With an Introduction by Al. G. Spalding of the Chicago Base Ball Club. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, 1884. 1 page undated ads (for Spalding baseball goods). Original red cloth pictorially decorated in black and gilt, beveled.
First Edition of "the first novel devoted exclusively to baseball" [Grobani 12-2c]. The first book about baseball was 1859's THE BASE BALL PLAYER'S POCKET COMPANION (nonfiction -- there are only about ten known copies, the most recently-exchanged of which was priced at $39,500). There was an 1877 volume in the "No Name Series," THE GREAT MATCH, which could also lay claim to "first baseball fiction" but which is not entirely about baseball. About these two books Strecker et al. have written,
Both THE GREAT MATCH and OUR BASE BALL CLUB highlight tensions between the country and the city. More importantly, they reveal the baseball team's central place in local communities and feature insight into nineteenth century baseball debates about participation versus competition, and amateurism versus professionalism.
This is a hefty, large-format (quarto) volume, with ten handsome illustrations. OUR BASE BALL CLUB was issued in two different bindings -- paper-covered boards with a front cover lithograph, or full pictorially-decorated cloth, either grey or blue or (as here) bright red. This is a bright, very good-plus copy, with a small damp-mark on the rear cover and very minor shelf-wear at the spine ends. Item #13908