Mar 10, 2020 - Sale 2533

Sale 2533 - Lot 219

Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
THE FIRST BASEBALL SHEET MUSIC (SPORTS--BASEBALL.) Blodgett, J.R. The Baseball Polka. 5 pages. folio, 13 1/4 x 10 inches, disbound; moderate foxing, inked page numbers stamped in upper corner, minor wear. Buffalo, NY: Blodgett & Bradford, 1858

Additional Details

"The earliest known published baseball sheet music, a polka written for piano"--Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218. The title page is illustrated with an engraving of crossed bats and a ball, and the title is set within a baseball diamond with base sacks at the corners. The work is dedicated to the Flour City Base Ball Club of Rochester by the Niagara Base Ball Club of Buffalo. The composer and publisher John Randolph Blodgett (1830-1873) was a member of the Niagara nine.
The story behind this song is told in Peter Morris, Base Ball Pioneers, pages 101-7. Rival clubs in this early amateur period would often stage elaborate receptions for visiting teams. The Rochester nine had thrown a nice banquet for Buffalo early in the season. When Rochester returned the visit to close out the season, they were treated to a banquet by the Buffalo nine, complete with an elaborate series of toasts, an orchestra--and this original composition in their honor. 3 copies in OCLC, and none others traced at auction.