Play Ball! March 27, 2013 – Tags: , , ,

In honor of our national pastime Book Patrol curated this list of collectible baseball material for our friends at


‘The first book devoted exclusively to baseball’

Mayhew and Baker, publishers. The Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion: Containing Rules and Regulations for Forming Clubs, Directions for the “Massachusetts Game,” and the “New York Game,” from Official Reports. Boston: Mayhew and Baker. 1859. First edition. 16mo. 35(1)pp. Original flexible cloth-covered boards with a gilt illustration of a ball player. Old library stickers removed from the endpapers, small nicks at the extremities, a very good example in a custom quarter leather and cloth clamshell case. A rare book — the first book exclusively devoted to baseball. According to a recent baseball auction (at which an 1861 third edition sold for $8500 plus premium) fewer than ten examples of this first edition are known. $39,500.

Browse other rare books on baseball from Between the Covers- Rare Books, Inc. ABAA

‘One of the key works in the literature of baseball’
Spalding, A.G. America’s National Game: Historic Facts Concerning The Beginning Evolution, Development, and Popularity of Baseball with Personal Reminiscences of its Vicissitudes, its Victories, and its Votaries. New York: American Sports Publishing Company, 1911.. xix,[1],[1]-542pp. Thick octavo. Bright blue ribbed cloth, lettered in gilt, and with gilt depiction of Uncle Sam at bat on the upper cover. Portrait, frontis, illustrations, photographs and plates (some folding). Bookplate on front pastedown, very slight tanning to edges of text block, as usual, early ink name neatly erased from front free endsheet, trivial tiny crack at crown of rear inner hinge — all relatively minor detractions for an unusually bright, tight copy of a book most often seen in dodgy condition. First edition. Illustrated with ‘cartoons’ by Homer C. Davenport. One of the key works in the literature of baseball, by one of the prime movers in its codification and development. In addition to his pitching career (which began in 1865), Spalding helped organize the National League, cofounded the Spalding sporting goods company, and published the first official rules guide for the game. This book was published four years prior to his death. $2,750.

Wright and Ditson. Illustrated Catalogue of Base Ball Goods and Uniforms.  Boston: Wright and Ditson Retail Store: 344 Washington Street (near Milk Street). Wholesale Store: 95 Pearl Street, 1895. (BASEBALL) 8vo. Illustrated throughout. 24 pp. Original printed wrappers. A rare trade catalogue of 19th-century baseball gear, profusely illustrated with wood-engravings of products offered by Wright and Ditson — including Spalding bats and mitts, catcher’s masks, bases, shoes, uniforms and caps, and score books and other miscellanea. Wright and Ditson was later acquired by Spalding. $1,350.


Literary Home Runs

Gifford, Barry; Spicer, Jack. The GIANTS Are GOING To WIN The PENNANT. A Madrugada Broadside . (n. p.):. (1971).. Oblong format: 7″ x 10″. 1st printing. Broadside, printed recto only, in black ink on orange paper.. A Fine copy of this uncommon Gifford item.. A poem from this Cubs’ fan, ruminating, using a baseball motif, on the San Francisco poet Jack Spicer, e.g., a comparison to one of the greatest baseball players of all times, Ted Williams, whose “hits are in / the record books, / waiting to be broken.”. A laughing ‘Cub’ graphic after the title lettering. $250.

“Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!”  – Babe Ruth

Kinsella, W. P.  Shoeless Joe.  Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1982. First edition. Hardcover. First printing. Kinsella’s first novel and perhaps one of the best books to deal with the America’s continued fascination with baseball. Made into the terrific movie “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. A fine in a very good plus dust jacket with a number of small edge and some other minor wear. Still, a nice copy of this classic. $125.

Malamud, Bernard. The Natural.  New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1952. First Edition. First Edition. Blue cloth binding, one of three variant binding colors (the others being red and green) with no priority established. Near Fine in a bright Near Fine dust jacket. Jacket has some restoration at the heel, and presents beautifully, with none of the usual fading. Basis for the iconic 1984 film directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close and Kim Basinger. $3,250.

A mystery about a center fielder.

Mays, Willie and Harris, Jeff. Danger in Center Field.Larchmont NY: Argonaut Books, Inc. (1963). First. First edition. Fine in a lightly age-toned, very good plus dustwrapper. A mystery novel about a center fielder, presumably aimed towards adolescents, appended by a section of center field tips by Mays and a section on outfielders in the Hall of Fame. One of a series of “co-written” novels by baseball players. $250.

Harbach, Chad. The Art of Fielding.   Little, Brown, 2011. First Edition, First Printing. The debut novel by this editor of n+1, the acclaimed story of a college baseball star whose routine throw goes disastrously off course — upending the fates of five people who are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties and secrets. Fine/Fine. Signed and dated 10/14/2011 by Harbach on the title page. Signed by Author. 1st Edition. Hardcover. $175.

Baseball Ephemera

Chicago Cubs 1969. Signed Baseball, Chicago Cubs 1969.  Official Spalding-issue regulation hardball. Very good. Faint minor age toning. The legendary 1969 Chicago Cubs were famously described as “the most celebrated second-place team in the history of baseball,” and this official team ball (stamped “Chicago Cubs” on the sweet spot) has been signed by that team’s manager (Hall of Famer Leo Durocher, 1905-91) and by 14 other members of that team, which include Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins, Ron Santo and Billy Williams. Other ’69 Cubs signing include Glenn Beckert, Jim Colborn, Bill Hands, Ken Holtzman, Randy Hundley, Don Kessinger, Gene Oliver, Paul Popovich, Phil Regan and Ken Rudolph. Ten members of the 1970 Cubs also sign: Johnny Callison, Jim Dunegan, Larry Gura, Jim Hickman, J.C. Martin, Bob Miller, Milt Pappas, Joe Pepitone, Juan Pizarro and Roberto Rodriguez. Lastly, one member of the 1971 Cubs signs: Jose Ortiz. All signatures are in black ballpoint and are legible, with boldness ranging from average to somewhat light. A very scarce assemblage. $750.
1886, Stagg. Photograph of the 1886 Yale Baseball Team (including Amos Alonzo Stagg).   Vintage album on photograph of the Yale baseball team. Measuring 9″ x 7″. Undated, but 1886. A couple of small smudges, but overall fine. Stagg is on the extreme left of the photo leaning on a baseball bat. While Stagg is known primarily for his football prowess, he was also a fine baseball player who turned down the opportunity to play professionally. He did however, invent the batting cage! A nice, striking image.$1,750.

Paige, Satchel. Satchel Paige (ANS) SIGNED Business Card (as seen on Auction Kings).  Very Good. Signed by the legendary baseball player! One sheet (2×3 inches). Business card signed by Paige during his tenure with the Tulsa Oilers Baseball Club. Paige was voted to the Baseball Hall of Game in 1971 and is known as one of the all-time greats. His autograph has become quite scarce and signed cards such as this one are rarely seen. This particular piece was featured on the Auction Kings TV program on the Discovery Channel in 2010. $700.
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