Doc Adams' Laws of Base Ball to exceed $1m?

Doc Adams' The Laws of Base Ball is expected to sell for in excess of $1m at SCP Auctions.

The document, which dates to 1857, is the first to set out the rules of the modern game.

Laws Baseball Adams
Doc Adams was one of the founding fathers of baseball

Adams was president of the New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club at the time. He presented it to 14 teams from the New York area in a convention that same year.

While Alexander Cartwright has always been considered the father of the game due to his codifying of the Knickerbocker Rules, Adams deserves credit for its development.

The Laws of Base Ball lays out such key norms as the distance between the pitcher and the batter, and the setting of the base paths at 90 feet.

As baseball historian John Thorn explains: "When Doc Adams set to work in late 1856, none of these aspects of the game were settled.

"This was some seven years after Cartwright had left New York for Hawaii, never to return.

"For his role in making baseball the success it is, Doc Adams may now be counted as first among the Founding Fathers of Baseball."

The significance of the text has only recently been recognised. It last sold for $12,650 in a 1999 auction.

Other founding sports documents have realised exceptional sums in the past, with Naismith's Original Rules of Basketball (1891) selling for $4.3m and the Original Rules of Soccer (1859) making $1.4m.

Thorn comments: "No earlier baseball manuscript of this significance has ever come onto the open market.

"In 1857, baseball made its great leap forward, and these are the documents that reveal what it was like to be present at the creation."

The online sale will take close on April 23.

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