“Peanuts” began on October 2, 1950, unfortunately at a time of year when it would be incongruous to draw kids playing baseball. But the first mention of it was less than a month after the debut, on October 27, with Shermy showing Charlie Brown a globe:
Shermy: So you see this proves that our Earth is round like a ball…
Charlie Brown: Like a baseball?
Shermy: Sure, like a baseball.
Charlie Brown: Like a basketball?
Shermy: Sure, just like a basketball.
Charlie Brown: I don’t believe it!
Charlie Brown: No stitches!
Then after the long, cold winter, the first appearance of baseball equipment was March 1, 1951, when Shermy and Charlie Brown are wearing baseball gloves for a non-baseball joke. So what I would call the first “Peanuts” baseball strip is March 6, 1951, in which Charlie Brown is wearing a catcher’s mitt and a backwards baseball cap, and Shermy appears in the last panel with regular glove and cap in normal orientation…
Charlie Brown: Pitch to me, boy! Throw it right in here! He can’t hit it!! Just pitch to me, boy! Pitch to me! O.K., I’m all warmed up…let’s start the game!
(Yes, as you may have gathered, this arrived in my mailbox today. Perhaps I should have posted this under the heading “whetting Levi’s appetite,” since it looks like they’re shipping the pre-orders via Media Mail from Seattle, so he probably doesn’t have his copy yet.)
Levi: I’m still waiting for mine. In fact, I’ve taken to sticking my head in my mailbox every afternoon and shouting, “Hello in there!”
Last night, I was speculating with Stacey and Bob that Jean Schulz, in a final tribute to her late husband, had decided not to send the books after all, and to cancel the series, keeping alive the feelings of sadness, despair, and shattered hopes that Charlie Brown was so familiar with.
But Bob pointed out that the better idea would be for them to send books to all those who ordered except one person, leaving that person to wait and wait and wait while his friends talked about the book and posted to their weblogs about it.
Jim: Sometimes you call Fantagraphics: “Thanks for the copy of ‘Complete Peanuts’ you sent me.” They respond, “We didn’t send you any copy of ‘Complete Peanuts.'” Then you say, “Don’t you know sarcasm when you hear it?”
If it makes you feel any better, you have historically had better luck with women than I have. Of course, I can now use the pickup line, “Hey, want to come back to my place and see my copy of ‘Complete Peanuts’?”