History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

21 October, 2014

19th Century Baseball Players "in Action"

Cards depicting professional baseball players began to be produced in the 1880s, as a sub-variety of cigarette card. Though some of these were simple head-and-shoulder portraits, there was a greater interest in images of baseball players actually playing baseball. The problem was that camera technology at the time was not quite up to the task of actually capturing action (at least, not without extremely specialized equipment like Muybridge's). The compromise was these posed studio portraits. Baseball players would pose as if throwing, catching, or batting balls suspended on wire. Most, it must be said, were not natural models. 

Large numbers of these early baseball portraits are held by the Library of Congress, which has over 2,000 early baseball cards (photographs, lithographs, and half-tone), and the New York Public Library, which holds many cabinet card-mounted versions of the same photographs used for the mass-produced cigarette cards (see, for instance, this mounted print and this cigarette card). This post draws mainly from the higher quality card-mounted prints from the NYPL, but interested viewers are highly advised to check out both collections--even for a non-baseball fan like myself, they are tremendous fun. 


New York Public Library

Deacon McGuire, Philadelphia Quakers, 1886-1888. Source




New York Public Library

Unidentified player. Source




New York Public Library

Jack Clements. Source






New York Public Library

George Brynan, Chicago White Stockings, 1888. Source




Library of Congress

Pop Corkhill, Cincinnati Red Stockings, 1888. Source




New York Public Library

Jim Fogarty of the Philadelphia Quakers, 1884-1890. Source




New York Public Library

William Hay [Washington?]. Source




New York Public Library

Deacon McGuire, Philadelphia Quakers, 1886-1888. Source




New York Public Library

Sid Farrar, 1883-1890. Source



New York Public Library

Charlie Sprague, Chicago White Stockings, 1888. Source



New York Public Library

George Pinkey [uniform looks like Philadelphia, but he never seems to have played for them...] Source




New York Public Library

Jim Fogarthy, Philadelphia Quakers, 1884-1890. Source




New York Public Library

Tommy McCarthy, Boston Reds, ca. 1890. Source




New York Public Library

Unidentified player. Source




Library of Congress

Dell Darling, Chicago White Stockings, 1887. Source




New York Public Library

Joe Mulvey, Philadelphia [Quakers/Athletics/Phillies]. Source




New York Public Library

William Gleason, Philadelphia Athletics, 1888. Source




New York Public Library

Eventually they moved outdoors... though genuine action shots were still some ways away. Charlie Bastian and Denny Lyons of the Philadelphia Quakers. Source


1 comment:

szeka ho said...

Oh! Here is your blog too~
I read all your post at http://1920sromance.blogspot.ca/, and leave some comment :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Search This Blog