“Laws of Baseball” Documents Go for Over $3 Million at Auction

Historical documents that have been referred to as baseball’s “Magna Carta” have gone for more than $3 million at an auction.

Both the buyer of the documents as well as the seller are anonymous as the seller once purchased the papers for an estimated $12,000 in 1999 in Texas.

After a two-week bidding process, SCP Auctions sold the papers, published in 1857.

The new documents identify Daniel Lucas “Doc” Adams as the modern’s game’s originator. He is credited with implementing some of baseball’s modern edicts—including bases being 90 feet from each other.

According to DocAdamsBaseball.org, he was born in 1814 and was a major figure in his community for promoting causes such as temperance and the abolition of slavery.

After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1838, he moved to New York City in 1839 and was a member of the New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club. Adams acquired the nickname “Doc” while a member of this team. In what is referred to as the first organized game of baseball—the Knickerbockers lost 23-1 at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey.

He is also credited with birthing the position of shortstop in the mid-1800s, and his son, Roger, said it was his favorite position to play.

Adams became the Knickerbockers’ vice president in 1846 and by 1856, a dozen teams existed in the Tri-State area. In 1857, he called a special convention of the existing teams that was meant to standardize the rules of play for baseball.

Among the implemented rules—nine players per each team and nine innings of play.

Adams officially left the game of baseball in March of 1862.

Three years later, he and his wife, Cornelia, moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut and bought a home there that is currently the home of Ballard Park—which is managed by Ridgefield Parks and Recreation.

Adams later began a foray into politics when he was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1870. He moved his family to New Haven in 1888 and died of pneumonia in 1899.

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