PORTER'S SPIRIT OF THE TIMES. A Chronicle of the Turf, Field Sports, Literature and the Stage. Volume I, Nos. 1 - 26. BASEBALL.

PORTER'S SPIRIT OF THE TIMES. A Chronicle of the Turf, Field Sports, Literature and the Stage. Volume I, Nos. 1 - 26

New York: [Wm. Porter & George Wilkes], 1856-1857. First Edition. Hardcover. Folio (10-3/4" x 16") in the original cloth rebacked with a recent brown morocco leather spine, lettered in gilt, and corners; original morocco label with the name "James Burnside" in gilt on the front cover; 416 (of 424) pages. Illustrated with a color frontispiece of a racing horse, "Flora Temple." The debut volume with 26 issues of this important sports newspaper containing accounts of horse races, billiards, cricket matches, chess, and some of the earliest reportage of baseball games including printed box scores (developed by Henry Chadwick in 1856) and rule changes. The National Association of Base Ball Players was the first baseball organization to extend beyond a single club, and its birth coincides neatly with this first volume of PORTER'S. The first hint comes in Volume 1, issue #7, page 93 (11 October 1856): "It is said that a Convention of all the Base Ball Clubs of this city and suburbs will be held this fall, for the purpose of considering whether any and what amendments to the rules and laws governing this game should be made." The 8 November 1856 issue gives an account that reveals the gentlemanly nature of the game at that time describing the toasts offered, lyrics of a song performed solo, and other remarks made to the crowd, though the writer notes that catches were made on the fly, "instead of the child's play, 'from the bound.'" The 6 December 1856 issue contains rules for "The American National Game of Base Ball as played by the Putnam Club of New York illustrated with a diagram of the field: "We have been so inundated with communications in reference to the mode of playing the game of Base Ball, that although we gave the directions in our last issue as to where the rules of the game could be purchased, we have concluded to give a diagram and the rules in order that those who desire to form clubs may be prepared for action at the commencement of the next season." This evokes a response in a later issue by New England correspondent "Bob Lively" who describes "how they play the game in New England" with its own and different diagram: "The ball was thrown, not pitched or tossed, as a gentleman who has seen 'Base' played in New York tells me it is; it was thrown, and with a vigor, too, that made it whistle through the air, and stop with a solid smack in the catcher's hands, which he generally held directly in front of his face." The first baseball convention was reported at length on 31 January 1857, with a patriotic flourish: "Base Ball ... ought to be looked upon in this country with the same national enthusiasm as Cricket and Foot Ball are regarded in the British Islands.... There should be some one game peculiar to the citizens of the United States." The organization formed at that time can be considered the birth of organized league baseball in America. Much more. Very scarce peek into the beginnings of our national pastime. Minor foxing, some pages browned, some unopened, lacking pages 69-72 and 81-84 (there is no baseball information on those pages). Binding quite nice. Overall Near Fine. Item #019207

Price: $4,000.00

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