Whether your favorite baseball team is at the top or the bottom of its division by this point in the season, sports fans (and cultural historians) alike will want to take a close look at this recent digital collection released from the American Memory project at the Library of Congress. The 35 Spalding Base Ball Guides available here were the brainchild of A.G. Spalding, the iconic baseball player, manager, and promoter who founded the well-known sporting-goods manufacturing business and the American Sports Publishing Company. While the Library of Congress holds over 1000 of these different sporting guides, those made available here deal with the sport of baseball and the little-known (at least today) game of indoor baseball. The interesting sport of indoor baseball was invented in 1887 by a group of young men waiting around for the telegraphed results of the Harvard-Yale football game on Thanksgiving Day. What is most interesting is that this game became what is known as softball, a sport that is probably played by more Americans than traditional baseball. The guides here can be searched by keywords, or by browsing the table of contents, and include such sections as How to Become a Base Runner and Indoor Baseball in Canada.
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