An anonymous buyer bought several documents outlining the original “Laws of Base Ball” for $3.26 million Sunday, per’s Darren Rovell

That made it the highest-priced baseball document ever sold, surpassing Babe Ruth’s contract with the Boston Red Sox in 1918 that sold for $1.02 million in 2014, according to Rovell.

SCP Auctions tweeted an image of the documents sold:

The most valuable sports memorabilia sold via auction were a 1920 New York Yankees Babe Ruth jersey that went for $4.4 million in 2012 and the Naismith “Rules of Basketball” that reached $4.3 million in 2010. The Laws of Base Ball documents are third on that list.

According to the Associated Press, via the Chicago Tribune, the papers dating back to 1857 “thoroughly change the early history of baseball, making Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams the proper father of the modern game, and putting its birthdate three years earlier than had been expected.”

The documents’ seller had originally purchased them for $12,000 in 1999, per the AP, but didn’t realize their value until having them appraised.

While Abner Doubleday was long considered the inventor of baseball, baseball historians have begun crediting Adams as a more important figure in the game’s creation.

As Rovell noted, “Adams’ importance to the game has recently been recognized by the Hall of Fame’s Pre-Integration Committee, as Adams, despite not getting elected, garnered the most votes of any early baseball contributor considered for enshrinement in 2016.”

Adams, a physician and member of the New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club, introduced the shortstop position, per Andrew Dalton of the Associated Press, via the Washington Post

Dalton noted, “Adams served several stints as president of the Knickerbockers, which in 1857 hosted a convention of 14 New York-area clubs to codify the rules of the game. It’s the decisions of that convention that led to the recently verified documents and to the game we now recognize as baseball.”

So indeed, these papers are another indication Adams perhaps deserves a more hallowed place in baseball history than Doubleday.


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