365Z: Gillette 1955 World Series Book

Not exactly a children’s book, nevertheless it is one of the earliest books I remember reading, and it was certainly the first mail-order book I ever bought.
I heard this book being offered on the radio on a Gillette commercial, probably on a sports broadcast of some sort, sometime after the 1955 World Series had been played and probably before the 1956 baseball season was well underway. So sometime between late fall 1955 and early summer 1956. I would have been 7 years old at the time. I convinced my dad to write a check for $1 and send off to Gillette for the book. Received it shortly thereafter and spent a lot of time reading it in my misspent youth.
I can’t remember the exact title. Years ago I would have guessed it to be something like “The Gillette 1955 World Series Record Book”, but that is incorrect. There was a series of miniature books (3″ x 4″) published under the names “The Gillette 195x World Series Record Book” for 1953 and 1954. It was not in that series.
This book was almost certainly published by A. S. Barnes and Company. It was bright green hardcover (I don’t think it ever had a dust jacket) that was physically about the same format as their hardcover books “The 1955 Baseball Almanac” (Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 55 7189, dark green hardcover with dust jacket) and “The 1956 Baseball Almanac” (Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 43-5554, dark blue-green hardcover with dust jacket). In fact, 70-80% of the content was extracted from those two volumes, whence my inference that it must have been published by A. S. Barnes. The sections of the Baseball Almanacs that were repeated or similar in that book included ball club data (including all the ball park diagrams), how to keep score, and the rules of baseball.
In thickness, the 1955 World Series book I am looking for was about the same as or a little thinner that the 1956 Baseball Almanac and not as thick as the 1955 Baseball Almanac.
One major difference between the 1955 and 1956 Baseball Almanacs is that the 1955 version includes a section of photos in the middle of the book (including Willie Mays’ spectacular catch in the 1954 World Series). The 1955 World Series book I am looking for also had a photo section of highlights from the 1955 World Series. Specific photos that I recall were Jackie Robinson’s stealing of home in Game 1, Irv Noren’s shoestring catch in Game 5, and portraits of Casey Stengel and Walt Alston.
I’m also imagining that the 1955 World Series book I am looking for contains more descriptive material on the pennant race and the World Series and less material on club rosters for the upcoming season than the Almanacs.

1 thought on “365Z: Gillette 1955 World Series Book

  1. Gill

    I haven’t found anything definitive. Gillette adverts of the time point towards the miniature book series, which are not being sought.

    A S Barnes publications seem to point to catalog numbers already known.

    There are a couple of books that may, or may not, be worth considering.

    According to ‘Baseball: a comprehensive bibliography’ by Smith, Myron J, “a 1955 World Series recap” is contained within… STREET AND SMITH’S 1956 BASEBALL YEARBOOK. Editor: Sam E. Andre. 117 p. © Street & Smith Publications, Inc.; 20Mar56; A231109. Sometimes the word ‘official’ appears in front of the ‘1956’, however it did seem to have a dustjacket.

    And, with a green cover THE 1956 ILLUSTRATED MUTUAL BASEBALL YEARBOOK, by Roger Kahn and Harry Wismer. Edited by Paul Lapolla. Doubleday & Co. 256 p. © Roger Kahn & Paul K. Lapolla; 7Jun56; A2I4.O203. Ebay has a current listing, with some interior book pics.


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