Exceedingly rare first edition of De Witt’s Base Ball Umpires Guide, edited by Henry Chadwick (published by Robert De Witt, New York, 1875). This is the first umpire’s guide ever published! It is also the first example we have ever seen, making it one of the scarcest of all nineteenth-century baseball books. As noted in the publisher’s preface, “Although the standard works on Base Ball have hitherto covered nearly every department of the game, so important has the subject of umpiring become that it has been deemed necessary to prepare a special work on the subject, and hence the introduction of The Base Ball Umpire’s Guide, which is this season presented to the fraternity for the first time.” The small, 108-page volume begins with defining the umpire’s duties, and then includes the complete rules of the game. However, after each rule, Chadwick offers specific instruction for umpires regarding their correct interpretation, including examples of situations that may occur and how they should be properly handled. In Chadwick’s introduction, he notes the need for such a guide: “The [umpire] position has become one requiring almost as much special training and instruction to excel in it as that of the most important field position in the game. Indeed, it is far easier to find a fitting occupant for the leading position in a first class professional nine than it is to find a suitable candidate for the onerous position of Umpire.” The book features a few advertising pages at the end, as well as a number of score sheets, two of which record the results of a game (local teams). The book (3.5 x 5.25 inches) displays moderate-to-heavy wear to the blue-cloth boards, including light staining and abrasions. A few stray pencil notations and marks appear on both the interior front and back covers and flyleaves. Both the covers and pages remain firmly bound. In Very Good condition overall.
Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).