The Bat and Ball, Discovered at State Library

In 1990, at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford, a local historian named Linda Gradofsky discovered an original copy of the world’s first known baseball periodical, The Bat and Ball. The May 1, 1867 publication “Devoted to our National Game” was the “Second Season” of the series. Published without photographs or advertisements, the paper was written for Hartford’s earliest baseball fans. Columns included season previews of clubs from around the nation as well as scores from recent games played.

The paper sold for five cents per copy on the streets of Hartford, Connecticut and fourteen issues a year was delivered for fifty cents to subscribers. The Bat and Ball featured ”base ball” happenings throughout the country (and a column on cricket) amid the post-Civil War era. Baseball was still in its infancy, though it was becoming increasingly popular and fans demanded closer coverage of the sport. Hartford was on the forefront of baseball fandom.

And yet, somehow…the author(s) are unknown to this day. The Bat and Ball mystery.

Here’s the Second Season of The Bat and Ball:

The Bat and Ball, page 1, May 1, 1867.
The Bat and Ball, page 2, May 1, 1867.
The Bat and Ball, page 3, May 1, 1867.
The Bat and Ball, page 4, May 1, 1867.

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