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UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES

Professional (Major League) Baseball Rule Books

The National League baseball rule books listed below were discovered among the records of the University of Maryland System President’s Office in 1993. They represent a priceless piece of baseball history. These rule books are some of the first of their kind ever to be published; baseball pitching great and sports equipment magnate Alfred G. Spalding began publishing the rule books in 1877. But they are more than just rule books: they also contain National League meeting minutes, information about National League teams, including schedules and statistics, records of the National League's dealing with rival leagues, and a wealth of information about the Spalding Sporting Goods Co. Additionally, the Maryland copies appear to have an amazing pedigree: one of the books bears the signature of Nicholas E. Young, National League President from 1885-1902, and another of his son Robert, who served the National League as Secretary. Several of the books also appear to be annotated in Nicholas Young's handwriting. They have been digitized by the University of Maryland Libraries’ Digital Reformatting Unit as a contribution to the online history of the national past-time and to honor the legacy of baseball on the College Park campus.

Baseball was the first intercollegiate sport played on the campus by the then Maryland Agricultural College cadets. On June 5, 1869, students at the college, under the name “Vernon Club” took on the “Star Club” of Laurel in front of “quite a number of ladies and gentlemen present to witness the friendly struggle," according to an account in the Baltimore Sun. Unfortunately the students lost by over 20 runs. Seven days later, the Aggies traveled to Annapolis to take on St. John’s College, suffering another drubbing, 34-4.

Although the University of Maryland’s baseball tradition did not have a very auspicious beginning, over 20 Terps have made it to the major leagues, including Charlie “King Kong” Keller, the only Terp ever to play in the All-Star Game and the World Series.