MLB‘s founding documents are hitting the auction block this spring as SCP Auctions is handling yet another historic sale.
This time, it’s a 74-page hand-written artifact — the original constitution of The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs — that outlines its objectives. Among them are to “encourage, foster and elevate the game of baseball, enact and enforce proper rules for the exhibition and conduct of the game, to make baseball playing respectable and honorable, to protect and promote the mutual interests of professional baseball clubs and professional baseball players and to establish and regulate the ‘Baseball Championship of the United States.'”
This follows the sale of the 1857 “Laws of Base Ball” for $3.26 million one year ago today by the Laguna Niguel, Calif.-based company
Update: The documents sold for $3.26 million.
Dr. James Naismith‘s “Rules of Basketball” from 1891 sold for $4.3 million, while the “Rules of Soccer” from 1859 sold for $1.4 million.
What might previously unknown 1857 baseball documents fetch?
That’s what we’ll find out soon via SCP Auctions as a set of “Laws of Base Ball” documents from 1857 — documents that pre-date Alexander Cartwright‘s contributions to the game — will hit the market in April.
The author here is Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams, who was the President of the New York Knickerbockers, and the documents’ origin has been researched by John Thorn, who has been the official MLB historian since 2011. The documents note guidelines such as the length of base paths, number of players on the field, a nine-inning game and more.
“When Doc Adams set to work in late 1856, none of these aspects of the game were settled,” Thorn said. “This was some seven years after Cartwright had left New York for Hawaii, never to return. For his role in making baseball the success it is, Doc Adams may now be counted as first among the Founding Fathers of Baseball.
“No earlier baseball manuscript of this significance has ever come onto the open market,” Thorn said. “In 1857, baseball made its great leap forward, and these are the documents that reveal what it was like to be present at the creation.”