“We understand that the first nine of the Bloomington Base Ball Club are expected to be here on Thursday, to give an exhibition game to our citizens. This club is one of the finest in the State, and we may expect to witness some scientific playing.” “Base Ball Exhibition Game,” Illinois Journal, August 26. 1866, p4
Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
1868. “On Wednesday next an exhibition game will be played on the Excelsior Gounds on State street, between the Excelsiors and a picked nine.” (Chicago Tribune, Aug. 16; Peter Morris).