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'Laws of Base Ball' Documents on Earliest Rules Go for $3.26M

Image: 'Laws of Base Ball' Documents on Earliest Rules Go for $3.26M

The 1857 documents titled “Laws of Base Ball.” (Leslie Larsen Bird/SCP Auctions via AP)

By    |   Monday, 25 Apr 2016 11:00 AM

The "Laws of Base Ball," a 158-year-old cache of documents laying out some of the original rules of the game and written by the creator of the shortstop position, sold for $3.26 million on Sunday morning, said to be the third highest price paid for sports memorabilia, reported ESPN.

The purchaser of the documents wanted to remain anonymous, said California-based SCP Auctions, which specializes in sports memorabilia.

The reported price tag only trails the $4.4 million for Babe Ruth's 1920 New York Yankees jersey and the $4.3 million paid for Naismith's Rules of Basketball, said ESPN.

"The world of sports has known few transcendent foundational documents that have surfaced in original form for public offering," said the SCP Auctions website.

"… Among baseball historians, some scholars have long wondered about the possible existence of a document of parallel importance in their field, one that set the course for a burgeoning yet unfettered game to blossom into America's National Pastime. Authored in 1857 by Daniel Lucius 'Doc' Adams, president of the New York Knickerbockers, 'The Laws of Base Ball' is that document."

The documents stipulated how the game was played in 1856, including that the ball could not weigh less than 5¾ ounces and the bat could be of any length but no more than 2½ inches at its widest part. It also established that the game would be played with four bases set 30 yards apart, with each base being one square foot.

Adams, whose nickname came because he was an actual East Coast physician, played a primitive version of the game in the 1930 and actually invented the shortstop position, according to CBS News.

"He played every other position on the field except pitcher at various times, too, batted left-handed, and made the balls the club used," noted CBS News. "It's difficult to know who baseball's best players were at the time, but his prominence and longevity suggest he was one of them."

"Adams served several stints as president of the Knickerbockers, which in 1857 hosted a convention of 14 New York-area clubs to codify the rules of the game. It's the decisions of that convention that led to the recently verified documents, and to the game we now recognize as baseball." 

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The "Laws of Base Ball," a 158-year-old document laying out some of the original rules of the game and written by the creator of the shortstop position, sold for $3.26 million on Sunday morning, said to be the third highest price paid for sports memorabilia.
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2016-00-25
Monday, 25 Apr 2016 11:00 AM
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