First edition of America's National Game
by A. G. Spalding, inscribed by Spalding on the interior. Published by American Sports Publishing Company, New York, 1911. Spalding has inscribed the book in black fountain pen on the front flyleaf: "To/Mr. Samuel J. Elder/with my compliments/A. G. Spalding/New York/Oct. 13. 1911." Both the text and signature have been boldly scripted and grade "9/10." This profusely illustrated book is considered one of the great classics of baseball literature because it was the most ambitious history of the game ever published up to that time and, most important, it incorporates the findings of the Mills Report of 1907. That report credited Abner Doubleday (albeit, most scholars today agree, erroneously) with having invented the game of baseball in 1839. With the publication of this book, that myth became firmly entrenched within the collective consciousness of American culture and persists to this day, despite its refutation in more modern times by numerous historians. A. G. Spalding was perhaps the most influential figure in baseball history, having been a former star pitcher, team owner, and sporting-goods magnate. He passed away in 1915 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939. The 542-page hardcover book (5.5 x 8 inches), which is complete with all of its fold-out illustrations, is in Poor to Fair condition overall. The covers are heavily worn, with tears and staining. There is separation along the spine, with large page segments detached, but the covers remain attached. A number of bookplates from a former owner, as well as a few additional items have been affixed to some of the pages. A few of the fold-out illustrations are torn, as are some of the pages. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $1,000+.
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