Decyphering the Mysterious Baseball Scrapbook: how it came into my hands

Well, the wife said that I should find something fun to do away from cards. She mentioned something about it being “unhealthy” to “obsess” about them. What utter nonsense! But to placate her I’ve been casting around recently, wondering what else might catch my interest…

And then this odd scrapbook fell into my hands.

It happened on a gloomy, cold Saturday evening last December. I received a call from someone that I hadn’t heard from in a number of years. He said that he had run across an item that brought me to mind, and that it was something that he knew I just had to have. In fact, he said, I might be the only person in the Detroit area that would appreciate it. He wanted to show it to me and was, in fact, calling from my driveway.

Oh boy.

So I invited him in and, after some small talk, he thrust an old blue scrapbook into my hands. At first glance, and second glance for that matter, it looked pretty boring. Nevertheless, I bought it from him, thinking that it would join all the other unread books in the basement.

Recently, though, I’ve been leafing through it and find it to be intriguing from a baseball history perspective. I’ll write more of that later, but for now here is a photo of “the book”:

4 thoughts

  1. Hi Mark. My Sanborn seems to have had the maps torn out. Then they used the other pages as a scrapbook. I guess that I didn’t realize how extensive the leagues were in Detroit at that time or how much press the games got.


    1. There are old town scrapbooks like that all over that have stuff about old games. No one has ever tried to advertise to bring them together. I know of a few of them around Wapakoneta, OH where I grew up that have articles about “Long Bob” Ewing before he pitched for the Reds.


  2. Sanborn Maps are old insurance maps that show who owns what properties and how far they are from fire stations and such so they could assess insurance rates. Those maps are very cool. We use them a lot when investigating old properties during redevelopment when we find “surprises.” Discovering that a property was once used to paint clock dials or was a coal gasification plant at the turn of the century is not a good thing. I’d say your book of maps has quite a bit of value.


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