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1930s & Earlier / Double Life of Arthur Irwin
Toronto's Arthur Irwin was the man who invented the baseball gove. In 1884, while playing with the National League's Providence Grays, Irwin broke two fingers on his catching hand. In order to keep playing, he wore a carriage driver's glove filled with cotton. At first Irwin was derided as a sissy, but within a decade almost all major leaguers were wearing gloves in the field. However, Irwin is most famous for the double life he led as a bigamist--one that only became known after he died. On July 16, 1921, Irwin was aboard a New York to Bston ship, the Calvin Murphy. He told a fellow passenger he was going home to Boston to die. The next morning, Irwin was nowhere to be found. It was surmised that he either jumped or fell overboard. Irwin left behind a grieving wife and family in Boston--and a grieving wife and family in New York City! Neither family had any inkling of the other's existence. Irwin's body was never found, leading to speculation that he had faked his death. For years there were rumors he was living in rural Georgia under an assumed name. Irwin's sister answered the accusations by saying, 'With Arthur, you never know.'