It's a great day to celebrate one's heroes
Honolulu, HI (PRWEB) April 09, 2012
Alexander Joy Cartwright, IV, Great Great Grandson of Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr. will be in Honolulu on April 17th, 2012 for the birthday celebration of his ancestor. This is organized each year by a group of loyal Cartwright fans, in memory of Cartwright’s great accomplishments in Hawaii and for Baseball in it's entirety. Along with Alex will be his publicist Kyle Sommerfield of Albuquerque, NM. His cousins Robert Cartwright of San Diego CA., and Godfather Orby Groves Sr. of Wahiawa, HI.
"It's a great day to celebrate one's heroes," states Alexander, as this week in April also marks another Baseball Hero, Jackie Robinson’s debut into Major League Baseball.
The group “Friends of Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr.” was formed by retired MLB Ball Player Lew Matlin and the Late Honolulu Sportswriter Ferd Borsch. Members of the group also include Lyle Nelson, Jack Sullivan, Jim Leahey, Pal Eldredge, Don Robbs, Bob Corboy and Korky Gallagher.
In the mid-1800s, Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr. was the founder of the New York Knickerbocker Ball Club. Not only did he create the first organized baseball team, but he also designed the baseball diamond. In addition, he also specified the distance between the bases, along with other rules and regulations still in use to this day. Although Cartwright was only with the Knickerbockers for its first four years of existence, the club itself lasted until sometime in the 1870s. Cartwright caught Gold Fever in 1849 and ventured west. He became a kind of 'Johnny Appleseed' of baseball, teaching the game to settlers at frontier towns and Army posts. Even some Native Americans along the way.
Eventually, he traveled as far west as the Hawaiian Islands where he lived a notable life until his death in 1892. On December 27, 1850, King Kamehameha III passed an act in Privy Council that appointed Cartwright Chief Engineer of the Fire Department of the City of Honolulu. Oahu's Governor, Kekuanaoa, signed the act on February 3, 1851. Kamehameha reportedly took an immense interest in the department. When the alarm went off, the reigning monarch shed his coat, rolled up his sleeves and helped right alongside the other volunteers.
Aside from his duties at the Honolulu Fire Department, Alexander became involved with many other aspects of the community through his involvement with Freemasonry. In 1859, for example, Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV founded Queen's Hospital. As part of its customs and traditions, cornerstone ceremonies were held for the construction of new buildings. The first public Masonic ceremony on the islands was at the laying of the hospital cornerstone in 1860.
As an advisor to the queen, Cartwright was the executor of her Last Will & Testament, in which she left the bulk of her estate to the hospital when she died in 1885. He also was appointed Consul to Peru, and was on the financial committee for Honolulu's Centennial Celebration of American Independence held on the 4th of July, 1876.
A group of men, Cartwright among them, founded the Honolulu Library and Reading Room in 1879. The sponsors had originally named it the "Workingmen's Library," but felt that it needed a broader name to signify its true concept. In the local newspaper, the Commercial Pacific Advertiser, editor J. H. Black wrote, "The library is not intended to be run for the benefit of any class, party, nationality, or sect."
Some of the founders wanted to exclude women from membership, but Cartwright disagreed. Writing to his brother Alfred: "The idea keeps the blessed ladies out, and the children in mind. "What makes us old geezers think we are the only ones to be spiritually and morally uplifted by a public library in this city?" It wasn't long before the committee changed the wording of the constitution to make women eligible for membership.
Alexander Cartwright was involved with the library for the rest of his life, and was president from 1886 to 1892. The Reading Room librarian, Mary Burbank, said "Mr. Cartwright's name led the list of the first Board of Directors in 1879, and [he] remained on the board as long as he lived, giving the most generous contribution of literature." Cartwright was a constant reader, frequently donating his own purchased books after he had read them. Another little known fact, is that Cartwright was one of twelve men who belonged to a "Birthday Club." Beginning in December of 1871, the twelve men would have a "first-class" dinner at one of the members’ homes each month. The honorary president was King Kamehameha V. Their last dinner was held on May 2, 1872. The king suffered an attack of dropsy and died on December 11 (His 42nd birthday). Once the king fell ill, the club postponed their dinners, and never met again.
King Kamehameha V was the first native Hawaiian to become a Freemason. The February before he died, a cornerstone was laid in Masonic tradition with members of the lodge present, including the Acting Grand Master, Alexander Cartwright Jr. The king, together with Cartwright, spread cement beneath the Cornerstone for what would become the Judiciary Building.
The next monarch, King Kalakaua, became the first Hawaiian monarch to attend a baseball game. Cartwright was the king's financial advisor. The game took place in 1875 between the Athletes and the Pensacolas. Baseball had been growing in popularity since being played at Punahou School in the 1860s.
Alex’s descendent; Alexander Cartwright IV has become another kind of 'Johnny Appleseed,' who has spoken at numerous events over the years representing his ancestor's legacy. His website, MrBaseball.com, is devoted to the history of baseball, and attracts interest from baseball enthusiasts from all over the world. He receives emails for his assistance with historical baseball references from publishers, literary agents, and even from children who want assistance finalizing school reports. Mr. Cartwright assists, gladly, in small community youth groups, yearning for factual history, dated prior to the present scenario.