First edition of this book of games for American boys in the 19th century, with an early description of baseball.
THE PLAY GROUND; OR, OUTDOOR GAMES FOR BOYS
"This game, which is Rounders, or Town Ball, reduced to a system, and governed by scientific rules, is a graceful and invigorating pastime, and bids fair to become to this country what cricket is to England – the national game."
This comprehensive rulebook serves as an instruction manual for such classic childhood games as Baste the Bear, Hook 'em Sniffey, Duck on the Rock, and Teetotum. Most notably, it includes a thorough ten-page discussion of "Base-Ball," illustrated with woodcuts and diagrams. With instructions for measuring off and preparing the ground; styles of batting and grips; outfielder positions and duties; description of all equipment; and the Rules and Regulations adopted by the National Association of Base-Ball Players in New York, December 9, 1863. This book was published shortly after the first work devoted exclusively to baseball, but before the formation of national leagues and the subsequent first history of the sport. Numerous variants of this edition have been documented, with no priority established: this copy contains 5pp. of ads at the front and 18pp of ads at rear. THE PLAY GROUND captures the point of baseball's transition from popular amusement, with numerous regional variants, to the universal, codified and standardized national pastime.
New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, (1866). Full title: The play ground, or, Out-door games for boys: a book of healthy recreations for youth: containing upwards of a hundred amusements, including games of activity and speed; games with toys, marbles, tops, hoops, kites, balls; and full instructions in archery, cricket, croquet, and base ball. 7'' x 4.5'' Blue quarter cloth with original pictorial boards. 124 woodcut illustrations. , 4, -120,  pages (complete). Ownership signature in pen to front free endpaper, with 1918 date stamp. Some scuffing to extremities. Scattered faint foxing and touches of soil.
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