About this Collection
This presentation features 147 items of sheet music that reference baseball from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Many of the items shown represent the earliest widely-distributed baseball collectibles; the value of these objects lies both in their music and lyrics as well as in their elaborately illustrated covers, which furnish a factual and cultural history of our national game, its fans and their heroes.
The paths of baseball and musical composition have crossed several times in their respective evolutions. For example, from 1895 to 1920, a time marked by the American heyday of the parlor piano and the prominence of the popular music publishing industry called "Tin Pan Alley," it was common for family and friends to gather around the piano for an evening's entertainment. This national pastime began to decline in the 1920's with the rise of the broadcasting and recording industries. Coincident with this unique musical era, baseball, THE national pastime, experienced what some writers call its "Silver Age:" a time when dual major league status was re-established, when the World Series was instituted, and when Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth became the heroes that composers rhapsodized about. Indeed, it was the songwriters who first designated baseball as "America's National Game."