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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Leather baseball, 1887. Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (088.00.00)

Dead Ball

Historically, obtaining a baseball was usually a make-it-yourself operation. After the Civil War, increased manufacturing capacity and sporting goods production gave leagues and players their choice of baseball brands, including Spalding, Wright & Ditson, and Peck & Snyder. Balls came in different sizes and finishes, and they could be “live” (made with more rubber for greater resiliency), “medium”, or “dead” (which did not travel as far when struck). This dead ball, used in 1887, belonged to Fred Ingersoll of Ilion, New York.