The Finer Points of Baseball For Everyone Instructional Booklets

Between 1957 and 1966, a series of 12 instructional booklets titled The Finer Points of Baseball For Everyone offered baseball insights and hints for little, junior, midget, and Babe Ruth players. They had copyrights attributed to Vital Publications, Inc. and later WM. C. Popper & Co. and were promotional products that provided advertising on the back for their clients.

My Introduction to The Finer Points of Baseball For Everyone

I discovered these baseball instructional booklets from my hunt for their basketball-related cousins. However, I can’t remember if it was this Mile High Card Co. auction from 2017 of an opened 1968 Topps Test Pack with a How to Play Better Basketball booklet or this auction from REA for a 1963 Hood Dairy Bob Cousy How to Play Better Basketball Booklet Collection that prompted my jump into this hobby niche. I’ll write more about the 1963 How to Play Better Basketball booklets soon; for now, if you’re interested in them, check out

How to Play Better Basketball Booklets

To this day, I’ve been unable to secure a single basketball booklet, but in looking for them on eBay, I noticed the baseball ones and picked up a trio with a 1965 Copyright and Hood Ice Cream advertising on the back in May 2023. I hadn’t given them much more thought until the 2023 National in Chicago; when closing a deal on some pre-war strip cards, I noticed the dealer had a complete set of 12 from 1958 with Fleet Wing Gasoline advertising on the backs, so I included them in the deal. The set was priced at $150, but I believe I got them for $100. Here are the covers and backs to all 12. I’ve also included scans of every page of the How to Play First Base booklet at the end of the article. 

1958 Finer Points of Baseball for Everyone – Fleet Wing Gasoline Set – Fronts
1958 Finer Points of Baseball for Everyone – Fleet Wing Gasoline Set – Backs

After that pickup, I had to learn more!

The Finer Points of Baseball For Everyone Overview

There’s not much out there about these advertising booklets, save for this page from KeyMan Collectibles and a few notes from MyComicShop. But between those references and some eBay/Auction sales, we can piece a lot of the details together.

First, the 12 booklets are ~ 3 3/8″ x 4 5/8″ in size. Each has 16 pages if you include the front and back covers. Ten are positional, or action “How-to” guides, another has rules for umpires, and one has finer points for everyone. Each has a cartoon drawing on the cover and the words “Hints for Little, Junior, Midget, Babe Ruth Players.”

Here’s the checklist:

  • Baseball Finer Points for Everyone
  • How to Catch
  • How to Pitch
  • How to Bat
  • How to Run Bases
  • How to Play First Base
  • How to Play Second Base
  • How to Play Shortstop
  • How to Play Third Base
  • How to Play The Outfield
  • How to Use Baseball Signals
  • Rules for Umpires

They’re full-color printings in a newspaper-like material saddle-stitched like a magazine.

The differentiation comes from the copyright on the inside front cover and the advertising on the back. I’ve noticed that the early years show a copyright attributed to Vital Publications, Inc., while the later years show WM. C. Popper & Co. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any details about these companies or if it was the result of an acquisition, but they’re both referenced to New York. 

As I wrote in the intro, the booklets were used as promotional products. KeyMan wrote that “for the most part early books were used as a premium for meat companies like White Seal Franks, Neuhoff’s Franfurters, Essem Hotdogs, and Hydride’s Wieners. Other ads that show up are Kids Does, Reed Candy Company, Fleet Wing Gasoline, and Stop & Shop Supermarkets.”

I’ll have to take his word for it, and he shared quite a few advertisements, but I didn’t find a lot of meat company examples in my research for the early copyright years.

Hygrade’s Meats Ad with Booklets
White Seal Franks/Bacon Ad with Booklets

He continued writing that “By the 1960s, an array of advertisers began using the baseball books, including; local banks, and car dealerships, Mr. Softee, Baseball on NBC TV/DX Oil, Sealtest Foods, All Star Dairies, International Harvester, Weaver Potato Chip Co., Country Kitchen Restaurants, Hood Ice Cream, Horn & Hardart Automats, Holland Popsicle, and Manny’s Baseball Land, located across from Yankee Stadium.”

Finer Points of Baseball for Everyone Yearly Breakdowns

Utilizing KeyMan Collective’s, MyComicShop, and eBay/Auction listings, I’ve managed to categorize a lot of the advertisers by years; there are likely many others. I’ve sometimes taken a listing’s title as truth, but I’ll note that below when a scan of the copyright page wasn’t included.


First, booklets exist without any advertising; perhaps they were used by the publishers as samples through the years, like this 1957 example set.

1957 – Blank Back Set – Front Covers
1957 – Blank Back Set – Back Covers
1957 – Blank Back Set – Copyright

Reed Candy Company

1957 – Reed Candy Company – Front Cover
1957 – Reed Candy Company – Copyright
1957 – Reed Candy Company – Back Cover

Stop & Shop Super Markets (no copyright scan)

1957 – Stop & Shop – Front Cover
1957 – Stop & Shop – Back Cover


Blank Backed

1958 – Blank Backed – Front Covers
1958 – Blank Backed – Copyright
1958 – Blank Backed – Back Covers

Fleet Wing Gasoline – See the photos I shared above.


Garden Gate Margarine

1959 – Golden Gate Margarine – Front Cover
1959 – Golden Gate Margarine – Copyright
1959 – Golden Gate Margarine – Back Cover


MyComicShop wrote that International Harvester Company had a 1960 release, and Heritage Auctions sold a lot of them attributed to 1960 (plus a handful from a few other years that sold for $264 in June 2018), but I don’t have any copyright page scans.

1960 – International Harvester – Front Covers (& Others)
1960 – International Harvester – Back Covers (& Others)


MyComicShop wrote that Sealtest Foods had a 1961 release, but I haven’t found any scans that include a 1961 copyright. But this is as good a time as any to share another advertisement KeyMan shared for Holland Popsicles that included a book in each 12-pack.

Holland Popcicles Ad with Booklets


Black Backed

1962 – Blank Backed – Front Cover
1962 – Blank Backed – Copyright
1962 – Blank Backed – Back Cover

DX Dealer

1962 – DX Dealer – Front Cover
1962 – DX Dealer – Copyright
1962 – DX Dealer – Copyright
DX Dealer Ad with Booklets

Sealtest Foods and Carstens Hygrade (No Copyright Images)

1962 – Sealtest Foods – Front Covers
1962 – Sealtest Foods – Back Covers


I haven’t found any examples referenced to 1963.


MyComicShop wrote that Twin City Federal Savings & Loan sponsored a set, but I don’t have any examples of that one.

Country Kitchen

1964 – Country Kitchen – Front Cover
1964 – Country Kitchen – Copyright
1964 – Country Kitchen – Back Cover


Hood Ice Cream

1965 – Hood Ice Cream – Front Cover
1965 – Hood Ice Cream – Copyright
1965 – Hood Ice Cream – Back Cover


National Bank and Trust Company

1966 – National Bank and Trust Company – Front Cover
1966 – National Bank and Trust Company – Copyright
1966 – National Bank and Trust Company – Back Cover

Mister Softee

1966 – Mister Softee – Front Cover
1966 – Mister Softee – Copyright
1966 – Mister Softee – Back Cover

Undated Examples

I found a few other examples that I don’t have dates for.

Kahn’s Wieners

Kahn’s Wieners – Back Covers

Friendly Chevrolet

Friendly Chevrolet – Back Cover

Weaver Potato Chip Co.

Weaver Potato Chip Co. – Back Cover

Conclusion and Further Reading

The Finer Points of Baseball Instructional Booklets booklets stand as a testament to the enduring allure of baseball, both as a sport and as a collector’s treasure trove. If you made it this far, you might also be interested in these articles that highlight other hobby library-related collectibles:

And don’t forget to subscribe to The Post War Cards Newsletter for more.

Finer Points of Baseball for Everyone How to Play First Base Scans

How to Play First Base – Front Cover
How to Play First Base – Pages 2/3
How to Play First Base – Pages 4/5
How to Play First Base – Pages 6/7
How to Play First Base – Pages 8/9
How to Play First Base – Pages 10/11
How to Play First Base – Pages 12/13
How to Play First Base – Pages 14/15
How to Play First Base – Back Cover

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