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
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Recent News: Baseball Memorabilia
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Colebrookdale Railroad announces 'Vintage Baseball in the Park'The Mercury, August 4th
The Colebrookdale Railroad is getting ready to host a vintage baseball game at Memorial Park — the community is invited to come out and ride through the Secret Valley Line with the players. This historical experience is being presented on Sunday, Aug...Read more
In Gettysburg, vintage baseball teams recreate a 19th-century league of their ownWashington Post, August 3rd
Wearing uniforms that hark back to a bygone era, men spread out on a lush green field. In the distance, a red barn is a dot among slightly rolling hills. To the right, a cornfield can be seen just beyond the open pasture. The game being played seems...Read more
Vintage baseball, Beatles tribute band among offeringsThe Daily News Journal, July 29th
Vintage baseball. SMYRNA – Historic Sam Davis Home, 1399 Sam Davis Road, will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday for the third of four doubleheaders of vintage baseball this summer. The home team Stewart's Creek Scouts will take on the Knoxville ...Read more
Saginaw Old Golds score 27 runs in vintage baseball winMLive.com, July 27th
The Saginaw Old Golds cranked out 49 hits and 27 runs Saturday in a vintage baseball slugfest that netted a 27-20 win over the Wyandotte Stars. Keith Manning, Jerry Endert and Dennis Konuszewski had six hits each for the Old Golds. In his last two...Read more
Sore hands and smiles at Griswold vintage baseball gamesNorwich Bulletin, July 26th
GRISWOLD — It's a safe bet the members of the vintage baseball teams that took the field Sunday had the most-callused hands of anyone at the Griswold athletic field complex. Three teams playing by 1861 rules — no gloves and one umpire, or "referee" ...Read more
Photos: Somonauk Blue Stockings Vintage BaseballDeKalb Daily Chronicle, July 21st
Danielle Guerra - firstname.lastname@example.org Somonauk Blue Stockings third baseman Brad "Brooklyn" Rodgers grabs a one-hopper during the third inning against the Waterman 9 during the Waterman Lions Summerfest and Antique Tractor Show on ...Read more
The old ballgame: Ghost town hosts vintage baseball tournamentCasper Star-Tribune Online, July 17th
Lander's Ray Malek takes practice pitches between innings during a vintage baseball game between Lander and Riverton on July 12 during Gold Rush Days in South Pass City. 2015-07-17T17:00:00Z 2015-07-20T09:23:02Z The old ballgame: Ghost town ...Read more
Vintage baseball takes Barrington back in timeChicago Daily Herald, July 5th
The front lawn of Barrington High School served as the stage for a vintage baseball contest in honor of the village's 150th birthday. The game pitted the Chicago Salmon against the Creston Regulators, a team based in a town 30 miles south of Rockford...Read more