters after a journey around Cape Horn. (17)

Cartwright's last two children, his sons Bruce and Allie, were born in Hawaii and attended Punahou from 1864 to 1869. There are contemporary references to their participation in the game. The Punahou Reporter recounts the minutes for the meeting of the Whangdoodle Base Bail Club--composed of Punahou students and graduates--on May 14, 1872, in which the club announces that it expects the Cartwright brothers to resume their ball playing when they return from school in the United States. In the following year, Allie is listed in the Punahou tally book as the captain of the club. (18) Further, the box score from the Hawaiian Gazette of August 18, 1875, records Allie as the Whangdoodle second baseman who scored 2 runs in a 11-10 loss to the Pacifics. Bruce is mentioned as a member of the Married Men's Baseball Club in 1884, and, finally, at the annual meeting of the Hawaiian Base Ball League on March 10, 1886, Bruce was chosen as one of the official scorers for the upcoming season. (19)

In sum, it may be concluded that, although there is no conclusive evidence of Cartwright's definitive role as pioneer of baseball in Hawaii, he must have furthered its development. His importance as a businessperson and legal and financial advisor to the monarchy, his continued enthusiasm for baseball, Castle's memoir, and his sons' participation in the game attest to his influence. Perhaps the story about his laying out the diamond with his son at Makiki Field is a "creation myth," as Stephen Jay Gould has labeled the Doubleday origin of the game, but it nevertheless reveals a continuing insistence on the importance of Cartwright's role in the development of baseball in Hawaii. (20)


The influence of Punahou and Alexander Cartwright as promoters of baseball resulted in its flourishing between 1866 and 1890. The game's growing popularity resulted in the creation of league play and match games, an increase in the number of ball fields, and innovations in the rules, equipment, tally book, and box scores, which appeared in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, the Hawaiian Gazette, and the Punahou Mirror, Reporter. The names of the players and officials contained in these accounts constitute a veritable honor roll of descendants of the original missionaries and successful white settlers who attended Punahou and then rose to economic and political prominence, including William D. Alexander, Erdman Baldwin, Charles Baldwin, James Castle, W. R. Castle, Clarence Cooke, Willie Damon, Charles Gulick, Allan Wickes Judd, Charles Judd, Willie Kinney, Freddie Smith, Lorrin A. Thurston, Robert Thurston, and Harry M. Whitney Jr. (21)

During this period, the foreign population of Hawaii increased from 4,000 to 49,000, and the native population decreased from 58,000 to 40,000. (22) Although Punahou's enrollment grew slowly, only tripling its initial enrollment of thirty-four pupils by 1880, its influence on the changing community went far beyond its numbers. (23) Richard Henry Dana, the author of Two Years Before the Mast and a visitor to Hawaii in 1860, described how Punahou extended its system of excellence by sending its graduates to mainland colleges, where they not only were trained to be future teachers at Punahou but also attracted prestigious recruits to teach there. (24) One illustrious mainland recruit was William H. Chickering, who came to Hawaii in 1871 to teach the classics. He had played shortstop for Amherst College, and at Punahou he served as umpire and catcher for both teams, as well as joining the Whangdoodles, "a downtown club composed of Punahou boys, old and new [,which] [u]ntil 1875 ... kept up the record of never lo sing a game." For his encouragement of baseball, Chickering "might ... be called the 'father' of baseball in Honolulu." (25)

In his Reminiscences, W. R. Castle attests to the central role Punahou played in the development of baseball. Castle was the son of pioneer lay missionary Samuel N. Castle, who also founded the firm of Castle and Cooke, which became one of the Big Five corporations that controlled the sugar industry in Hawaii. W. R. Castle attended Punahou from 1860 to 1864 and then went to Oberlin College for two years. When he returned to Hawaii in 1866, he introduced the New York version to the Punahou "'Baseball club'... [which] continued ... for many years and ... was the model for baseball throughout ... Hawaii." (26) To mark the establishment of the "new" game,

[a] home base was cast by "the Foundry" for the club. It was of iron ... about fourteen or fifteen inches wide, circular in form with three or four sturdy iron legs.... [I]t... became a distinctive mark of the Punahou Base Ball Club known as the "Punahou Base." (27)

When he traveled to the other Hawaiian Islands in 1869, Castle attended games played with enthusiasm and skill by residents who called baseball "the gift of Punahou." (28) Arthur Alexander, who attended Punahou from 1872 to 1882, continues the narrative of how baseball developed at the school in his Diary published in 1906. He was the son of William Dewitt Alexander, president of Punahou from 1864 to 1871 and a baseball enthusiast who often served as umpire and official scorer. While going through his father's papers, Arthur Alexander discovered the Punahou tally book kept by Henry Poor from 1869 to 1875, with some entries made in 1878. The book describes how the students at Punahou formed two teams to play against each other for a few innings each day and kept a cumulative weekly tally of the runs scored. At the end of each week, the daily scores were added together to make a grand total and "[t]wo new nines were then chosen and a new series of games... begun." (29) They used a lively rubber ball but had no mitts, masks, or body protectors.

In 1866, an official league was created composed of the Pacifics and the Pioneers, who were joined in a few years by the Whangdoodles, Pensacolas, and Athletics. At the first organizational meeting on June 1, 1866, the original teams adopted the regulations of the California National Baseball Convention. (30) Future meetings were held at various firehouses, perhaps reflecting Cartwright's influence on the organization of the league. Rules were enforced, fines levied, and sometimes teams disbanded, with their members joining other teams or forming new ones.

Such an occurrence took place on May 27, 1875, when questions about the suitability of the Whangdoodles' name led to a meeting at Fire Engine Company #1. The Punahou Reporter remarked that some people thought the name was "not a suitable one for such dignified young gentlemen as themselves, their narrow understanding probably not permitting them to see the hidden but elegant meaning." (31) We may wonder at the "hidden but elegant meaning," but evidently the discontented members were upset enough to attempt to create their own team. The meeting was jammed to capacity with interested members of the community. However, when the chairman "politely requested all those not intending to join the club to retire," the crowd stampeded out the door, leaving only six potential players, who elected to join the Pacifics instead of forming a new team.

The game between the Pioneers and the Pacifics on August 24, 1867, is generally considered the first to be reported and to have its box score recorded in a local newspaper, the Hawaiian Gazette. The game was played on the Punahou ball field at 3:00 P.M.; businesses closed an hour before game time to accommodate spectators. One hundred women in carriages were said to have attended the game along with an overflow crowd of men, who saw the Pacifics win 11-9 in a 9-inning contest that took one hour and forty-five minutes. Lunch was provided under tents after the first game, which was followed by a second game with players drawn at random from both teams. The Hawaiian Gazette reported that "the balance of the afternoon was filled with this exhilarating sport." (32)

A number of players in this game attended Punahou between 1855 and 1874 and were members of important missionary and mercantile families. Pacifics pitcher Charles Gulick was the nephew of missionary Peter J. Gulick and later served as the minister of the interior for Queen Liliuokalani. Pioneers catcher Allan W. Judd was the son of Gerrit Parmele Judd, the medical missionary and advisor to the Hawaiian monarchy. Pioneers center fielder Harry M. Whitney Jr. was the grandson of original missionary Samuel Whitney and son of HarryM. Whitney, who in 1856 founded the Pacific Commercial Advertiser and in 1873 acquired the Hawaiian Gaete. (33) Also playing for the Pioneers, at shortstop, was J. H. Black, the putative introducer of baseball to Hawaii.

As baseball became established in the community, its social and recreational values were applauded. The Hawaiian Gazette declared that baseball was invaluable for the creation of "health, that article more desirable than wealth." (34) The newspaper also recommended that in the off-season the teams establish a "Gymnasium and Reading Society," which "for an evening resort for the young men of Honolulu would tend to do much good." (35) In 1875, when baseball enjoyed a resurgence after a one-year decline, the Gazette hoped "that this method of physical culture will not die out but that... it will not only interest and provide amusement to our citizens but also be a benefit and improvement to our young men." (36)

The popularity of baseball was also demonstrated by the scheduling of match games between the Whangdoodles and sailors, the infantry and cavalry on King Kamehameha Day, and interisland teams. The Whangdoodles won 2 games, one at the end of 1871 by the whopping score of 88-43 against the Mariners, a team composed of the officers and sailors from the whaling fleet that had been shipwrecked in the Arctic Ocean. (37)

In 1875 on King Kamehameha Day (June 6), a baseball game between the Hawaiian infantry and cavalry took place. The holiday had been established in 1871 by King Kamehameha V to honor his grandfather King Kamehameha I, the "Napoleon of the Pacific." The sporting events at the earlier celebrations of this holiday consisted primarily of horse, foot, and bicycle races, and the inclusion of baseball in 1875 indicates its increased importance in Hawaii. (38) Six days after this event, King Kalakaua, perhaps as a result of the influence of Cartwright, who was his financial advisor, became the first Hawaiian monarch to attend a game. It was played between the Athletes and the Pensacolas and lasted over three hours before being stopped for darkness in the sixth inning, with the score 38-33 in favor of the Athletes. The Hawaiian Gazette added an unintentional irony when it concluded that the teams "showed great skill and were apparently pretty closely matched." (39)

Baseball was also played by female students at Punahou. With the advent of bloomers, women felt emboldened to play the game. Julie Judd and Carrie Castle, members of illustrious missionary and mercantile families, played in 3 games in 1875. A game early in the year lasted only 2 innings, ending in a 6-6 tie. The second game, on May 8, lasted three hours, with the score 34 for Punahou and 16 for the Royal School, which was established in 1839 for the education of alii (royal) children. In the third game, on November i8, Julie Judd's team lost in a close 43-40, 7-inning contest. The scorekeeper was so impressed with the score that he added a "bully for you" after the 43.40

The first interisland game took place in Honolulu on October 27, 1883, with the Honolulu Athletic Club beating the Sprecklesville team of Maui 33-16. (41) Challenge games for money also were introduced. The Amity team, which had changed their name, quite understandably, from the Kackiachs, issued a $100 challenge to the Honolulu team. After the sum was reduced to $50, the game was played on August 25, 1883, but the Amities--down 24-1--quit after 7 innings. (42)

As the popularity of baseball spread throughout the community, both attendance and the number of fields available for play increased. Women would attend games on horseback, and some fans arrived in carriages. So many new spectators came to see the games at Makiki Reserve that in June 1884 a new and larger attendance stand was erected to accommodate them. (43) At this time, nine fields, representing a geographical spectrum of playing areas within and without the boundaries of what then constituted the city of Honolulu, were used: Punahou Field, the Esplanade behind the Custom House, the field on the grounds where Central Union Church now stands in central Honolulu, Makiki Reserve, the area behind historic Kawaihao Church, and the fields on the prison and parade grounds.

Along with the increase in attendance and ball fields, several innovations in the game were introduced. In 1878, in a match game between Punahon and the Royal School, which was won by Punahou 36-6, the Punahou catcher Charles Baldwin "played up behind the bat, which was something new in Honolulu." Also, he used a homemade mitt with extra padding and the finger tips cutoff. (44)

Uniforms were worn by both teams for the first time in a game between the Honolulu team and the Oceanics on October 6, 1883. The Oceanics, who lost 10-6. donned uniforms consisting of a white suit, with a large monogram "0" painted in red on silk and pinned to the breast, a white cap trimmed with red, and a red belt. (45) Teams were photographed for the first time in a game on September 19, 1885, when the Honolulu team defeated the Oceanics 11-10. (46)

William Wall, who pitched for the Oceanics in the 1880s, claimed that he was the first to throw a curve ball in the Islands, in a game against the Married Men in 1883. Wall said he learned how to pitch from a Spanish man in Eureka, California, and after he returned to Hawaii, he threw the curve ball even though batters signaled for the pitch they wanted. (47)

Wall was very effective with his new pitch when he struck out seventeen batters in a game on July 4, 1884, which was the first to have a complete box score published in the newspaper. Seven categories were recorded in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser: runs scored, outs made, runners left on base, base hits, put-outs, assists, and errors. The Oceanics defeated the Honolulu team 3-2 in what was called the "best [game] ever played on this ground," despite the fact that 13 errors were made. The game featured prominent Punahou graduates and officials, including Erdy Baldwin, Charles Baldwin, William Kinney, Harry M. Whitney Jr, James Castle (umpire), William D. Alexander (scorer), and Lorrin A. Thurston. (48) Thurston, the grandson of pioneer missionary Asa Thurston, was named minister of the interior in 1887 and in 1900 became publisher of the Honolulu Advertiser. (49)

The best way to summarize this period of growth for baseball is to recapitulate the 1885 season, which epitomized the establishment of regular league play by the teams of this era. The season consisted of 28 games, in which 402 runs were scored. The three teams finished in this order: Oceanics 7-3, Honolulus 5-4, and Married Men 2-7. The league began on May 23 with four teams, but the inept Pacifics dropped out or were asked to leave at the end of July. Two doubleheaders were played on July 4, and a game took place every Saturday except September 5, when rain stopped play in the second inning. The season ended on September 19, with the Honolulus and the Oceanics playing the last of the 3 games in the championship series. Although the Honolulus were victorious 11-10, the Oceanics won the pennant with their superior overall record. (50)

The steady growth of league play in Honolulu set the stage for the culminating event in the history of baseball in nineteenth-century Hawaii--the arrival of the globe-trotting Chicago White Stockings and the All-American teams. Albert Goodwill Spalding, president of the Chicago White Stockings, organized the world tour of 1888-89, which visited five continents, fifteen countries, and fifty cities in six months, playing 53 games of 4 or more innings before 200,000 people. (51) Exuberantly described by its chronicler Henry Palmer as "the greatest, most successful, and most noteworthy tour ever attempted in the history of athletics," the tour departed Chicago on the evening of October 20 in two lavishly equipped Pullman sleepers and a dining car. (52) Spalding called the touring players "baseball missionaries" who would show "to all the world that one may be...a professional ball player and a gentleman"; therefore, he chose only "men of clean habits and attractive personality,...who would reflect credit upon the country and the game." (53)

The teams traveled across the United States, playing games in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Omaha, Des Moines, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. They were scheduled to leave San Francisco for Honolulu on November 17 at 2:00 P.M., but the departure was delayed to complete their last game. They then intended to arrive in Honolulu at 6 A.M. on Saturday, November 24. (54)

Preparations for their arrival had been arranged by the chairman of the welcoming committee, George W. Smith, Spalding's cousin and a leading businessperson of Honolulu. The committee consisted primarily of prominent citizens who had attended Punahou and played baseball: Charles T. Wilder, G. K. Wilder, John Lucas, Harry M. Whitney Jr., James W. Robertson, and William Kinney. (55) Profiles of the arriving star players had been published in the daily papers, business was to be suspended at noon on Saturday, and the teams were scheduled to play a game at 1:00 P.M. before 1,000 fans at Makiki Field, which had been enlarged by the addition of a grandstand holding about 800 people. In addition, the winner of the first game would play a second game against a local team. (56)

When the ship did not arrive on Saturday, the people who had gathered at the Oceanic steamer dock to greet the tour hoped that the teams would come on Monday, so that the Sunday blue law would be avoided. Unfortunately, the royal mail steamer Alameda arrived on Sunday at 5:30 A.M. The players were garlanded with leis, and after a sumptuous tropical breakfast at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, they journeyed to Iolani Palace, where they met King Kalakaua in a royal procession. (57)

However, the pleasantries turned sour when the decision was made that the blue law against Sunday sports would be honored. At the outset of the tour, Spalding had declared that he would respect the laws of each country visited, and he remained true to his word by obeying the Hawaiian blue law, despite the fact that he generally supported Sunday baseball. (58) In an effort to bypass the law, a petition was signed by 1,000 people, who also contributed money to pay any fines, but Spalding still refused to overrule the law: "President Spalding...adhered to his first decision, though when the fact was made known at the hotel, the crowd gave vent to its disappointment...declaring that they would make an issue of the Sunday question at the next election." (59)

That night, despite the prevailing disappointment, the players were treated to a grand luau at the queen's home. The king was a gracious host, allowing the players to call him "Kally" and revealing that his personal soothsayer had helped him win a bet on the presidential election. Kalakaua had wanted the games to go on, but he was overruled by the powerful missionary element, which, as Monte Ward complained, also deprived the players of seeing hula dancers. (60)

When Spalding later reviewed the baseball scene he had encountered in Hawaii, he saluted the progress baseball had made there:

We found at Honolulu that they had four established clubs; that baseball was well under way and fully appreciated. If it had not been for an accident in reaching them on Sunday, we would have had the largest crowd in Honolulu of any of our games since we left home. (61)

As a token of his esteem for the Islands, Spalding donated a silver cup to be awarded to the team winning the Hawaiian Baseball Association championship three years in a row. (62) Despite the missed connections, Spalding's visit strengthened Hawaii's interest in baseball and also led to the creation of junior leagues. As Thrum's Almanac and Annual put it: "The American national game has evidently come to stay." (63)

As if in confirmation of this prediction, 1890 was a banner year for the Hawaiian Baseball Association. The Department of the Interior gave the league official status when it formally approved its charter. (64) In addition, the association went commercial, selling stocks to the public; Alexander Cartwright, appropriately enough, bought the first five. (65) Finally, an All-Star team from California under the direction of Frank Hoggs arrived to play a 7-game series with local teams. Overflow crowds attended the games and enjoyed the proceedings, despite the fact that the California team won every game by such scores as 20-1 and 11-2. Saluting the significance of this visit, the Paradise of the Pacific declared: "Mr. Frank Hoggs... will be remembered as supplying the public here with its first lessons in California baseball playing. . . by the troduction of a professional team here last fall." (66)


In addition to strengthening the popularity of baseball in Hawaii, the visit of the Spalding missionaries produced a number of ironies that had political and historical repercussions for Hawaii, baseball, and Alexander Cartwright. The political ironies arose from the tense situation in 1888 created by the growing domination of Hawaii by the United States. This process can be said to have begun with the arrival of New England missionaries in 1820. Three years later, the missionaries established the Sunday blue laws, an essential part of their so-called civilizing program. (67) By the middle of the nineteenth century, with the missionaries firmly entrenched in Hawaii, the United States viewed the Islands as an important sphere of influence over which it exercised growing political and economic control. In 1842, President Tyler declared that the United States was more interested in Hawaii than any other foreign country could be. The twin aims of American imperialism in Hawaii during the next three decades became the establishment of a reciprocal trade agreement and the annexation of the Islands.

In 1875, King Kalakaua signed the Reciprocity Treaty, which allowed Hawaiian sugar into the U.S. duty free. Twelve years later, when the United States wanted Pearl Harbor in exchange for this treaty's extension, the king refused. As a result of his intransigence, Kalakaua was forced to sign the Bayonet Constitution by the Hawaiian League, a reform group representing American economic and political concerns. The effects of the new constitution were to strip the king of almost all of his royal powers and to place the legislature and cabinet under the power of hack (white) sugar interests. Finally, in 1888, the Council of 13, the executive committee of the Hawaiian League, ruled that the military forces would no longer be controlled by the king.

It is ironic that when Spalding's "missionaries" arrived in Hawaii as the representatives of the American game, they were prevented from playing because of a law originally created by American missionaries and enforced now by their descendants, who were inexorably moving toward the overthrow of the monarchy and the annexation of Hawaii. Two of the leaders of the Hawaiian League, W. R. Castle and Lorrin A. Thurston, had contributed to the development of baseball in Hawaii and bad encouraged Spalding and his missionaries to make Hawaii their first foreign destination. (68) Nevertheless, they supported the enforcement of the blue law as a political act of defiance against King Kalakaua, who wanted the games to be played, although he was at the same time opposed to the increased Americanization of Hawaii. This conflict reveals that baseball had become important enough to be politicized by the struggle between the king and the white power structure.

The final irony of the visit of the baseball missionaries is the effect that it had on the historical assessment of Cartwright's role in the game's development. In all the newspaper accounts of Spalding's arrival, there was no mention of a meeting between the two pioneers of early baseball. In America's National Game, published in 1911, Spalding remarked that "Cartwright ... was one of the devotees of Base Ball disappointed by ... the failure of the ... 'Alameda' to make schedule time." (69) Seemingly, there was every reason for Cartwright to be at the various activities involving the visiting teams, but his participation was not publicized as it would no doubt be today. Harold Peterson got the situation almost entirely wrong when he wrote that the teams never arrived in Honolulu to play the scheduled games:

Ironically if they had landed and played, the future Chicago Cubs ... would have found themselves greeted by their game's forgotten founder. Perhaps his role would have been thoroughly rediscovered. Perhaps not. Cartwright was a very modest man. (70)

However, the teams did arrive, and Cartwright and Spalding did meet, but history did not change: baseball became the national pastime and the Abner Doubleday myth of its origin was established and Cartwright's contribution diminished.

The myth began to take shape two days after the teams arrived home on April 8, 1889, at the Delmonico's banquet in New York, where 300 prominent citizens gathered to lionize Spalding and his players and to celebrate baseball's American origin. In his famous prose poem about Hawaii, Mark Twain amused the audience by declaring that the aggressive spirit of baseball was inimical to the indolence of Hawaiians, who lacked the order and vigor necessary for the right performance of the game:

And these boys have played baseball there--baseball, which is the very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive and push and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century! ... The place and the fact are so incongruous. ... Why there is no possible kinship between baseball and the Sandwich Islands! Baseball is all fact, the islands are all sentiment. (71)

Admittedly, Twain was being humorously hyperbolic, but his remarks had the effect of depicting Hawaii as a lotus land that did not have the energy and direction to play the aggressive American game correctly. Twain's satire epitomized the opinion of the contemporary baseball historians: by moving to the far-away island kingdom, Cartwright had in effect obscured his contribution to the development of baseball.

Perhaps Cartwright's personality also served to undercut his stature as a pioneer. When he died on July 12, 1892, an elaborate funeral procession was conducted to honor him, but no mention was made of his baseball activities in New York and Hawaii in his obituaries. (72) Although Cartwright certainly was public-spirited and achieved a great deal of power behind the scenes, he never attempted to hold public office or to publicize his achievements. If Cartwright had foreseen the debate over baseball's origin, he might have been more assertive about his role. As his great-grandson William Cartwright said: "Could great grandfather have foreseen the development of his game to such proportions, I am sure he would have clearly set down for generations all the details of the beginnings of this sport and saved many historians a great deal of conjecture." (73)

In 1908, Spalding's handpicked commission, headed by A. G. Mills, former president of the National League, declared that baseball had been invented by Abner Doubleday in 1839 in Cooperstown, New York. (74) Peterson has pointed out that Spalding gave Cartwright some credit in his early sports guides but later belittled his role because Cartwright obviously had improved rounders to develop baseball, an idea that Spalding did not wish to accept. (75) However, in 1909, Bruce Cartwright wrote Spalding about his father's activities with the Knickerbockers and in Hawaii, and in America's National Game, Spalding included a belated salute to Cartwright as a major influence on the development of baseball:

This worthy man...had a history contemporaneous with that of the birth and development of the game he so greatly admired. He had been present when the game was born. He had a part in its first organization. He had witnessed its progress throughout the years of its evolution and had seen it adopted not only as the national pastime but the favorite sport of the capital city of that far-off island of the Pacific which he had adopted as his home. (76)

Despite Spalding's recognition, when the newly created Baseball Hall of Fame was planning to honor the centennial of baseball by inducting famous players and pioneers, Cartwright was not included. But his grandson Bruce Cartwright Jr. sent the Hall of Fame committee proof of his grandfather's importance, and Cartwright was inducted during the week of June 12, 1939. (77) In Honolulu at this time, a replica of his Cooperstown plaque was presented a a local ball game, a graveside service honoring him was held, and the induction ceremony was broadcast on radio. A full-page newspaper ad saluting Cartwright "as beloved kamaaina [native] and founder of baseball" proclaimed the relationship between baseball and America and Hawaii: "National Base Ball Week Is Being Celebrated by Fans all over America. Here in Hawaii, the National Game Has Taken Hold in a Manner That Serves as Much as Any Other to Indicate the True spirit of our Americanism." (78)

Two months after these festivities, Cartwright Day was celebrated on August 26 throughout the Islands. Cartwright had finally received his due, and the centennial anniversary of the introduction of baseball to Hawaii in 1839 was celebrated as well. But, in addition to Cartwright, the people of Hawaii should have saluted Punahou for its essential role in the development of baseball in nineteenth-century Hawaii.


(1.) Ralph S. Kuykendall, The Hawaiian Kingdom 1778-1854 Foundation and Transformation, 3 vols. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1947), vol. 1, p. 336.

(2.) Kuykendall, The Hawaiian Kingdom, vol. 1, pp. 101-2.

(3.) Richard Gima, "National Heritage Has Rich Heritage in the Territory," Star Bulletin, July 15, 1948, p. 13.

(4.) Mary C. Alexander and Charlotte P. Dodge, Punahou 1841-1941 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1941), p. 117; William R. Castle, Reminiscences (Honolulu: Advertiser Publishing, 1960), p. 51.

(5.) Quoted in Alexander and Dodge, Punahou, p. 118.

(6.) Quoted in Bailey S. Marshall, "Baseball in Paradise," Paradise of the Pacific 51 (June 1939): p. 21.

(7.) Kuykendall, The Hawaiian Kingdom, vol. 1, p. 367.

(8.) Quoted in Alexander and Dodge, Punahou, p. 177.

(9.) Quoted in Alexander and Dodge, Punahou, p. 198.

(10.) Harold Peterson, The Man Who Invented Baseball (New York: Charles Scribner and Sons, 1969), p. 103.

(11.) Peterson, The Man, pp. 171-72.

(12.) Gavan Daws, Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian Islands (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1968), p. 184.

(13.) Quoted in Peterson, The Man, p. 175.

(14.) Castle, Reminiscences, pp. 51-52.

(15.) Edwin N. McClellan, "Baseball in Hawaii," Forecast 13 (September 1954): pp. 8, 22; Frank Boardman, "Honolulu Man Who Began the Great National Game: Alexander Joy Cartwright, the Father of Baseball," Pacific Commercial Advertiser, June 5,1910, F1, F8; S. Furukawa, "Originator of Organized Baseball," Paradise of the Pacific (May 1947): p. 24; Peterson, The Man, pp. 172-73.

(16.) "Park Renamed to Honor Cartwright, Father of Baseball," Star Bulletin 7 (September 1938): p. 9.

(17.) Hawaii State Archives, Cartwright File M-24#67.

(18.) Arthur Alexander, "Baseball at Punahou Thirty-Seven Years Ago," Oahuan (June 1906): pp. 25-27.

(19.) "Local and General News," Pacific Commercial Advertiser, August 19, 1884, p. 3.

(20.) Stephen Jay Gould, "The Creation Myths of Cooperstown or Why the Cardiff Giants Are an Unbeatable and Appropriately Named Team," in Writing Baseball, ed. Jerry Klinkowitz (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991), pp. 25-29.

(21.) Punahou School Directory: A Catalogue of Trustees, Officers of Administration and Instruction, Students, First Classes and Graduating Classes, 1841-1934 (Honolulu, 1935). I am indebted to this invaluable directory for the dates of attendance for Punahou's illustrious students.

(22.) Ralph Kuykendall and A. Grove Day, Hawaii: A History from Polynesian Kingdom to American Statehood, rev. ed. (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1976), pp. 77, 306.

(23.) Alexander and Dodge, Punahou, p. 288.

(24.) The Hawaiian Islands, Their Progress and Condition under Missionary Labors (1865), quoted in Hawaiian Literary Chronicle, ed. W. Storrs Lee (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1967), pp. 234-35.

(25.) Alexander, "Baseball at Punahou," p. 26; Alexander and Dodge, Punahou, pp. 301-6.

(26.) Castle, Reminiscences, p. 51.

(27.) Castle, Reminiscences, pp. 51-52.

(28.) Castle, Reminiscences, p. 52.

(29.) Alexander, "Baseball at Punahou," p. 25.

(30.) Hawaiian Gazette, August 28, 1867, p. 3.

(31.) Punahou Reporter, May 27, 1875, sec. 1, p. 4.

(32.) Hawaiian Gazette, August 27, 1867, p. 3.

(33.) A. Grove Day, A Biographical Dictionary: History Makers of Hawaii (Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1984), p. 126.

(34.) Hawaiian Gazette, May 27, 1867, p. 3.

(35.) Hawaiian Gazette, August 28, 1867, p. 3.

(36.) Hawaiian Gazette, May 19, 1875, p. 3.

(37.) Alexander and Dodge, Punahou, p. 302.

(38.) Jeff Nicolay, "Kamehameha," TV Week, Star Bulletin/Honolulu Advertiser, May 31 June 6, 1992, p. 1.

(39.) Hawaiian Gazette, June 16, 1875, p. 3.

(40.) Alexander and Dodge, Punahou, pp. 324-25.

(41.) "Battle of Baseballers: Meeting of Honolulu and Sprecklesville on the Diamond," Hawaiian Gazette, October 31, 1883, p. 3.

(42.) "Baseball," Pacific Commercial Advertiser, August 25, 1983, p. 3.

(43.) Pacific Commercial Advertiser, June 14, 1884, p. 3.

(44.) Alexander, "Baseball at Punahou," p. 27; William Peet, "First Curve Pitcher Recalls Isle Veterans," Honolulu Advertiser, October 23, 1938, p. 3.

(45.) "The Oceanics vs Honolulus," Pacific Commercial Advertiser, October 8, 1883, p.3.

(46.) "Baseball," Pacific Commercial Advertiser, September 21, 1885, p. 3.

(47.) Peet, "First Curve Pitcher," p. 3.

(48.) Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 8, 1884, p. 7.

(49.) Day, A Biographical Dictionary, pp. 121-22.

(50.) "Retrospect of the Season," Pacific Commercial Advertiser, September 21, 1885, p. 3.

(51.) Henry Clay Palmer, Athletic Sports in America, England, and Australia (Philadelphia: Hubbard Brothers, 1889), p. 708.

(52.) Palmer, Athletic Sports, p. 708.

(53.) Albert G. Spalding, America's National Game (New York: American Sports Publishing, 1911), pp. 252, 265.

(54.) "Arrangements for the Reception of the Ball-Players and Games," Daily Bulletin, November 23, 1888, p. 3.

(55.) "Sporting Matters," Hawaiian Gazette, October 30, 1885, p. 5; Palmer, Athletic Sports, p. 206.

(56.) Untitled and undated article in the Albert Spalding Scrapbooks, vol. 8, p. 61.

(57.) Palmer, Athletic Sports, p. 214.

(58.) Spalding, America's National Game, p. 256.

(59.) Palmer, Athletic Sports, p. 213.

(60.) John Montgomery Ward, "Ball Tossers at Sea," Albert Spalding Scrapbooks, vol. 8, pp. 46-60.

(61.) Quoted in Palmer, Athletic Sports, p. 451.

(62.) "Chicago to Hawaii: The Spalding Baseball Trophy and Acceptance," Paradise of the Pacific 3 (December 1890): p. 6; "Baseball Challenge Cup," New York Sporting Times, January 10, 1891, p. 6.

(63.) "Retrospect for Year 1889," Thrum's Almanac and Annual (1890), p. 101.

(64.) "To G. K. Wilder from Minister of Interior Approving Hawaii Baseball Association," Hawaii State Archives, Department of Interior, bk. 45, p. 21, stack 4 (5-22-1890).

(65.) Robert E. Van Dyke, "Alexander Joy Cartwright," Coins 8 (October1964): p. 24.

(66.) "Ball Tossers in Paradise," Paradise of the Pacific 3 (December 1890): p. 6.

(67.) Daws, Shoal of Time, p. 72. For the subsequent account of the growth of American power in Hawaii, I am indebted to Daws, Shoal of Time, pp. 61-255.

(68.) McClellan, "Baseball in Hawaii," pp. 8, 22.

(69.) Spalding, America's National Game, p. 53.

(70.) Peterson, The Man, p. 173.

(71.) Quoted in Walter Frear, Mark Twain and Hawaii (Chicago: Lakeside Press, 1947), p. 220.

(72.) The Friend 50 (August 1892): 61; Hawaiian Gazette, July 19, 1892, p. 9; Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 13, 1892, p. 1.

(73.) "Cartwright Memorial Unveiled at the Stadium," Honolulu Advertiser, June 12, 1939, p. 12.

(74.) For an excellent account of the suspect scholarship of the Mills Commission, see James A. Vlasich, A Legend for the Legendary: The Origin of the Baseball Hall of Fame (Bowling Green OH: Bowling Green State Press, 1990), pp. 18--23 and passim.

(75.) Peterson, The Man, p. 178.

(76.) Spalding, America's National Game, p. 53.

(77.) "Baseball Hall of Fame Niche Voted Alexander Cartwright," Honolulu Advertiser, October 4, 1938, p. 2. Vlasich's A Legend for the Legendary (pp. 130--50) contains an excellent discussion of the negotiations between the Hall of Fame and Bruce Cartwright Jr. from 1935 to 1938.

(78.) Honolulu Advertiser, June 12, 1939, p. 8.

Frank Ardolino is a professor of English at the University of Hawaii.
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