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    1834 "The Book of Sports" by Robin Carver--Earliest Mention/Image of Baseball. Extraordinarily significant volume appears to add five years to the history of our National Pastime, which has long seen the year 1839 stamped upon its birth certificate. Page thirty-seven of the diminutive (5x6") hardcover text makes a strong case for a rewrite. An excerpt:

    "Base, or Goal Ball.

    This game is known under a variety of names. It is sometimes called 'round ball,' but I believe that 'base,' or 'goal ball' are the names generally adopted in our country. The players divide into two equal parties, and chance decides which shall have first innings. Four stones or stakes are placed from twelve to twenty yards asunder...He tosses the ball gently toward a, on the right of which one of the in-party places himself, and strikes the ball, if possible, with his bat. If he miss three times, or if the ball, when struck, be caught by any of the players on the opposite side, who are scattered about the field, he is out, and another takes his place..."

    Page forty provides a famous woodcut of boys playing baseball on the Boston Commons, the most reproduced of all early baseball images, and the earliest published illustration of a game in progress.

    Fewer than ten copies of this book are known to exist, the scarcity matched (or even exceeded) by the enormous significance. The brown boards exhibit some slight rubbing and toning, but the overall condition is wonderful considering its eighteen decades of existence, with all interior pages exhibiting nothing more than light, inconsequential toning at worst. Housed in custom modern case. A truly thrilling pre-Doubleday and Cartwright relic.

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