The "Father of Professional Baseball" was an avid scorer, and his scarce signed/initialed scorebook sheets from the 1880s are always in high demand. But it's hard to imagine a more historically important exemplar than this pair of pages, which provide Wright's first-hand, eye-witness account of the first game ever played by the Phillies franchise. What's more, Wright himself even documented the milestone as such, writing in the left margin, "First National League Game Played in Philada."
Then called the Quakers, Philadelphia's NL team had replaced the Worcester Brown Stockings, in large part thanks to the efforts of local sporting-goods magnate—and former pitching ace—Al Reach. The '83 Quakers were coached by infielders Bob Ferguson and Blondie Purcell, and it was Ferguson who hit the first Quakers/Phillies home run, described by Providence Grays manager Wright with an asterisk as "*Over R.F. fence." And who, pray tell, did the Phillies face on the mound that day? None other than the legendary Old Hoss Radbourn, who secured a 4-3 victory for Providence before a crowd of 1,200 at Philly's Recreation Park.
Measuring 6-1/2 x 4" apiece, the meticulously scored pages are quite a beautiful sight to behold, both shining a spotlight on Wright's distinctive hand and presenting extremely well for a delicate 134-year-old paper relic. Each sheet has been mounted, with adhesive along the top edges, to an 11-3/4 x 14" matte display. Lifting up the lower halves reveals that one page has a blank reverse while the other delivers Wright's scoring of the teams' second match-up the following day. As an interesting side note, Harry Wright was of course soon recruited to be the Quakers manager in 1884 and became a seminal figure in the annals of Philadelphia Philliedom.