This original 1869 First Edition of CHANGING BASE (or WHAT EDWARD RICE LEARNT AT SCHOOL) by author William EVERETT was published by Lee And Shepard of Boston and is considered the first book ever published about baseball.
Small octavo (4-1/8″ x 6-7/8″) in original green cloth with a gilt spine decoration consisting of a banner, a bat, and a ball; , 6-282 pages. THE FIRST NOVEL PUBLISHED TO PROMINENTLY FEATURE THE SPORT OF BASEBALL. Illustrated with four full-page plates, including one action depiction of a baseball game. Published the same year as the first professional team was born, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, this book, CHANGING BASE, for young readers follows its hero through school where he joins a “base ball club,” otherwise known as “the nine.” Although baseball had been mentioned previously, though sparingly, this was the first book where the infant sport was central to the story. It wasn’t until 15 years later (1884) that a book was published that was entirely devoted to baseball (OUR BASE BALL CLUB AND HOW IT WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP.) There are some fascinating references in CHANGING BASE to the still evolving sport, including the “new” rule of calling balls and strikes. The author, who was elected to Congress in 1893, was the son of a more famous politician, Edward Everett, best known for giving the “other” speech at Gettysburg. The cover is well worn and the spine is torn and not very strong. One loose page. A few pages of CHANGING BASE have torn or missing corners. Absolutely no text is missing. Many pages are stained with age and there are pencil and pen markings on the first leaf and last few (no markings anywhere in the actual text of the novel). All in all, this book is not in good shape, but it is the original first printing from 1869 and completely readable. This is truly a piece of American history.
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