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”)

Old Cardboard

Old Cardboard

Check out this well-organized collection of 500 sets of baseball cards, each over 50 years old. Browsable by type a… [read review or visit site]

The Baseball Card Blog

The Baseball Card Blog

Ben Henry's lively vintage baseball card blog, started in January 2006, offers hundreds of great posts on (and pict… [read review or visit site]

Cardboard Junkie

Cardboard Junkie

Dave Campbell's in-depth blog on old baseball (and some football) cards lives up to it's motto: 'do cards, not drug… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Roll up your socks for this Library of Congress collection showcasing hundreds of players on colorful early basebal… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame

A home run for baseball collectors, this site features special online exhibits, ranging from a baseball-uniforms da… [read review or visit site]

Other Great Reference Sites

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Recent News: Baseball Memorabilia

Source: Google News

Vintage baseball team to wrap up season
WISC Madison, August 25th

A Wisconsin historical site's vintage baseball team is getting set to close out its season next month. Related Content. More Recent Stories. Vintage baseball team to wrap up season · What we'll miss about 'Chelsea Lately' · Video shows man shooting...Read more

Photo gallery: Vintage baseball teams square off in Chelsea
The Ann Arbor News, August 24th

The Chelsea Merries and the Detroit River Belles, both vintage baseball teams playing by a unique set of historic baseball rules, faced off in front of an excited crowd in Timbertown Park in Chelsea, Mich. on Saturday, August 23, 2014. Several members...Read more

Beloit Historial Society to host vintage baseball games
Beloit Daily News, August 23rd

“It is what inspired us to host the vintage baseball game and do an exhibit.” The unique broadside and other baseball memorabilia will be displayed in the Elliott-Perring Sports Hall of Fame in coordination with the vintage match. “We have some...Read more

Vintage Baseball: The way it was meant to be played
East Central Minnesota Post Review, August 21st

Matt Carter, executive director of the Dunn County Historical Society and team captain for the Menomonie Blue Caps, will present “Vintage Baseball: The Way it Was Meant to be Played” at 2 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Hay Lake School Museum and Erickson Log ...Read more

Striker up! Vintage baseball match played in Plattsmouth
Fremont Tribune, August 20th

2014-08-20T11:38:00Z 2014-08-20T14:03:41Z Striker up! Vintage baseball match played in PlattsmouthPatti Jo Peterson Managing editor Fremont Tribune. 16 hours ago • Patti Jo Peterson Managing editor · Loading… It was batter up 1860s style as the Cass ...Read more

Ask The Expert: Did A Major League Player Use My Vintage Baseball Bat?
Forbes, August 12th

Question: “At an estate sale [two weekends ago] in Lakeside, California I bought a Harvey Kuenn bat for $5. There was a little bit of sports memorabilia, including what looked like a couple of game-used baseballs, and this bat was just sitting on the...Read more

$1 million 'Antiques Roadshow' discovery: A trove of 1870s Boston baseball ...
Christian Science Monitor, August 12th

LOS ANGELES — The PBS series "Antiques Roadshow" says it hit a home run with a collection of 1870s Boston baseball memorabilia. A trove of signatures and rare baseball cards from Boston Red Stockings players was appraised at $1 million for insurance ...Read more

This Week in Merica Vintage Baseball and Jesse Ventura, August 8th

This is the freedomest blog you'll read all week. More 'Merican than Johnny Manziel roller skating through the Mall of America with a backpack full of Girl Scout cookies while kazooing Miley Cyrus tunes. If you see a terrorist in the wild, just chant...Read more