Unique 1890 Baseball Scorer

Sold For: $1,080

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1479

Item Year: 1890

Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Rare and unusual fold-over baseball scorer dating from the 1890 season. Copyrighted as "Hunter's Pocket Base Ball Score Card," the illustrated front cover features an attractive baseball motif (consisting of crossed bats, a ball, two gloves, and a cap) in the center, flanked on either side by a generic batter and pitcher, respectively. The scorer opens up to reveal numbered layouts on each side to record the runs, hits, and errors for each team, as well as the inning, balls, strikes, and outs. Each field is recorded by means of a small celluloid arrow attached to the center of the respective layout. A copyright date of 1890 appears along the base. An advertisement for Agnes Booth Cigars (manufactured by Victor Vallette & Co. of New York) appears on the reverse, as does a partial overprint for a local "All Night" Pharmacy. (The scorer was most likely given away as a promotional piece for the pharmacy.) What makes this scorer so interesting is that under the field to record "Balls" it numbers to five, not four. In 1887, rule changes mandated that five balls resulted in a walk (the earlier rule was six). It wasn't until 1889 that four balls become the standard for a walk. Even though this scorer bears an 1890 copyright date, it was probably designed much earlier, which is why it is still numbered for five balls. This is one of only a few examples of this novel scorer that we have seen and the first we have offered. The scorer (3.75 x 5.25 inches; unfolded) displays moderate wear and is in Very Good to Excellent condition overall. Reserve $200. Estimate (open).

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