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One of the earliest baseball illustrations to appear in any periodical...



Item # 674737

December 27, 1856

PORTERS SPIRIT OF THE TIMES, New York, Dec. 27, 1856  This issue of this once popular sporting journal features one of the earliest baseball illustrations to appear in a periodical.
This simple illustration, which is actually a 3 by 3 inch diagram, shows the position of the players, and is part of an article: "Base Ball" "How They Play The Game In New England".
The diagram shows a layout that is more square than the current diamond, and it has the "striker" or batter and catcher positioned away from the "4th base or home". A detailed "Explanation" of the diagram provides further information on how the game is played.
The author of this article, obviously fascinated by this new sporting activity, discusses the different elements of the game, noting: "The finest exhibition of skill in Base Ball playing is, I think, to witness the ball passed swiftly from thrower to catcher, who being experts, seldom allow it to fall to the ground, and scarcely move their feet from the position they occupy." 
The author also alludes to the growing popularity of the sport, mentioning in part that "Base [sic] is also a favorite game upon the green in front of village school-houses in the country throughout New England; and in this city, on Fast Day, which is generally appointed early in April, Boston Common is covered with amateur parties of men and boys playing Base."
A key issue graphically detailed the development of baseball over four years before the Civil War.
Complete in 16 pages, 11 1/2 by 15 3/4 inches, even toning, archivally strengthened at the spine, some minor wear at the edges, generally good condition.

Category: Pre-Civil War