Robert Edward Auctions, an auction house specializing in baseball memorabilia, recently came upon a document which is not only illuminating, but may represent the most amusing chunk of writing to be officially issued by Major League baseball in existence. Today the league is having some serious public relations problems wrestling with the use of performance enhancing drugs, in the 1890’s, when the document in question was issued, they were having serious public relations problems of another kind. Specifically they were wrestling with the constant stream of terrifically filthy language which evidently issued from their players’ mouths, in every possible direction- at umpires, opposing players, fans, women, kids, nuns, diapered toddlers…

What makes this particular document so fantastic is that in issuing these “Special Instructions To Players,” warning against foul language on the field, Major League baseball decided to reprint some of the offensive language verbatim. Hilarious.

See below and read for yourself.



Ha. God I love that.

It shouldn’t come as any kind of surprise though, considering in the 1890’s baseball players weren’t yet the over-groomed, under-motivated, millionaires we’re stuck watching today. Back then, if these guys hadn’t been playing ball they’d probably be exactly what they sounded like, longshoremen, or coal miners, or infantry grunts, or vice presidents.

A grateful hat tip to seldivider for bringing this to my attention, and giving me an excuse to coin the hyphenated term “shit-pickling.”

01.26. filed under: history. misc. play. 6