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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Homemade baseball, before 1949. Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (099.00.00)


As early as the 1870s, sporting goods manufacturers and dealers were producing colorful catalogs filled with everything the well-outfitted and equipped player needed—if he could afford it. For those who could not, homemade items, like this baseball, had to suffice. Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith won thirteen straight Gold Glove awards (1980–1992) but as a kid started out using a paper bag that he fashioned into a mitt.