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World Series warm-up: historic New York-Philadelphia baseball images on Flickr

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The 2009 World Series brings together two cities uncommonly rich in baseball history. Though you might guess which team NYPL is rooting for this year, we've posted a selection of images on The Commons on Flickr representing a variety of New York and Philadelphia ball clubs of yore.

Some of the game's earliest years are chronicled in over 500 photographs, prints, drawings, caricatures, and printed illustrations donated in 1921 to the New York Public Library by early baseball player and sporting-goods tycoon A. G. Spalding (whose name to this day is printed across every ball used in the National League). As the contemporary Yankees and Phillies clash on the field, here you'll find Philadelphia Quakers, Athletics and Keystones in a gentlemanly mix with New York Giants, Knickerbockers and Metropolitans, and of course Brooklyn Excelsiors and Atlantics. Each one of these images of course has an enormous back story, which we hope the baseball history buffs among you will help fill in through comments, links, tags and annotations. Also check out a smaller set, Proto-baseball, which gathers images of baseball's ball-and-stick forebears like cricket and Old Cat. Here's "Six boys with a ball and three bats, playing Three Old Cat"

We also invite you to explore the full Spalding Collection on the NYPL Digital Gallery and through this finding aid (PDF) from the Manuscripts and Archives Division. Now let's just pray for the rain to stop so Game 1 can get underway... ***UPDATE*** Picked up by Gothamist!