“Father of Army Baseball”

Yeah, sure. After all, General Doubleday invented the game. Not. The following quotation is from the 2009 Army Black Knights Baseball Media Guide; the same words are in the 2010 guide and may be in other editions.

Doubleday Field had its birth in 1909 when games were first contested on its present site. Thirty years later, upon the centennial celebration of baseball, the playing field was named in honor of Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday, popularly known as the “Father of Army Baseball.”

The stadium itself was dedicated in 1997 in honor of the family of Rupert H. Johnson (USMA ’21), whose generosity helped enable the Doubleday Society to give the then-87-year-old facility a grand new look.

Johnson Field

Discovered this while trying to find information about Johnson, whose name generally makes a token unexplicated appearance whenever West Point’s ballyard, Johnson Stadium at Doubleday Field, is mentioned (I consider the Doubleday part pretty obvious, albeit discouraging). I learned that R.H. Johnson also graduated from Hardin-Simmons University (then Simmons College; link’s an odd news story with Johnson as the partial subject) in Abilene, they say in ’22, and was the instigator behind Franklin Templeton Investments, which remains the family business.

The 11/29/1940 Dallas Evening News (my thanks to GenealogyBank) tells me that his military career began during WWI, as an enlisted Artillery man, before his West Point stint. At the USMA he was quite active in sports, including baseball; he captained Army’s basketball team. Johnson subsequently served for a few years as a ROTC instructor in the NYC area before resigning his commission to enter the banking business on Wall Street. In 1929 he founded R.H. Johnson & Company, and in 1947 began Franklin Investments.

Perhaps-interesting trivia: Johnson’s great-grandfather was former US president Andrew Johnson….

I was originally looking up something about Doubleday. I’m reading John Thorn’s delightful Baseball in the Garden of Eden, which set me to wondering about Theosophy. This is not one of Wikipedia’s better efforts, I must say, but it does mention Doubleday.

Photo courtesy of West Point Public Affairs via Flickr.

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