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1884 Wright & Ditson Batting and Pitching Instructional Manual
Starting Bid - $100.00 , Sold For - $1,527.50
Extremely rare and interesting soft-cover instructional manual (4.75 x 5.75 inches) titled Batting and Pitching , published in 1884 by the well-known sporting goods company Wright & Ditson of Boston, Massachusetts. This is the first example we have ever seen. This profusely illustrated guide, which cost thirty cents (a large sum in those days), appears to have been well worth the money for those wishing to improve their game, as it features the technical advise of two of baseball’s top players at the time: “Honest John” Morrill and Tim Keefe. Morrill has lent his technical support with regard to the batting instructions, while Keefe has consented to share his pitching knowledge with the readers. Full-page woodcut portraits of both Morrill and Keefe are included, as are many woodcut instructional illustrations featuring them in action. One interesting aspect of this manual is that it was printed at a transitional period in the evolution of the game, precisely at the time when overhand pitching and the development of the curve ball helped usher in the modern era of baseball. In its introduction to the batting section, the author notes “But the high throwing of to-day, combined with the most puzzling curves may be truly said to have done away almost entirely with scientific batting…The batter is fast acquiring the art of mastering curve pitching, and the probability is that during the present season the batting will be better and stronger that it was last season.” The manual also addresses the controversy of who invented the curve ball, giving credit here, “By common assent,” to Candy Cummings. The thirty-page manual includes numerous illustrations and short biographies of both Morrill and Keefe. The covers display only the slightest handling wear and the manual is in overall Excellent to Mint condition. Reserve $100. Estimate $200/$400. SOLD FOR $1,527.50
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