A nice find today:
Our Base Ball Club and How It Won the Championship, by Noah Brooks. (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1884). From the Edith Wetmore collection of children’s books.
When he was eighteen years old, Noah Brooks (1830-1903) left his hometown of Castine, Maine, to study landscape painting in Boston. Soon he began writing essays and humorous articles and accepted a position with the Boston Atlas, the first of many newspaper jobs. As the Washington correspondent for the Sacramento Union, Brooks became a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, and a regular White House visitor; in fact, only a bad head cold prevented Brooks from accepting an invitation to the presidential box at Ford’s Theatre the night Lincoln was shot.
Brooks’s Our Base Ball Club and How It Won the Championship (1884) is the first novel devoted entirely to baseball . . . In his introduction to the book, the famous pitcher and sporting goods magnate Albert Spalding [note the ad in the back for his merchandise] of the Chicago Base Ball Nine champions Brooks’s vivid portrayal of ‘the ups and downs, the trials and triumphs, of a base ball club,’ concluding that, “while nothing is really needed to popularize the game, I am sure the story will commend itself to every lover of pure and wholesome literature.”
—Dead Balls and Double Curves: An Anthology of Early Baseball Fiction (2004)
Here is the back cover:
And the Spalding advertisement: