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Lot # 819 (of 1594)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Henry Chadwick Signed and Inscribed Personal Score Book of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings New York Tour

Starting Bid - $2,500.00, Sold For - $19,975.00

Presented is an extraordinary nineteenth-century baseball artifact: Henry Chadwick's personal score book recording the four games played in the New York City area by the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869. The 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings cross-country tour was a watershed event in the history of our national pastime for it marked the first time that an all-professional team took the field for an entire season. This score book records four of the most important games on that tour on eight of the twelve interior pages of this string-bound score book. The fact that it was personally kept by sportswriter Henry Chadwick, who is known universally as "The Father of Baseball" and is the inventor of the box score, gives this scorebook even greater extraordinary historical significance. The small book (6.25 x 4.25 inches), titled "Peck's New Pocket Base Ball Score Book" and published by Peck & Snyder, has been inscribed and signed by Chadwick on the cover. Along the top he writes "Cincinnati Red Stockings BBC - Tour Matches of 1869 Versus New York Clubs." His signature, "Henry Chadwick," appears along the base. Both the inscription and signature have been scripted in pencil and grade "7". The first line of the inscription contrasts somewhat poorly due to the fact that it has been written upon the black ornamental border of the scorecard but remains perfectly legible. The four Cincinnati Red Stockings games recorded in the book are those against the Mutuals (June 15th), the Atlantics (June 16th), the Eckfords (June 17th), and Irvington of New Jersey (June 18th). All of the games are fully scored in pencil, with tremendous detail, and include the handwritten lineups for each team as well as other information, including the date and venue. Chadwick has signed his name ("7") in the space labeled "Scorer" for the game against the Eckfords. The name of his newspaper, New York Clipper , appears directly below his signature. The other three games all feature his initials ("H. C.") listed in or below the "Scorer" section. Chadwick has further documented the book's provenance and significance with a second inscription on the reverse. The back cover features an affixed bookplate photo of Chadwick (most likely taken from a Spalding Guide or similar work) that has been inscribed in pencil ("5") along the base, " This score book I used for famous Red Stocking tour of game matches in New York City. - H. C ."

The New York leg of the 1869 Red Stockings tour was extremely important for the club, both financially and in terms of national recognition. Because of the expenditures for travel and salaries, the tour was quite costly for the team's backers. Previous gate receipts had been lower than expected and the balance sheet had been in the red since the inception of the tour. The trip to New York reversed that trend, as large crowds gathered at all three New York venues to witness the national game played at its highest level. Although the Red Stockings' reputation for diamond excellence preceded them, few Eastern baseball pundits were ready to declare the Red Stockings the greatest team in the land until they had conquered Gotham. The Red Stockings themselves knew that the three New York clubs would represent their greatest challenge yet, as the trio were considered to be among the best teams in the land. The first game, against the New York Mutuals, was played at Brooklyn's Union Grounds in front of an estimated crowed of 8,000 (some reports put the attendance at close to 20,000) and it certainly lived up to expectations. After winning their last three games by a combined score of 139 to 25, the Red Stockings found themselves tied with the Mutuals 2-2 entering the bottom of the ninth. Fortunately for Cincinnati, a key Mutual error and a passed ball enabled the Red Stockings to pull out a 4-2 win (in 1869 teams continued to bat in the ninth even if the winning run had already been scored). Porter's
Spirit of the Times declared the match to be "the best-played game ever witnessed" and Chadwick himself remarked "What a contest! The Red Stockings are popularizing the game in the East like no other club has before!" The next two games proved to be just as popular with the fans but less exciting with regard to their outcome. On June 16th the Red Stockings defeated the Brooklyn Atlantics at the Capitoline Grounds 32-10 before an overflow crowd of 10,000. The following day they returned to the Union Grounds and defeated the Eckfords 24-5 in front of 8,000 appreciative fans. As the team crossed the Hudson the next day to play Irvington (whom they defeated 20-4) the did so with the well-deserved reputation as the top team in the land and a tidy three-day profit of over $4,000.

As Chadwick noted after the game against the Mutuals, the Red Stockings New York tour was instrumental in further popularizing the game of baseball, albeit on a different level. The success of the Red Stockings helped foster public acceptance of professionalism in the "national game," thus paving the way for the formation of the National Association of Base Ball Players (baseball's first professional league) in 1871. In a span of only a few short years, baseball went from being a recreational pastime to big business, thereby forever changing the nature of the game. This score book represents one of the most important primary source documents in existence from the historic 1869 Red Stockings tour. Few items relating to that tour have ever surfaced, and this score book, recorded in hand of Hall of Fame journalist Henry Chadwick, certainly stands as one of the most amazing of the few surviving pieces relating to the 1869 Red Stockings. The score book (6.24 x 4 inches) displays light mounting remnants on the cover, a slight stain in the lower left (that permeates the interior pages), a few minor creases and a small separation along the spine. Very Good condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA.
Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000+. SOLD FOR $19,975.00

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