Tag Archives: Mistakes in History Books

The Oldest Man In The World? A New Yorker Lives A Very,Very Long Time In The 19th Century

The Oldest Man In New York

I’ve always had a problem with people saying, “I read it on the internet and therefore it is true.”

I am more of a believer in the accuracy of books, but I’ll admit it- bibliophile that I am, even books are wrong sometimes. Actually, more than sometimes. How often, I’ve wondered, does a mistake appear in a book, that book becomes the “authority” or “reference” material for other books and the mistake becomes gospel?

When something strikes me as unusual, amazing or inconsistent with what I know, I try and check the facts by going to the original or earliest source material. This is just my natural curiosity. This includes lots of history that is inconsequential in the greater scheme of things. But when I get fascinated and have to know more, I’ll take the time to look into it.

In an earlier post we noted we would return to the book, “The Secrets of the Great City: A Work Descriptive of the Virtues and the Vices, the Mysteries, Miseries and Crimes of New York City” by Edward Winslow Martin (pseud. James D. McCabe) published by Jones, Brothers & Co. 1868.

One short chapter entitled The Oldest Man in New York aroused my investigative instincts, two samples from that chapter are reproduced below (the full three page text can be found here)

Strangers visiting the Church of the Ascension, in New York, cannot fail to notice the presence of an old gentleman, who occupies an arm-chair immediately in front of the chancel, in the middle aisle, and who gives the responses to the service in a very loud and distinct manner. This is, perhaps, the oldest man of the entire million of New York City inhabitants. It is Captain Lahrbush, formerly Continue reading

When The Record Books Are Wrong

The New York Yankees Actually Hold The MLB Record For The Largest Attendance In A Regular Season Game.

Records are made to be broken…that is if anyone knows about them.

If you look up the largest attendance during the regular season to see a major league baseball game, the Sporting News Baseball Record Book and many online sources claim that the paid attendance on September 12, 1954 of 84,587 at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium is the largest ever.  The Yankees were visiting the Indians that day for a doubleheader and were battling for a pennant that Cleveland would eventually go on to win. The Yankees finished in second place with 103 wins (no wild card in 1954)!

But is the 1954 Indians-Yankees game the regular season record?

Probably no one, with the possible exception of the members of SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research) really cares, but the official record books are wrong.

On September 9, 1928 The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Athletics were in a tight battle for first place, a half game separating Continue reading