I have always thought the world of “niche collectors.” These are the group of folks whose focus has remained narrow to a team or a player. This is how I got started in the hobby and the industry. My first love was the Cincinnati Reds. I began collecting as a kid buying items from the 580 Gift Shop with money I made caddying at the Hyde Park Country Club in Cincinnati. Along the way, I began doing my research to support my buying as there was just not a lot of information out there at the time. Along the way, I managed to self-publish a few guides on the subject.
If you are a “niche collector”, then I am sure you have the usual programs, year books, cards, wire photos, etc…your library is also probably well stocked with many mainstream publications. About two years ago, while back in Cincinnati for the Holidays, I noticed a few books in the LOCAL INTEREST section of a favorite book store. What I loved about them is that they were written by people from Cincinnati and contained images I had not seen before. I bought them up and managed to pick up a few other copies for some folks that I knew collected the Reds as well. One of the things these books all had in common, besides great pictures and interesting text, is that they were all published by Arcadia Publishing.
Arcadia Publishing was founded in 1993 with the goal of bringing to market local books of a historical nature written by local people. As my collecting and researching interests have expanded, so have my titles from Arcadia. As of today, my reference library contains these titles:
Baseball in Atlanta
Baseball in Baltimore
Baseball in St. Louis: 1900-1925
The Boston Braves
The Boston Red Sox: From CY to the Kid
The Brooklyn Dodgers
Chicago Aces: The First 75 Years
Chicago Cubs: 1926-1940
Chicago White Sox: 1959 and Beyond
Cincinnati on Filed and Court
The Cincinnati Reds: 1900-1950
The Cincinnati Reds: 1950-1985
Detroit Aces: The First 75 Years
Detroit Sluggers: The First 75 Years
The Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Aces: The First 75 Years
New York Sluggers: The First 75 Years
The New York Giants: A Baseball Album
The New York Yankees: The First 25 Years
Yankees Baseball: The Golden Age
The Pittsburgh Pirates
I try to pick up a few news ones every couple of months. The books are all soft cover and uniformly priced at $19.99. Page count is a uniform 128 pages and the images are all black and white. The books all seem to average about an image a page so this has been a big plus as far as I have been concerned. While some copies are being reprinted at this time, by and large the selection remains good. Each book also contains a bibliography of team specific references that you can also be on the look out for as well.
For now I have only purchased books relating to the major leagues, but there are dozens that focus on baseball in minor league cities as well as the Negro Leagues.
The site is easy to search by title, key word, or author.
A key word search of baseball will yield some 178 different titles. If you are thinking this is only for baseball fans, you could not be more wrong. You will find football references for the Bears, Bengals, Browns, Packers, 49ers, and any number of college and semi-pro teams. Basketball and hockey are also represented. Remember, these books are authored by locals so they have a local flair.
Customer service is very good. Orders can be placed on line with a credit card and once it processed, you a get a conformation e-mail within minutes. Shipping is free, but you can opt to pay reasonable rates for a quicker turn around. All told with shipping, I have invested about $500.00 in this portion of my reference library and I consider it money well spent. There are only a few more major league references I am looking to add. I then plan on adding some of the minor league cities in order to look at the migration of uniforms for extended organizational use.
If you are a team collector and would like some help in trying to figure out what books to buy and what the best minor league city locations for your team might be, simply Google “your team” and “minor league affiliates”. For example San Francisco Giants Minor League Affiliates produce this site in the listings:
This is a great source because the teams are broken down by year and class or level of the organization.
If you have been reading all of this and are thinking, well I can get the same thing for free by using Getty and Corbis…trust me you can’t… Also, since my researching needs are a bit broader than one team or one player, the product that Arcadia Publishing provides is invaluable. If you’ve got a niche and an itch for more information, then scratch a few key strokes taking you to:
I think you’ll be glad you did.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions or comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at MEARS Auth, LLC1@aol.com.
NOTE: This endorsement or recommendation for books by Arcadia Publishing is done without any form of compensation. I pay full price for all the books I order.