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'Laws of Base Ball' bought in auction for $3.26M

Documents laying out some of the original "Laws of Base Ball" sold for $3.26 million early Sunday morning, setting a new record for the highest-priced baseball document.

A spokesman from SCP Auctions told ESPN that the buyer wished to remain anonymous.

The price paid is the third-most for a piece of sports memorabilia. SCP sold a 1920 Yankees' Babe Ruth jersey for $4.4 million in 2012, followed by the Naismith Rules of Basketball ($4.3 million).

The documents relate to the foundation of the American game and include a document that first defined how the game was played in 1856.

The original rules, written by Daniel Lucius "Doc" Adams, stipulated that the ball can't weigh less than 5 ounces and the bat could be of any length but no more than 2 inches at its widest part. It also stated that there would be four bases, 30 yards apart, with each base being one square foot.

Although the Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in Cooperstown, New York, to celebrate where American Civil War general Abner Doubleday supposedly invented the game, some people believe the first baseball game was actually played in Hoboken, New Jersey, in June 1846.

Adams, a doctor, was a member of the Knickerbocker baseball club that played in that game umpired by Alexander Cartwright, who some now consider the more worthy founder of the game. 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.

While the previous record price for a baseball document was the $1.02 million paid for Babe Ruth's 1918 Red Sox contract in 2014, the price paid for the rules of baseball falls short of making it the highest-priced document in all of sports.

University of Kansas booster David Booth bought the original rules of basketball, written by former Kansas coach James Naismith in 1891, for $4.33 million in 2010. He then donated the document to the school.

The other two documents bought Sunday in the SCP Auction were rules for match games of baseball and the laws of baseball presented to the baseball convention in 1857.

The other main items of interest in the SCP Auction included some of former Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale's possessions, including his 1963 and 1965 championship rings, which sold for $110,111 and $91,000, respectively, and a game-used 1956 jersey, which was purchased for $82,727.


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