Baseball Magazine, 1908-1920
December 16, 2012 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Baseball Magazine, founded by Jake Morse in 1908, was the first monthly baseball magazine in the United States. The LA84 Foundation has posted free online copies of the first thirteen years of Baseball Magazine.

Some sample pieces (all links pdf):

"Baseball From The Outside," by Homer Croy:

"A few days ago I was talking to a Broadway theatrical star over a planked steak, discussing the whys and wherefores of life. Said this man who has his name in electric bulbs: “Everybody in this world of ours thinks he can do something besides the something that his hand is turned to. I don’t care whether you take Jim Jeffries, the Emperor of China, or the man who struck Billy Patterson—every single one of them down in his heart thinks he can either write, act, or play baseball. If you would take a canvass of the able-bodied men in the United States, you would find only about a half dozen who would admit that they did not believe they could play baseball. And if you would probe deep, these half dozen would admit that they had ambitions.”

"A Blind Pitcher"

"Pardee’s eyes failed him early in the spring. He didn’t dare to put on any glasses, as that, of course, would have given away his trouble to the management, and Al wanted to draw his pay as long as possible. The players soon got wise, but they were good fellows. They liked Pardee, and they all respected his wife, who was a big, strong girl, and such a wild fan that she used to thrash her husband any time a game was lost through his personal fault in pitching or fielding. So Pardee went on through the season, a blind man, just able to make out moving shapes, and seeing the players as gray blurs upon the scenery."

There was gridiron content, too, like "How Yale Deals With Beef and Brains," from the inaugural 1908 volume:

"I'll tell you what is the matter with football," he said to me one day, in aquerulous, complaining voice, "and it's this: a fellow has to be a Ph. D. to play it."
posted by escabeche (8 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Check out these sabermetrics!

The method at present in vogue in the professional baseball leagues for rating pitchers is crude, unjust, and almost ridiculous.
posted by The Ted at 10:29 PM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, thank goodness public domain documents are plastered with annoying, poorly designed watermarks. Call me back when they're willing to digitize the whole historical items before they turn to dust.
posted by jscott at 10:55 PM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

For a long time Baseball Digest issues from before 1963 were available on Google Books because the copyright wasn't renewed and hence those issues are in the public domain even though the publication is still around, but Google seems to have taken them down. I hope someone somewhere archived copies.
posted by XMLicious at 11:36 PM on December 16, 2012

I didn't think I gave a flying fuck about baseball.
Good job.
Suddenly curious.
The watermarks are annoying, but eh... the past exists, and billions of people can read the information. I count that as a six... home run.... try... whatever.
posted by Mezentian at 4:12 AM on December 17, 2012

Thanks, these are great!
posted by PHINC at 6:26 AM on December 17, 2012

Apparently a review of a season in 1907 consisted largely of describing the won loss records of all the teams, the won loss records of each matchup, and listing the players on each team. Thank god sportwriting has evolved. Seriously, I find this fascinating, both for the issues unique to the day, and those with us still (the pointlessness of a pitcher's W-L record).
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:45 AM on December 17, 2012

If you like Baseball Magazine (these are great btw), you might also be interested in Spalding Base Ball Gudes from 1889-1939 available via the Library of Congress.
posted by RabbleRabble at 9:55 AM on December 17, 2012

This article basically suggests ERA and batters' OBP (or batting average? it's hard to tell) as metrics for measuring pitching ability. They're better than win-loss record, at least.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:32 AM on December 17, 2012

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