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“The Sporting News” First Issue

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“The Sporting News” First Issue

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As professional baseball geared for the onset of 1886’s schedules, there appeared a new sports periodical, one taking root in St. Louis. A couple other fledgling weeklies were already in circulation – most notably “The Sporting Life” – but none enjoyed a broad geographical circulation. In St. Louis, though, was this six-page newspaper calling itself “The Sporting News.” It promised readers that it would be available on a weekly basis, and it implicitly postured itself as a journalistic source most dedicated to baseball. Here then, is one of the surviving issues from that celebrated publication’s first printing. Its first page bears the title, delivered in that most familiar and visually captivating English Gothic font. Then we muse in the discovery of the nonchalant detail, “Vol. 1, No. 1”, followed by “St. Louis, Mo. March 17, 1886.” For all practical purposes, the articles in this first edition are editorials. The first page serves a generous treatment of Chicago’s White Stockings and their star-laden roster of Cap Anson, John Clarkson and Mike Kelly. Elsewhere on page 1, we note that a measure of optimism is expressed for Harry Wright and his Phillies. And in yet another column, the gossip from New York has it that the Mets are burdened in the difficulty of signing Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe and Mickey Welch among others. Continuing to the internal pages, we may care to peruse little superfluous notes on cycling, pugilism, the more remote corners of baseball, or the many brevities – which merely serve as idle meringue. As compelling as the front page is, we’re equally entertained by the back page. It was reserved for advertising, much of which is illustrated. All of it is regionally St. Louis. Several of these advertisers dealt in equipment and news accommodating that irrepressible rage – “base ball” – convincing testimony of the game’s burgeoning popularity. This piece has been quarter-folded, as is to be expected. Its one horizontal and one vertical folds are routinely evident, but they haven’t induced any damage to obstruct or frustrate the text. There are areas in these pages – especially at the edges and corners – that have become brittle over the many years. A few small pieces have chipped, yet none of the text or imagery has been compromised. As evidenced in our photo of this relic, it has mildly discolored in a few places. Again, none of the print has been obscured to impede perception. Finally, there are no meaningful separations at the hinges. All in all, this is a remarkable piece – one worthy of a finer museum feature. It must be considered that very few of these were printed in the first place. But then we must rationalize the staggering opposition to its survival. After all, is there any consumer good more depreciating or more deliberately perishable than a newspaper?

Baseball,Cap,Equipment,Photo  Buck Ewing,Harry Wright,John Clarkson,Mickey Welch,Mike Kelly,Tim Keefe

Auction End: 30-Jul-05  Post Views: 3721

Price; $0.00 – $1,000.00




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