Baseball has been the prominent sport in American culture since the early 1800's. The evolution of baseball as a sport occurred through three main stages. These three stages are the bat and ball game, club based/ fraternal game, and finally the emergence into a commercial spectator sport.
The first stage of baseball was the bat and ball game, initiated in the 1830's. While most sports during this time were for the sole purpose of entertaining the wealthy, the commoners decided to construct a sport to play in their spare time. With the growing support of the bat and ball game, baseball fraternities were created. Baseball fraternities were the outcome of voluntary association in an attempt to make baseball a national sport.
In 1845, the movement was led by a group of area men who gathered and formed a club called the New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club. The New York baseball fraternity was created for the sole purpose of an athletic and social organization. The club elected officers, held regular meetings, and made bylaws that involved equipment, uniforms and regular playing rules.
The evolution of baseball is inseparable from the evolution of baseball equipment and the purpose of this website is to help define the different styles and eras of baseball equipment by allowing me to share my personal collection with you.
My name is Tracy Martin and I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio in 1962 and grew up watching the Cincinnati Reds. My love for collecting baseball memorabilia began as a young boy and started with collecting baseball cards, pennants, and posters of my favorite players and teams.
In 1993, my passion for baseball and love for history led me to become a volunteer member for the Ohio Historical Society's vintage base ball program, the Ohio Village Muffins. Over the years, being a member of the Ohio Village Muffins has afforded me some amazing opportunities such as playing on the Field Of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, Double Day Field in Cooperstown, NY and several other major and minor league ballparks across the United States.
As I started researching the history of early baseball I began to find that the equipment changed quite frequently in the early years. This led to my desire of building a personal memorabilia collection which would showcase the evolution of baseball equipment throughout history. Today, my collection consists of well over 2,000 items dating back to the early 19th century.
Throughout the years I have shared many items from my collection in exhibits and have held several presentations for organizations such as The University of Dayton, The Ohio State University, Columbus State Community College , The Ohio Historical Society, The Columbus Historical Society, The Cincinnati Historical Society, The Works Museum, The Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Wexner Center for the Arts , The Columbus Metropolitan Library, the 2006 Major League Baseball All Star Fan Fest in Pittsburgh, PA, The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY, The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, The Columbus Clippers Baseball Organization and The Dayton Dragons Baseball Club , and The Ohio State House and Capitol Square, The Travel Channels Mysteries at the Museum.