HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Brace yourself, baseball fans: Documents at auction appear to show that Alexander Cartwright, Honolulu's first fire chief, isn't the founder of America's favorite pasttime.
Cartwright is buried in Hawaii and every year, baseball fans make a pilgrimage to the site.
But the papers, titled "The Laws of Base Ball," raise questions about Cartwright's role: They lay out the rules of modern baseball a full three years earlier than the current recognized birth date.
"This is devastating news to some of us," says longtime Hawaii baseball analyst Pal Eldredge.
The documents are being called the birth certificate of the game and were recently turned over to California's SCP auction house. The auction house claims the owner of the manuscript had the papers in a drawer since purchasing the documents for $12,000 years ago.
The 1857 documents claim to have been written by "Doc" Adams and establish the basics of the game: The 90-foot base path, the nine innings and that nine players are on the field.
"How can two guys come up with the same idea unless they were together to figure it out?" asks Eldredge.
Adams, the owner of the documents, was the president of the New York Knickerboxers Club and Cartwright was part of that club.
There have been other clams to the title of the founder of baseball. Abner Doubleday was debated as the father of baseball years ago, but the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York honors Cartwright the title and his great-great-granddaughter, Ana Cartwright, is relieved to know that there are no plans to change that.
"There's always somebody stepping forth with some historical documents," she said. "Usually they're forged, and they come out later, even if authenticated, they pop out later (that) these aren't real after all."
According to the SCP auction house website, "The Laws of Base Ball" have been verified. In just one day, the bidding is at $146,410. Bidding ends in about two weeks.