The Joyce Sports Research Collection: Baseball
What follows is a guide to some of the more significant baseball related materials held in Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame. It does not include baseball materials held elsewhere in the Hesburgh Libraries, or in Notre Dame's University Archives. Its purpose is to provide researchers with a convenient overview of Special Collections' resources in this subject area; it does not aspire to be comprehensive. Items listed in these finding aids do not circulate; they may be requested and consulted in the Department of Special Collections, 102 Hesburgh Library, from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. weekdays. Researchers interested in materials specifically pertaining to baseball at Notre Dame should contact University Archives, 607 Hesburgh Library (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Title or collection descriptions on this page are linked to records, inventories, and other appropriate types of finding aid. The dates that follow many of the annual and periodical titles on this page indicate the span of years a given title was published; available holdings are indicated in the linked finding aid. Questions concerning the materials on the page may be directed to the curator of the Joyce Sports Research Collection, George Rugg (email email@example.com; phone 574-631-6506).
For a fuller list of manuscripts relating to basdball held in RBSC, please see The Joyce Sports Research Collection: Manuscripts (Baseball).
Patrons interested in RBSC's baseball materials are welcome to visit the digital exhibit Words on Play: Baseball Literature before 1900 from the Joyce Sports Collection.
RBSC houses an extensive collection of older monographs relating to baseball, including many of the field's scarcest titles. Among these are copies of Newbery's A Little Pretty Pocket-Book (Worcester MA, 1787); Carver's The Book of Sports (Boston, 1834); Van Campen's Base Ball as Viewed by a Muffin (New Bedford MA, 1867); Chadwick's The Game of Base Ball (New York, 1868); Lawson's The Krank (Boston, 1888); Morse's "Sphere and Ash" (Boston, 1888); and Sol White's Official Base Ball Guide (Philadelphia, 1907). All genres of baseball book are represented, including fiction. Most titles in RBSC predate 1970. All items may be searched in the Libraries' online catalog.
Annuals — guide format
Holdings of the Spalding (1876-1939), Reach (1883-1939), Spalding-Reach (1940-41) and Sporting News (1908- ) annual guides. Historically, the guides have sought to provide a narrative and statistical chronicle of the previous year's events in professional baseball, though the Spalding and Reach books generally include some treatment of amateur and semi-pro ball as well. From 1883 to 1891 coverage of the two major leagues was largely divided between Reach (American Association) and Spalding (National League); a similar situation obtained nominally after 1900, with the Reach billing itself as the official guide of the new American League, but the emphasis in coverage is not that marked. Given the frequently excellent editorial content of the guides, they are a convenient source for obtaining a good contemporary overview of a given season.
Holdings of such annual record books as Spalding's Official Base Ball Record (1908-24) and its successor, the Little Red Book of Baseball (1926-32; 1934-71); and the variously titled Sporting News annual record books (1942, 1948- ).
Holdings of Who's Who in Baseball (1912, 1916-); Who's Who in the Major Leagues (1933, 1935-52); and the Sporting News Baseball Register (1940- ). These annuals all emphasize biographical and statistical information on contemporary major leaguers.
Holdings of various annuals emphasizing instructional material. Among these are Hillerich and Bradsby's Famous Slugger Year Book and the extensive Spalding's Athletic Library series, including How to Play Base Ball (1896-98, 1904-40), How to Play First Base (1905-20), How to Play Second Base (1905-20), How to Play Third Base (1905-20), How to Play Short Stop (1905-20), How to Play the Infield and How to Play the Outfield (1905-40), How to Pitch (1905-40), How to Catch (1905-35), How to Run Bases (1905-35), How to Bat (1905-40), How to Umpire (1905-40), How to Organize a League (1919-36), How to Score a Base Ball Game (1911-20), and Official Indoor Base Ball Guide.
Holdings of the Whitman/Dell Major League Baseball (1937-39, 1941-53), an annual notable for its inclusion of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in its 1945 to 1948 editions.
Annuals — magazine format
A collection of magazine format annuals devoted to professional baseball in the United States. Most titles are included on a single finding aid (Baseball: Magazine Format Annuals, Miscellaneous Titles), with issues grouped by season. Street and Smith's Baseball Yearbook (1941- ) has its own specific finding aid.
Annuals -- miscellaneous
- Annual reports of the National Commission, the three-person committee that oversaw organized baseball from 1903 to 1920. These are the personal copies of August "Garry" Herrmann, who chaired the National Commission for the duration of its existence.
Baseball Magazine (1908-57, 1964-65). The premier baseball monthly of the first half of the century. Holdings are very intermittent for the earliest years but strong from 1922.
Baseball Digest (1942- ). Strong holdings of this baseball monthly from the 1940s into the 1990s.
Holdings of several early sporting weeklies emphasizing baseball: The Ball Players' Chronicle and its successor, The American Chronicle of Sports and Pastimes (1867-68), and The National Chronicle (1869-70).
Yearbooks and media guides
Programs and scorecards
A collection of over 2400 major league baseball regular season and exhibition game programs and scorecards. Most of the programs in the collection date from the decades of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s; examples from the first two decades of the 20th century number no more than a half dozen. There are 26 examples from the 19th century: see the holdings for Boston Braves NL; Chicago Cubs NL; Brooklyn Dodgers NL; Philadelphia Phillies NL; Providence Grays NL; Washington Nationals NL; and for the American Association (1882-1891). Finding aids to home game programs for all franchises may be accessed by clicking on the links below:
- Los Angeles Angels / California Angels / Anaheim Angels AL (132)
- St. Louis Browns / Baltimore Orioles AL (95)
- Boston Red Sox AL (127)
- Chicago White Sox AL (179)
- Cleveland Indians AL (154)
- Detroit Tigers AL (98)
- Kansas City Royals AL (9)
- Seattle Pilots / Milwaukee Brewers AL (8)
- Washington Senators (1901-60) / Minnesota Twins AL (56)
- New York Yankees AL (80)
- Philadelphia Athletics / Kansas City Athletics / Oakland Athletics AL (118)
- Washington Senators (1961-71) / Texas Rangers AL (40)
- Toronto Blue Jays AL (1)
- Boston Braves / Milwaukee Braves / Atlanta Braves NL (159)
- Chicago Cubs NL (205)
- Cincinnati Reds NL (76)
- Houston Colt .45s / Houston Astros NL (61)
- Brooklyn Dodgers / Los Angeles Dodgers NL (213)
- Montreal Expos NL (1)
- New York Mets NL (49)
- Philadelphia Phillies NL (117)
- Pittsburgh Pirates NL (88)
- Providence Grays NL (1)
- St. Louis Cardinals NL (100)
- San Diego Padres NL (11)
- New York Giants / San Francisco Giants NL (168)
- Washington Nationals 1886-1889 (8)
- American Association 1882-1891 (10)
A group of 112 World Series programs, spanning the years 1911 to 2010.
A group of 31 major league All-Star Game programs, from 1937 to 2009.
A collection of approximately 2300 minor league baseball programs and scorecards. Programs issued by clubs from all levels of organized baseball, and from all parts of the United States, are included; teams from the Pacific Coast League are especially well represented. The programs date mostly from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, though items ranging in date from the 1890s to the 2000s are included. Finding aids to home game programs for all franchises represented in the collection are currently available, and may be accessed by clicking on the links below. Teams are listed alphabetically, by home city.
- Aberdeen SD to Butte MT
- Caldwell ID to Durham NC
- Elmira NY to Huron SD
- Idaho Falls ID to Knoxville TN
- Lakeland FL to Norwich CT
- Oakland CA to Pulaski VA
- Quad City IA to Roswell NM
- Sacramento CA to Syracuse NY
- Tacoma WA to York PA
- Oversize (Altoona PA - Tacoma WA)
A small collection of earlier college programs and scorecards; most are from eastern schools and date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
A collection of around 400 pieces of baseball related sheet music, ranging in copyright date from 1861 to 1993.
Manuscripts and Non-published Formats
A collection of sixty-four autographed baseballs, 1914-1996. Included are team-signed, group-signed, and single-signature balls; signatures of close to fifty Hall of Famers are represented. An illustrated on-line catalog of elements of this collection may be viewed on this website. Gifts of John J. Evers, Jr; Emmit Jennings; Mike Ravine.
All-American Girls Baseball League Collection. 1943-ca.2000. 9 bound volumes and six containers. A collection of materials on the All-American Girls Baseball League, a women's professional league active in the Midwest from 1943 to 1954. The greater part of the collection consists of records preserved by Dr. Harold T. Dailey (1894-1971), a South Bend, Indiana oral surgeon who served the league's South Bend Blue Sox franchise in various executive capacities. Much of the Dailey material is included in a set of ten loose-leaf notebooks totaling over 1100 leaves; these were apparently intended as a documentary history of the league, and perhaps as source material for a narrative history Dailey never found time to write. Included are minutes of the meetings of the AAGBBL Board of Directors, financial information, and player information and statistics, as well as correspondence, newspaper clippings, printed ephemera, and photographs. Notebooks are arranged chronologically, and cover the full span of the league's history, with an emphasis on the South Bend franchise. The AAGBBL Collection also incorporates other components, including papers of league manager D. C. “Chet” Grant; several groups of player questionnaires; and league-related printed matter. MSSP 0014.
Birmingham Black Barons Records. 1923-1930. 1 vol., 37 cm., 250 leaves, with 200 pages of manuscript entries in various hands; 14 additional manuscripts; 1 clipping. A collection of records, mostly financial, of the Birmingham (Alabama) Black Barons Negro Leagues baseball team, 1923 to 1930. During this period the Barons were an elite black club, affiliated with the Negro Southern League (1920-23, 1926) and the Negro National League (1924-25, 1927-30). The most significant item in the collection is a bound cash book, showing the club's financial accounts with each of its players for the seasons 1926 through 1930. Individual player accounts for a given season typically occupy two facing pages; each credit (usually in the form of salary) and debit (cash advances, equipment charges, fines, and so on) is indicated. Among the many notable players whose accounts appear in the book is Leroy "Satchel" Paige. A few non-player accounts are also present. In addition to the ledger, the collection includes a few team-related letters, receipts, and other records. MSSP 0001.
New York Yankees Sunday Baseball Correspondence. 1915-1928 (bulk 1917-1918). 36 letters and telegrams, some with enclosures; 6 newspaper clippings. Correspondence relating to the New York Yankees' efforts to encourage state legislation (primarily the 1918 Lawson Bill) permitting Sunday baseball in New York. Many of the letters are directed to Yankees president Jacob Ruppert, by politicians responding to the club's inquiries about their stance on the matter. There are also carbon copies of letters from the Yankees, and several items to and from Brooklyn Dodgers president Charles H. Ebbets. MSSP 0010.
Philadelphia Phillies Cash Book. 1934-1940. 1 vol., 45 cm., 151 leaves, with 300 pages of manuscript entries; 34 additional manuscripts. A cash book detailing the finances of the Philadelphia National League baseball club (the Phillies) for 68 consecutive months, November 1934 to June 1940. During these years the team was owned and run by Gerald P. Nugent, and was notable for its poor play, decrepit park, and financial insolvency. Income and expenditures are itemized in daybook form. A typical in-season month—July 1937—contains nearly 100 lines of identified expenditures, some of which are further annotated. These include payroll (players' salaries are lumped together), travel costs, equipment, gate receipt payouts, fees, etc. On the revenue side, there is typically a game-by-game breakdown of income, especially with regard to ticket pricing. Among the book's 30-odd enclosures are receipts for income from high school football games. MSSP 0009.
West Philadelphia Base Ball Club Correspondence. 1866-1867. 43 letters; 1 additional manuscript. This collection consists primarily of letters addressed to the West Philadelphia BBC (organized 6 June 1865) during the season of 1867. Many of these are challenge letters, or letters otherwise concerned with the scheduling of matches. There is also a 6-page letter from the Bachelor BBC of Milford, Delaware, inquiring about the status of a player named Fisher. Most of the correspondents are from the Philadelphia area (including the Olympic, Keystone and Quaker City clubs), though there are also letters from the Atlantics of Brooklyn and the New York Mutuals. Included among the letters is a draft of the West Philadelphia club's letter of application to the National Association of Base Ball Players, the game's first governing body. The corresponding secretary for the West Philadelphia club in 1867 was A. C. Hamer. MSSP 0002.
A collection of 120 open reel audio tapes, most about forty-five minutes, of interviews conducted by Lawrence S. Ritter for his seminal oral history The Glory of Their Times (1966). From 1963 to 1965 Ritter sought out and interviewed players of the 1900-1930 era, editing the resulting tapes into one of the most entertaining and significant of all baseball books. These tapes are copies of the originals, which are now in Cooperstown. Gift of Lawrence S. Ritter.
An accumulation of scrapbooks on American baseball. These consist almost entirely of newspaper clippings from local dailies and sporting weeklies; content includes both off-field developments and game accounts and box scores, with a general emphasis on the professional game at its most elite level. Dates vary, but the greatest emphasis is on the years 1870-1885. Many of the scrapbooks are held only in microform, while in other cases only the paper originals are held.
Research notes and other materials accumulated by Marshall Smelser while writing his 1975 biography of Babe Ruth, The Life That Ruth Built. Included are 1) a file of approximately 1500 index cards, chronologically arranged, indicating the news and feature stories on Ruth that appeared in The New York Times, 1914-1969; 2) a file of approximately 6500 index cards of facts and observations pertaining to Ruth, with sources, arranged by chapter (i. e., in the sequence in which the relevant material appeared in the book); 3) a collection of 74 photographs relating to Ruth, most of which appeared in the book. Smelser was a long-time professor of history at the University of Notre Dame.
Jim Newton Collection on Pete Rose. A collection of materials on the Pete Rose gambling investigation of 1989. These materials, consisting primarily of photocopies of documents and clippings, were assembled in 1989 by journalist Jim Newton of the Fort Hamilton (OH) Press, and acquired by the University Libraries in 1990. Included are copies of the Dowd Report (Major League Baseball's investigation into Rose's activities) with its many attendant volumes of exhibits; legal documents pertaining to the Rose affair; and newspaper clippings tracking the case from March to September, 1989. MSSP 0017.
Johnny Evers Collection. 1906-1976. About 80 items. A small collection of manuscripts, photographs, printed matter, and realia belonging to Hall of Fame second baseman Johnny Evers (1881-1947). Much of the material relates to the exhibition series played in Europe in 1924 by the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox, a series in which Evers participated as White Sox manager. Gift of John J. Evers, Jr, 1977. MSSP 0015.