The first recorded baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ in 1846 between the NYC Knickerbocker Base Ball Club and the New York Baseball Club (the Knickerbockers lost). By 1858, the National Association of Base Ball Players was formed, consisting of around 30 small teams. After the Civil War, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first professional fully-paid team.

Over the next hundred years, a number of leagues emerged, including the National Association, American League, National League, Federal League, and Continental (items from defunct leagues are highly sought after today).

Baseball cards are widely collected today. The earliest incarnations (1840s) were cardboard-backed photos of local players and teams, which came in cabinet card size and the smaller carte-de-visite size. Commercial baseball cards emerged in the late 1860s when a sporting goods dealer called Peck & Snyder printed cards with an ad on one side and a baseball player on the other. Within a few years, cards began appearing in packages of Old Judge tobacco and other tobacco, candy and chewing gum brands.

Other promotional items such as baseball programs became popular in the 1890s. Advertisers bought space on these score cards, and cards from famous games (e.g. the World Series) are highly sought-after. Other collectible promotional items include gloves, statuettes, plaques, posters, and pins.

And of course, there's a huge market for authentic baseball memorabilia linked to specific players, including greats such as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, and Willie Mays. They produced plenty of signed baseballs, bats, gloves, photos, and other autographs. But be careful, as fake sports memorabilia is a lucrative business.

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Baseball Cards 1887-1914

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Baseball Hall of Fame

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Recent News: Baseball Memorabilia

Source: Google News

After the Last Bell: WF teacher finds his fun in world of comics, cards
INFORUM, December 21st

Another 20,000 cards, picked up in a recent deal, await culling in a rec room overwhelmed by baseball memorabilia. “I ran into a deal this weekend. It seems to pile up,” the 38-year-old said, dancing around his find to get from the rec room to the...Read more

Vintage baseball league wants two Chattanooga teams in 2015
WRCB-TV, December 20th

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB)-- Tennessee's Vintage Baseball Association says it plans on adding two new teams for 2015, both planned for the Scenic City. League President Trapper Haskins tells Channel 3 Sports that the league's board voted last month to ...Read more

Bergen County prosecutor offers refunds on sports items after questions about ..., December 19th

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli has offered to refund payments made by anyone who bought confiscated baseball memorabilia auctioned off earlier this year because he does not want people to lose confidence in his office after a news report that...Read more

Burglar breaks into Safeco, steals baseball memorabilia
KOMO News, December 19th

SEATTLE -- Seattle police say they've arrested the man who broke into Safeco Field early Thursday morning and made off with bags of Mariners memorabilia, including a game-worn Edgar Martinez jersey. Police say a burglar hopped a fence at the ballpark ...Read more

Bergen prosecutor calls TV station fake baseball memorabilia report 'shoddy ..., December 18th

Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli is answering accusations by a local TV station that he knew seized baseball memorabilia auctioned off by his office earlier this year was bogus by reaching out directly to the buyers. Besides slamming PIX11's ...Read more

Baseball memorabilia up for auction tells the story of the Birmingham Barons
FOX6 WBRC -, December 3rd

An auction house in Rainbow City is already said to be getting interest from all over the country in a unique online auction featuring rare baseball memorabilia. The more than 800 items come from the estate of longtime Birmingham Barons manager Glynn ...Read more

'Mother lode' of baseball memorabilia, historical records selling at auction
PR Newswire (press release), December 2nd

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Dec. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The history of the nation's oldest active baseball park is in many ways the history of American baseball. Yet, much of the history of Birmingham's Rickwood Field has been hidden from the eyes of historians ...Read more

Rare Baseball Memorabilia Stolen From Burlington Home
Vermont Public Radio, November 26th

A Burlington collector is offering a $30,000 reward for information that leads to the return of some very rare baseball memorabilia from the early 1900s, according to people familiar with the theft of the collection. According to a release from the...Read more