SABR

Thorn: Unraveling a 19th century baseball mystery

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on January 30, 2012:

Over the course of the past month or so I have located two new game-action images of Jim Creighton, the most famous player of baseball’s early period. (For my brief biography, see http://goo.gl/fvJdi.) Further snooping has revealed some truly startling information about the game’s most celebrated and valuable image: the 1866 Currier & Ives lithograph “American National Game of Baseball: Grand Match for the Championship at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken, N.J.” Long believed to depict the 1865 match between the Atlantic of Brooklyn and the Mutual of New York, it has turned out be something else entirely: a fantasy game, one that the baseball world desired but that never was played.

The path of discovery began with an intriguing post to SABR’s 19th century baseball committee. Bob Tholkes wrote:

An August 1, 1860 ad by a book seller in the Buffalo Daily Courier of August 1, 1860 mentioned that pictures of the recent match between the Atlantic and Excelsior (played on July 19) appeared in the current edition of Demorest’s New-York Illustrated News, which would have been the issue of July 29.

Read the full article here: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2012/01/30/unraveling-a-baseball-mystery/

This page was last updated January 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm MST.

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