During the sport’s infancy, prior to the days of schedules and organised fixtures, American baseball teams formally arranged games by way of the postal system, in the form of the ‘challenge letter’. Below is one such charming invitation, sent in 1860 by Jersey City’s Hamilton Base Ball Club to the New York Knickerbockers; a team who, despite being one of the very first on the scene – and in fact participants in, and losers of, the first ever ‘officially recorded’ game of U.S. baseball – sadly ceased to exist in the 1870s as the sport became professionalised.
Hamilton Base Ball Club.
Jersey City, Sept. 13th, 1860
To the President & Members
of the Knickerbocker B B Club NY
Gentlemen, I am instructed by the “Hamilton Club,” to invite the “First Nine” of your Club to play a match game of Base Ball (“on the fly”) upon our grounds at Long Dock Jersey City, on Saturday Sept. 29th.
Hoping that the above may prove acceptable, I remain,
N.B. Shafer Sec’ty
Box 208. PO