1871 Mort Rogers Scorecard
Just over thirteen decades ago baseball was experiencing a frenzy of "firsts." The National Association was born, the first professional baseball league. The first great team, the 1869 Cincinnati Reds, was scattered to the wind, with many star players finding themselves in new homes. And the first baseball scorecard, and easily the most aesthetically impressive, debuted. Offered here is the finest example extant of the Mort Rogers scorecard, scored for a game pitting the Boston Red Stockings against the Washington Olympics. The match took place in Cincinnati, home to neither team, but a place where promoters were assured to draw a good crowd due to the several ex-Reds in the game, and the fact that the town did not have a National Association team. We have been able to retain a photocopy of the newspaper with coverage of the game in question, which matches exactly the hand-penciled scoring inside the Mort Rogers card. Rosters as follows: Olympics-Waterman, Force, Mills, Allison, Glenn, Leonard, Brainard, Hall, Berthrong. Boston-Barnes, Birdsall, McVey, Jackson, Harry Wright, Gould, Schafer, Cone, Spaulding. Note that the rookie right fielder, David Birdsall, appears on the cover of the 3.5x5" scorecard, and that the real, sepia-toned photo is affixed to the face and would be worth a mint solely as a piece of 1870's baseball photography. The fabulous and intricate artwork surrounding is no less impressive. We have to assume that this card was scored by the umpire-note that his signature is on the line marked as such-likely making this the official scorecard for the game in question. This is only the cherry on top of an exceptional sundae however. Not even the condition can disappoint, as the absence of creases, tears or staining sets the piece firmly in the realm of EX-MT. Acquired from the family of famed writer and humorist James Thurber, with their LOA.