Original Wraps. Boston: Press of Emery & Hughes, 1888. First Edition. Good.
First edition, first printing of Kelly's baseball memoir. Rebound in black cloth with titles in gilt to spine, olive endpapers, publisher's front wrapper bound in, wrapper lettered and illustrated in burgundy, with an engraved portrait of the author. A good copy, lacking the rear wrapper, front wrapper enclosed in laminate with light chipping and a bit of creasing to corners and fore edge, minor reinforcement to lower edge and fore edge of title page, repair to lower corners of dedication page and first page of preface, with a previous owner's pencil signature below Kelly's printed signature to p. 86. Overall, a rare survivor and an exceptionally rare book. Noted as the first ever memoir of a baseball player, Play Ball is a series of anecdotes and memoirs by the Boston Beaneaters player Mike "King" Kelly. An early innovator of the game, Kelly developed and popularized techniques like the hook slide, hit and run, and the idea that players could intentionally foul a ball in order to build up the pitch count. He was widely adored by fans of the sport, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in its second class. First editions of this book are exceedingly scarce, with WorldCat locating only one copy. Item #MKK003