Thursday, June 18, 2009

Baseball 2

Here's a few more great items from my collection:

I showed the Ball Player's Chronicle earlier but only the masthead. Here's the entire first page.

National Chronicle is a rare title from the 1860's featuring baseball. This is the first issue.

Baseball guides made their debut in the 1860's. FYI from a website (with my illustration)

Baseball Guides Galore

By Ralph E. LinWeber

Record books have been compiled on every game of skill and athletic endeavor that exists. Baseball, America's national game, is, of course, the most prominent because of its long history, the long season in which it is played, the endless flow of statistics, and the broad interest it affords. Although statistical based newspaper and magazine articles had appeared before, the first known baseball guide made its appearance in 1860. It was called the Beadle Base Ball Guide or Beadle's Dime Base Ball Guide - an indication of its cost. It is a rare item and today the few in existence are known to be in collectors' hands.
The Beadle Guide continued publication until 1881 and in that period showed the evolution of various baseball terms and statistical categories. Baseball "matches" eventually became games and "hands lost" became number of times the batter was put out. In 1868 the Dime Baseball Guide added base hits to the score with outs coming first, runs second, and hits last in the three columns. In 1871 the Boston and Cleveland National Association clubs issued batting averages based on hits to times at bat. However, it was many years before all clubs started to show at bats in the box score.
From 1868 to 1885 the DeWitt Baseball Guide was in publication, with Henry Chadwick the editor from 1869 on. It was smaller than the Beadle Book and contained less information, but it boasted a larger circulation. Chadwick also put out his own Baseball Manual in 1870 and 1871. The man called the "Father of Baseball" was a statistician of note and his endless research into the records uncovered facts and figures that enlightened the sports world. George Wright, one of the early star players, also published a record book on baseball in 1875 while he was with the Boston club of the National Association.

the first De Witt's Baseball Handbook

from my collection.

In 1877, A. G. Spalding, a former star player who became a sporting goods magnate, launched Spalding's Official Base Ball Guide. It lasted for many years and enjoyed the greatest success of any publication of its kind. It first covered the National League and expanded to other leagues as they were established. In 1883, Alfred J. Reach, like Spalding, a former player who moved into the sporting goods field, introduced the Reach Guide. It contained the first year averages of the American Association as well as the National League and was similar in coverage to the Spalding Guide. With the establishment of the American League as a major circuit in 1901, the Reach Guide took the title of Reach Official American League Base Ball Guide. Of course, Spalding also covered the AL.
Starting in 1908, Spalding published two books, which caused some confusion to later researchers. All the minor league records were taken out of the Guide and put into the Spalding Base Ball Record, along with the major league records. The Guide also carried major league records and expanded its narrative section. This division continued until 1925 when the Spalding company cutback to one publication - the guide - with its original content.
In this period there were many other short-lived baseball guides and record books. The Wright & Ditson Baseball Guide was published intermittently between 1884 and 1912 with Tim Murnane, a former player turned writer as editor. There was a Sporting Life Guide in 1891, a Victor Baseball Guide of 1896 and 1897; John McGraw's Baseball Book of 1904 and 1905; the Lajoie Baseball Guides of 1906-07-08; and Bull Durham's Guide of 1910 and 1911.
The Spalding and Reach Guides continued strong throughout this period, publishing separately through 1939. They were duplicative, however, and published a combined edition in 1940 and in 1941. The foreword of the 1940 Spalding-Reach Guide explained the background and is quoted here in full.

Puck's Library was an offshoot of the famous humor magazine started bt Johannes Kepler. The first issue in 1887 was devoted entirely to baseball.

I love this one. A rare and short lived title featuring a cover of Babe Ruth in 1927. The second issue feature Man O'War.

There's presently an issue for sale on eBay for $750. Probably a little high but not by much.

Speaking of Yankees, here's Joltin Joe DiMaggio and his son on the cover of the first issue of Sport in 1948, the year I was born.

and the great Ted Williams.

More to come- seventh inning stretch!

No comments: