"THE AMERICAN GAME PAR EXCELLENCE": FIRST EDITION OF SPALDING'S HISTORY OF BASEBALL, PRESENTATION COPY WARMLY INSCRIBED IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION TO HIS COUSIN
SPALDING, Albert G. America's National Game. Historic Facts Concerning the Beginning, Evolution, Development and Popularity of Base Ball. New York: American Sports Publishing, 1911. Thick octavo, original blue pictorial cloth gilt recased. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $8500.
First edition, presentation copy, of this essential baseball history, warmly inscribed by the author in the year of publication: "To my cousin George Smith with my compliments, A.G. Spalding, New York, Oct. 13. 1911." With over 100 full-page illustrations and four fold-out plates (two printed on both sides), including frontispiece and panoramic views of the Polo Grounds, Shibe Park, Comiskey Park and Forbes Field.
"History of the game by one of the pioneer giants" (Grobani 6:9). Spalding transformed baseball "from its dual origins as either a gentlemen's club or a rowdy working-class pastime into a popular, commercial, and professional sport… [His] newspaper obituaries across the nation recognized Spalding, who had been a part of nearly every major event in baseball's history, as the father of what was now considered to be 'America's game" (ANB). During his career, Spalding also established a worldwide sporting goods empire and founded Spalding's Official National League Base Ball Guide. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. Illustrated with historic photographs and numerous sketches by noted cartoonist Homer C. Davenport. Without rare original dust jacket. Smith 691; 19585. Howes S804. Extensive owner's pencil annotation below Spalding's inscription, describing early chain of provenance.
Interior fine, gilt cloth fine and bright. A beautiful copy, scarce inscribed.