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Collecting Baseball Scorecards
By John Sullivan
( Article orginally published December 1957 )
At the conclusion of the baseball games you saw in the last season's contest what did you do with the scorecard? I imagine it was cast aside. This writer is one fan who not only retains his copy from games he sees in Chicago, but spends countless hours before, during, and after the baseball season, searching for these forgotten mementoes from our national game.
Few fans realize that the scorecard is the only official souvenir published by the clubs that signifies a game has been played. The scorecard contains players' names and their positions for both the visiting and home clubs, a roster of umpires, the schedule, ticket information and game times. This basic information can be given in the four-page type scorecard. But many teams issue a multipaged illustrated booklet which features photographs of star players and the manager and his staff along with brief sketches pertaining to their background. Several go a step further and print batting and pitching statistics.
When I began collecting scorecards I did so with the primary purpose of keeping a permanent record of the players and managers. However, as the years rolled by I realized that these relics had a far more interesting and unique souvenir value, a history of the changing times and customs of the various sections of our country.
Thumbing through Cubs and White Sox scorecards I see the then new seventeen story Chicago Tribune building (1903), and a view from a 200 foot high tower of the Edward Hines Lumber Company yard (1911) as local attractions. A 1926 Chicago Cubs booklet highlights a travel ad with a picture of a steamboat. Pictures of obsolete hotels, banks, cars, trucks, trolleys and furniture are too numerous to mention here. A further search of the advertisements will produce amusing political ads, a Locomobile for twelve thousand dollars, a company that billed their yeast as the original vitamin food, and notices that newspapers sold for a penny, a trolley ride for a nickel and a seven day Lake Michigan cruise would cost you just $40.00, in 1915, of course.
As for a record keeping device the scorecard is invaluable. How many members of the champion Chicago Cub team of 1938 could be named by even the most astute baseball fanatic? Probably ten at the most. It would take me thirty seconds to locate the entire roster. You see I have their 1938 scorecard on file.
Next time you are leaving a ball park hang on to that scorecard. It will make an interesting souvenir tomorrow.