The Base-Ball Guide for 1874
Original Wraps. New York: Robert M. De Witt, 1874. First Edition. Good.
First edition. Publisher’s yellow wrappers printed in black with illustration of mustached pitcher to front wrapper, Peck & Snyder advertisement to rear wrapper. Good copy with triangular chip to top right corner of front wrapper (loss of “Price 10 Cents” statement), some shallow chipping to bottom edge of front wrapper, a few small closed tears to wrappers, light wear to spine, partially erased “$3.00” in pencil to front and rear wrappers, and some spotting to text block edges and a few pages at the front and rear of the book. Overall, a bright and attractive copy. Very scarce. The De Witt's Base-Ball Guide, published annually from 1868 to 1885, was the official publication of the Amateur and Professional Association, and stands as one of the first and most comprehensive guides to baseball ever published. New York Herald baseball reporter M. J. Kelly edited the guide in its first year, and subsequent editions were edited by the so-called "father of baseball", Henry Chadwick (1824-1908). The guide was aimed at both players and fans; it included lists of player averages, detailed explanations of the rules of the game, and advice for athletes on how best to prepare themselves for the sport. Interestingly, though the guides were immensely popular, some of Chadwick's advice was perceived as excessively proper - his condemnation of athletes drinking alcohol, for example, did not resonate well with all of his readers. Even so, Chadwick was revered as the foremost authority on the intricacies of the sport, and his writing for De Witt's Base-Ball Guide remains part of the sport's trajectory to what it is today.