Marjorie Adams, Who Went to Bat for a Baseball Pioneer, Dies at 72

Marjorie Adams, who tirelessly promoted the candidacy of her great-grandfather, Daniel Adams, a 19th-century founding father of baseball, for the Baseball Hall of Fame, died on July 7 in a hospice in Branford, Conn. She was 72.

The trigger was lung most cancers, her nephew Nate Downey stated.

Making the case for her great-grandfather, who was referred to as Doc (he got here by his nickname legitimately, having obtained a medical diploma from Harvard in 1838), grew to become Ms. Adams’s consuming ardour. She advocated for him on a web site, at conferences, at conferences of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and at classic baseball festivals, the place followers play and rejoice the game, as if it had been the 19th century. She nicknamed herself Cranky for “cranks,” a interval time period for followers.

“Baseball is the national pastime,” she stated in an interview in 2014 with SABR’s Smoky Joe Wood chapter. “It’s important that the historical record is correct.”

That document was a lie for a very long time, in accordance to John Thorn, baseball’s official historian. Abner Doubleday was for a few years falsely cited as baseball’s inventor. Alexander Cartwright, who performed a function within the sport’s evolution, was credited on his plaque at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., with a few of the improvements that, it turned out, had been really conceived by Adams.

In the 1990s, an article about Adams by Mr. Thorn in Elysian Fields Quarterly, a baseball journal, helped Ms. Adams see her great-grandfather as a vital determine and never solely “Daniel, the baseball guy,” as he was recognized within the Adams household.

Doc Adams started enjoying for the pioneering New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club in 1845. While with the crew, he created the shortstop place (as a relay man from the outfield, not a fielder of floor balls and pop flies) and, in 1857, made his most crucial contributions at a rule-making conference of which he was chairman.

He codified a few of the fundamentals of the trendy recreation, setting the gap between bases at 90 ft, the size of a recreation at 9 innings and the variety of males per aspect at 9.

Still, Adams remained obscure to anybody unfamiliar with baseball’s early historical past. In 2015, as Ms. Adams continued her marketing campaign to elevate her great-grandfather’s profile, Mr. Thorn offered supplies about him to a member of the Hall of Fame’s pre-integration-era committee, which voted on gamers, managers, umpires and executives from baseball’s origins to 1946, the yr earlier than Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in Major League Baseball. He was placed on the committee’s poll with 9 different candidates.

Awaiting the vote that December, Ms. Adams informed “All I do, the first thing when I wake up, is think, “What’s my next step to help Doc?’ I’m always talking about Doc. You can’t stop me.” She added: “As Babe Ruth said, ‘You just can’t beat the person who won’t give up.’ I say that to myself 50 times a day.”

Daniel Adams, referred to as Doc, created the shortstop place and codified a few of the fundamentals of baseball, together with setting the size of a recreation at 9 innings and the variety of males per aspect at 9.Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Marjorie Putnam Adams was born on Dec. 7, 1948, in Manhattan. Her father, Daniel Putnam Adams, was a banker, and her mom, Adelaide (Barkley) Adams, was a homemaker. After graduating from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., she started a profession as a saleswoman and inside designer at furnishings shops in Manhattan and Connecticut.

Researching her great-grandfather’s baseball profession, which included a number of visits to Cooperstown, had a pure attraction to Ms. Adams.

“I’m not an athlete,” she informed SABR. “I’m a book person, a history geek.” Doc Adams’s election to the Hall, she stated, can be “the moment of my life.”

Her tenacity at selling her great-grandfather’s Hall-worthiness was such that she as soon as printed out playing cards that stated, “Doc Adams: The True Father of Baseball.” She handed them out to strangers and struck up conversations with them about him.

“Then she wanted to be fair and honest and printed up cards that said, ‘One of the True Fathers of Baseball,’” Mr. Downey stated by telephone. “She made me throw out the earlier ones.”

Adams was almost elected when the pre-integration period committee voted in December 2015. He obtained 10 votes, greater than another candidate however two wanting the required 12.

“She was very disappointed,” stated Roger Ratzenberger, a member of SABR’s 19th-century analysis committee who helped Ms. Adams together with her marketing campaign. “I talked to her that night and told her, ‘Look at the difference now: Tonight on all the news channels, they’re talking about Doc Adams.’ That’s what her thing was — to get attention for him.’”

A couple of months later, Ms. Adams discovered renewed cause for hope: documentary proof of Doc Adams’s function in baseball historical past got here up for public sale. Three surviving pages of “Laws of Baseball,” which had been written by Adams and offered a bodily document of his rule-making at the 1857 conference, offered for $three.26 million.

Ms. Adams, who’s survived by a sister, Nancy Adams Downey, believed that the “Laws” would get her great-grandfather elected to the Hall at the pre-integration committee’s subsequent scheduled assembly, in 2018. But in July 2016, the Hall restructured the panel, renamed it the early baseball period committee and postponed its vote till this December.

“It’s a pity she couldn’t hang on,” Mr. Thorn stated by telephone, “because her great-grandfather’s day is coming.”