The great American song “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” is more than a baseball song. Just ask Katie Casey. A young girl madly in love with the game, but also in love with a potential suitor. Yes, the song is actually a love song of sorts. As you know, I’m a big fan of the Library of Congress digital collections so check out this article on America’s second anthem. You may want to enjoy a box of Cracker Jacks while you read.
Baseball is more than just a game. Baseball possesses a history of its own. For many fans, the history of baseball is best learned by those who witnessed the games. Just like today, the media brings the game to fans across the country and really the globe. So you may ask, where am I going with this? If you ever wanted to know how fans got their information about the game prior to the advent of well, technology, then you need to visit the Library of Congress.
The foundations of the game find roots dating to the 1840s. To follow the history of the game is to follow the history of the United States. The Library of Congress possesses collections covering numerous aspects of history. One such collection, American Memory, contains the Spalding Baseball Guides, 1889-1939. While on my usual internet travels, I came across this collection. The Library is currently in the process of digitizing many of the guides published by A.G. Spalding’s publishing company, The American Sports Publishing Company.
The Spalding Baseball Guide of 1930 is digitized into 456 images available for browsing online. Baseball reporting has, and in many ways hasn’t changed over the decades. Looking at the pages and reading the information is a treat.
If you like baseball history, this is something to check out. Spalding wanted to capitalize on the game in a way that was the predecessor to the numerous baseball historical repositories that exist today. His consolidation of baseball knowledge into one guide provides us with a detailed glimpse into the early modern era of the game. If you have the time, or even if you don’t, you should check this out.
Image from LOC.gov.