Original Wraps. Chicago: published by A. G. Spalding & Bros. 1899. First Edition. Near Fine.
First edition. Original publisher’s cream wrappers, lettered and decorated in black with a Spalding bicycle advertisement to the rear. An excellent copy with some light soiling and the stamp of “Edward R. Litzinger” to the front cover. A well-preserved example of an early baseball publication. Bearing the ownership stamp of the organization’s president, Edward R. Litzinger, this guide to the rules and regulations of the Associated Baseball Clubs of Chicago (ABC) was published shortly after the ABC took over the role of governing body for Chicago’s semi-professional baseball clubs in 1898. A role previously held by the Chicago Amateur Baseball Association, the governing body was primarily responsible for scheduling games around the city. Notably, the ABC represented both black and white teams in this racially segregated sport, and was responsible for settling disputes that arose between clubs that were known to have powerful rivalries. Mentioned in this publication is William S. Peters (1867-1933), an American entrepreneur and baseball player who served as treasurer of the ABC. Peters was manager and played first base for the all-black Chicago Unions team, later continuing on to run his own team until 1923, the Peters Union Giants, widely regarded as a predecessor of the Negro Leagues. Notably, this booklet was published by A. G. Spalding & Bros, a sporting goods company founded in 1976 by Albert Goodwill Spalding, a prominent baseball player and executive in the earliest days of the sport. Now known simply as “Spalding,” the company still exists today.