Baseball Advertising Hits it Out of the Park

The following is a guest post by Jan Grenci, Reference Specialist for Posters in the Prints and Photographs Division – as well as a long-suffering Pittsburgh Pirates fan.

For almost as long as the game has been played, baseball imagery has been used to advertise a wide variety of products. These items from the Prints and Photographs Division are in a league of their own!

Would the well-dressed fan be grandstanding if he or she wore these hat bands and collars to a game?

The Wick fancy hat bands. Cheer up - show your colors. Poster (chromolithograph), c1910. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18476

The Wick Fancy Hat Bands. Cheer up – Show your Colors. Poster (chromolithograph), c1910. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18476

The Base Ball Collar. Lithograph copyrighted by Stiefel & Co., c1869. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.17529

The Base Ball Collar. Lithograph copyrighted by Stiefel & Co., c1869. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.17529

No one would be caught flat-footed if they were polkaing to these tunes:

Home run polka. Composed by Mrs. Bodell of Washington, and respectfully dedicated to the National Baseball Club of Washington, D.C. Lithograph by L. N. Rosenthal, 1867. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.19174

Home run polka. Composed by Mrs. Bodell of Washington, and respectfully dedicated to the National Baseball Club of Washington, D.C. Lithograph by L. N. Rosenthal, 1867. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.19174

Base Ball Polka. Lithograph published by C.F. Escher, 1867. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.09564

Base Ball Polka. Lithograph published by C.F. Escher, 1867. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.09564

From out of left field come these ads for pest extermination:

"Sure Catch" sticky fly paper. Chromolithograph, between 1853 and 1898. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18586

“Sure Catch” sticky fly paper. Chromolithograph, between 1853 and 1898. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18586

Use Getz cockroach and bed bug exterminators, sold by all druggists. Chromolithograph, between 1870 and 1890. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18408

Use Getz cockroach and bed bug exterminators, sold by all druggists. Chromolithograph, between 1870 and 1890. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18408

And finally, these two posters advertising the game itself cover all the bases:

[Stock poster showing runner sliding past catcher] Chromolithograph by Strobridge Lith. Co., c1897. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.09337

[Stock poster showing runner sliding past catcher] Chromolithograph by Strobridge Lith. Co., c1897. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.09337

Biddefords vs. Portlands Granite St. grounds, Biddeford, Friday, May 22. Lithograph and letterpress print published by John B. Sage, 1885. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pga.08978

Biddefords vs. Portlands Granite St. grounds, Biddeford, Friday, May 22. Lithograph and letterpress print published by John B. Sage, 1885. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pga.08978

Ultimately, I don’t know if any of these ads were a hit or if they struck out with consumers, but they sure are fun to look at!

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