Cincinnati: Johnson & Hardin for the Author, 1907. 8vo. 252 pp. Frontispiece portrait of the author, 57 plates. Original grey cloth, blocked in red on front cover, lettered on spine. A very good copy, hinges cracked, light wear at extremities. As-issued, without jacket. Item #403892
SCARCE FIRST EDITION, one of 500 copies of the "Subscriber's Edition," this copy out-of-series. Inscribed on the front free endpaper: “To my friend Henry Taylor Birch (Captain of Antioch College Base Ball Team 1867-8) from Alfred K. Nippert Cincinnati O, Oct 17th 1937.”
Birch was the pitcher in the historic first game between the Cincinnati Red Stockings and Antioch College. He later became a prominent Chicago attorney and philanthropist. A public park in Ft. Lauderdale, FL bears his name, and he donated paintings to the Art Institute of Chicago. Nippert was one of the most prominent judges in Cincinnati (his wife was Maud Bamble Nippert, heir to the Proctor & Gamble Company). Nippert traveled to Germany in 1916 with an unofficial message from President Wilson: he met with Kaiser Wilhelm stating that while Wilson did not doubt the sincerity of the German leaders, he felt he had the support of the American people in his controversy with the Germans over submarine warfare.
“In 1869, when the Cincinnati Red Stockings began their inaugural season as history’s first professional baseball team, they played a preseason game at the site of what is now the Grand Union Terminal in Cincinnati against the Antiochs, who were regarded as one of the finest amateur clubs in Ohio. The game was played on May 15, 1869, and Cincinnati defeated Antioch 41-7. Antioch had been scheduled to host the first game of this professional tour on May 31, 1869, but pouring rain and an unplayable field kept the teams off the diamond. So, while Antioch was not a part of the first professional baseball game, the college does hold claim to hosting the first ever rainout in professional baseball” (Guschov, Stephen D., The Red Stockings of Cincinnati: Base Ball’s First All-Professional Team and its Historic 1869 and 1870 Seasons, Jefferson, NC.: McFarland & Co., 1998, p. 45).
Ellard writes of the game with Antioch on page 154, though he gets the details wrong (see Dan Hotaling, “The Antioch Connection The First Professional Game?”). Ellard’s father had been a founding member of the Red Stockings, often cited as the first professional club. Most of the book is dedicated to the Red Stockings of 1866-1870, which went undefeated for 1869 and much of 1870. The author had unique access to the original records of the club. .