After all, he never took credit for it, and after his death Doubleday left a lot of papers and letters to his family. None of them ever mentioned baseball. So if Abner Doubleday didn't invent baseball, just who in the hell did? Well, if you were to ask a couple of Brits, they'd tell you it was author Jane Austen.
According to author Julian Norridge baseball originated in Britain, and part of his proof comes from a reference in Jane Austen's novel "Northanger Abbey."Another intriguing fact: The original title of Pride and Prejudice was Pride, Prejudice, and the Suicide Squeeze.
Norridge, whose book "Can we Have our Balls Back, Please?" focuses on Britain's role in writing the rulebooks for a long list of sports, says Austen mentioned baseball in the opening pages of "Northanger Abbey," which was written in 1797-98.
Norridge says that Austen referenced the sport while introducing her tomboy heroine Catherine Morland, writing: "It was not very wonderful that Catherine, who had nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, baseball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of 14, to books."
Okay, so Jane Austen didn't invent the game, but her book may be the earliest mention of the sport. Obviously if the book was written in 1797 that's 42 years before Doubleday supposedly invented the game, and the word baseball is clear as day in the book, so the English obviously knew what it was.
It's quite possible that baseball was played in England and that settlers who crossed the ocean brought the game with them, and it just didn't catch on for 40 years. Whatever the case may be, it's starting to look like baseball isn't really America's at all.