Saturday, January 22, 2011

That's a really, really old baseball

By Bill

This morning, my wife happened to be watching a recorded episode of Antiques Roadshow that premiered earlier this month, recorded in Miami Beach. I don't figure we have a large crossover audience with that particular program, so I thought this little beauty was worth drawing to your attention.

The photo to the right (from is a hand-stitched baseball, stamped to commemorate a game that was played on that day indicated, 6/23/59 -- that is, 1859. The appraiser for Roadshow, Chicago's Jasmani Francis, identified the "Atlantic" across the middle as referring to the team the Brooklyn Atlantics, the first champion of the National Association (which had been formed in 1857 but didn't award its first championship until that year, '59), but wasn't able to identify the meaning of the number 29 or "TIME15" on the stamp. (You can watch the initial, as-aired appraisal here.)

Not satisfied with his partial answer, Francis went back and did a little research, and came up with some more info:
I discovered in perusing this history-laden book [the Book of American Pastimes] that "Atlantic 29" and "Time 15" refer to the score of the baseball game that was played on June 23, 1859, between the Brooklyn Atlantics (who were also known as "Atlantic") and the Baltimore Pastime.
That's right, 29-15. Hey, you try catching that little rock-like thing without a glove! I think I'd just step out of the way and wait for it to stop rolling, myself.

Francis' additional research confirmed his opinion of the value of the ball: between $20,000 and $30,000. Commence daydreaming, sports fans.

1 comment:

Yaramah Z said...

Well, I wouldn't recommend playing cricket any time soon. I am amazed at how well they field without gloves. Puts alot of baseball players to shame. (PS I am an Aussie but I do love baseball)