1859 EXCELSIOR "BASEBALL IN THE BOTTLE"
An early nineteenth century baseball suspended in a bottle. On one side is painted March 1859, on the other Excelsiors. Forty-nine baseball clubs from around the country were represented at the first annual meeting of the "National Association of Ballplayers" on March 8/9, 1859. Previous conventions were held in 1857 and 1858 to incorporate, elect officers and establish various by-laws for this organization; but it was in March 1859 that by-laws were established to specify that an annual meeting was to be held. It was also at the 1859 meeting, held at Cooper Union, NYC, that organized baseball started to expand throughout the country. As a result of this meeting, rules gained nationwide prestige and while still amateur, baseball was on its way to becoming the National Pastime. It is believed that this "Baseball In A Bottle", was a keepsake given to all attending member teams by the Excelsiors, while possibly the host team of the convention. This relic is one of two still known to exist, the other housed in the prestigious Barry Halper Collection.