This post is by Michael Apfeldorf from the Library of Congress.
The 2019 World Series has arrived! As the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros square off for this year’s championship, you and your students can visit the Library of Congress online to explore how the game has evolved.
Ninety-five years ago, “Miss Elsie Tydings had the distinction of purchasing the first ticket sold for a World Series in the National Capital. She was no. 1 in the 1st line this morning.” As today’s fan scour online websites looking for tickets, it might be interesting to reflect on how ticket acquisition has changed over the years, or how ticket prices have climbed.
Students can also have fun looking at historic baseball cards from the Library’s collections. This 110 year old baseball card features a Houston baseball team that played over 50 years before the Astros became a Major League franchise in 1962. Students might reflect on the different portrait style of the card, as well as the fact that it was produced by the American Tobacco Company as a form of advertising – something that we certainly do not see coming out of today’s professional leagues!
The Library of Congress has many more resources related to the game. Here are a few links to find more:
Major Baseball Collections
- Benjamin K. Edwards baseball card collection, including 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914.
- Baseball sheet music, featuring 147 items of sheet music that reference baseball from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century.
- By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s , commemorating the achievements of the first African American in the twentieth century to play baseball in the major leagues.
- Spalding Base Ball Guides, 1889-1939, the premier publication of its day for the game of baseball, featuring statistics, photographs, analysis, and more.
- The Branch Rickey Papers, approximately 1,750 baseball scouting reports from the 1950s and 1960s.
- Baseball Americana Exhibition at the Library of Congress, featuring items from the Library of Congress collections and other institutions tracing the game from it’s origins to the present.
We hope you will enjoy the 2019 World Series as well as exploring the Library’s resources on the game’s history!