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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
The Baseball Card Blog
Baseball Cards 1887-1914
Baseball Hall of Fame
Other Great Reference Sites
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Recent News: Baseball Memorabilia
Source: Google News
Players of vintage baseball seek to revive Middlesex County clubEast Brunswick Sentinel, June 30th
The Elizabeth Resolutes take on the Brooklyn Atlantics in old-fashioned garb. The vintage baseball teams play by the 19th-century rules of the teams they are emulating. The game has changed a lot since those days, when players didn't wear mitts and the ...Read more
A vintage baseball collection built on memoriesChicago Tribune, June 29th
Sports memorabilia collector Mike Osacky holds a 1945 World Series baseball signed by the Chicago Cubs at his North Side home, the Cubs lost to the Detroit Tigers and have not been to a World Series since. Thursday June 18, 2015. Osacky is a serious ...Read more
Railroaders beat Biscuits in annual vintage baseball gameSturgis Journal, June 24th
Punch, when it was needed, enabled the Elkhart County Railroaders to defeat the Sturgis Biscuits by a 3 to 2 score in one of the most gripping games of the season at Franks Park Wednesday evening. The visiting Locomotive men rebounded in the final...Read more
Vintage baseball returns to Plainfield next springSayreville Suburban, June 23rd
While vacationing in Colorado about 20 years ago, Paul Salomone saw a documentary on vintage baseball; little did he know it would turn into a vocation of sorts. Salomone's latest venture is the Central Base Ball Club of Plainfield. The new team will...Read more
Photos: Play ball! Vintage Baseball in Fort OglethorpeChattanooga Times Free Press, June 20th
Staff photo by Doug Strickland Lightfoot player Deaurhan Crawford pitches to Stewart's Creek player Skeeter Wells during their Vintage Base Ball game Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. Vintage baseball is played using Civil War era rules...Read more
Ashland celebration will include vintage baseball gameMansfield News Journal, June 18th
ASHLAND – A vintage baseball game will be held in Ashland at 1 p.m. on July 4 as part of the Ashland Bicentennial Celebration. The game will be played in the Launch Area at Freer Field during the Balloonfest celebration and will feature the Mansfield ...Read more
Max Schumacher's amazing lifetime collection of baseball memorabiliaIndianapolis Star, June 16th
"I have never been a collector." That statement by Max Schumacher would leave anyone visiting the Indians Suite at Victory Field incredulous. The room is adorned with cases of autographed baseballs from nearly every Indianapolis Indians team dating...Read more
Vintage baseball comes to the RangeHibbing Daily Tribune, June 9th
CHISHOLM — No mitts, narrow bats, balls made with one piece of leather instead of two and the one-bounce rule were the name of the game Saturday at Minnesota Discovery Center (MDC). More than 50 people showed up to either play or watch as the ...Read more