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  1. #1
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
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    CIRCA 1900 FRAMED BASEBALL PICTURE

    "Play Ball"

    I went to a swap meet recently and purchased an old, framed baseball player photo that I paid $10.00 for. I have already done quite a bit of research on it that can best be summed up with the following which is how I came up with a date of circa 1900 ... (Also see pictures).

    1. The seller said he found it in a box of other junk and didn't know anything about it.
    2. The frame is made of tin ~ Appears Victorian ~ Hand painted floral ~ Fold-out standee on back.
    3. The frame is oval and measures 3 1/2" x 2 1/2"
    4. The photo is sepa colored (brownish) and was developed in an oval shape then cut to fit.

    5. Regarding the uniform ...

    Uniform Parts:
    National Baseball Hall of Fame - Dressed to the Nines - Parts of the Uniform

    Caps - 1888 - Spalding:
    National Baseball Hall of Fame - Dressed to the Nines - Parts of the Uniform

    Shoes - 1883 - Spalding: National Baseball Hall of Fame - Dressed to the Nines - Parts of the Uniform

    Uniform/Collar - Last Used 1906
    National Baseball Hall of Fame - Dressed to the Nines - Parts of the Uniform

    Uniform/Beltless - First Used circa 1910
    National Baseball Hall of Fame - Dressed to the Nines - Parts of the Uniform

    Earliest Numbering of Jerseys - 1907-09
    National Baseball Hall of Fame - Dressed to the Nines - Parts of the Uniform

    Baseball History - First Major Leagues 1871 thru 1875
    History of baseball in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Grain Elevators: Grain Elevators -- History

    Pictures, etc ...


    1. Framed Photo.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    2. Photo Only.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    3. Frame and Back. (Glass Not Shown).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    4. Cropped Photo. I cannot read the words on the grain elevator.
    Name:  Baseball Picture - Cropped - 1 001.jpg
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    Shoes from above link ~ He appears to be wearing #1 ~ Solid black high top. Ad is from 1883 Spalding catalog.
    Name:  Baseball Shoes - Spalding 1883.jpg
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    Cap ~ Appears to be either #11 or #19 ~ Mulit-sectioned top part. Ad is from 1888 Spalding catalog. I can't tell in my photo if the player is wearing a short or a long bill cap.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Uniform Pants/Beltless ~ Player in my photo is wearing a belt. Belts were last used on uniforms around 1910. This picture is the earliest known example that shows a beltless player and is dated 1913. It is said that prior to 1913 most players wore belts until they were discouraged and possibly even banned because defensive players would sometimes grab hold of the belt to stop an advancing runner.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Baseball - Beltless (Tunnel) 1913.jpg 
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    Footnotes:

    1. The Major Leagues were first introduced around 1871 to 1875.
    2. Uniform numbering was first introduced in Major Leagues around 1907-1909. (My player has no visible number on his jersey.
    3. Uniform "Collars" were last used around 1906. My player's jersey appears to have a collar.

    Bottom Line Questions ...

    1. Can you think of anything I missed?
    2. do you agree with the circa 1900 date?
    3. Do you think the player is ... Hometown Team ~ Farm/Minor League ~ Major League?
    4. Can you think of any way to identify the location?
    5. And what about the grain elevetor? Any clues there? Midwest?

    6. And most important of all, do you happen to recognize The Player?

    Thanks in advance for your time and interest. I realize I am asking some tough questions that may be impossible to answer, but I thought it would be fun anyway because Baseball season is upon us and I know there are a lot of fans out there like myself.

    Sodabottlebob
    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 06, 2012 at 11:21 PM.

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  3. #2
    us
    Dec 2008
    Michigan
    Fisher 1266
    472
    80 times
    Awesome picture I love it and well worth the money for that piece of history. Looks like your reseach has narrowed down the age. I think the player is a hometown or independant league player and must of been a good one to have a picture taken that early. There are no other players around him which makes you think it was a photo op just for this player. A couple of things that I seen from the picture is it must of been taken early in the year like late April,early May or in the fall because there are no leaves on the trees in the background. The other thing is it looks like there are railroad cars in the right side of the picture under his arm and the grain shute that is going over the hill in the background is probally for filling the cars. Your midwest guess could be right.
    Wolverine.
    Endeavor To Persevere.

  4. #3
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    M.W ~

    Thanks for taking a look and sharing your helpful observations. I've been doing some forensics on the photo and think I can see Ch_ _ _ _? as the top word on the elevator. I'm not sure this cropped picture will work here, but it did in my photo gallery where I was able to zoom in on it.

    If it is Ch_ _ _ _? I wonder if it will be enough to lead to a location clue? I hope so. The only problem is, every state in the midwest has a town that starts with Ch (Providing its a town name and not the company name or an advertisement). The possibilities are endless!

    Thanks again.

    SBB


    Multi-click to enlarge or use magnifying glass.

    Name:  Baseball Picture - Scanned 001 - Enlarged.jpg
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    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 06, 2012 at 08:56 PM.

  5. #4
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    PS ~

    I noticed there appears to be an electric pole with a cross arm in the upper right of the picture. Of course, we don't know that the picture was taken in the midwest, but if it was, then ...

    If Iowa or nearby state ...

    The Sioux City Electric Company was founded in 1888. Sioux City Electric became the first company to supply electricity to the town's homes and businesses while selling lamps, later called light bulbs, to city merchants. The company soon formed a partnership with Sioux City Gas Light, which had been eager to exploit the burgeoning new technology.


    ... then likely earliest date approximately 1888. (sort of / maybe)

    SBB

  6. #5
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    I realize this is crazy of me, but here's a link to every city/town in the U.S./World that starts with C

    Just scroll to Ch

    Link: Cities starting with C | Weather Underground

  7. #6
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    Continued ...

    I have looked at a jillion baseball cards and have concluded that jersey "collars" were almost totally phased out by 1916-1917. So if my guy's jersey does in fact have a collar (which I believe it does) then I'd the photo is circa 1918-1920 at the very latest.

    I came across this baseball website that I have been enjoying and think is one of the best overall. After you open the link and enjoy the current category, look on the right side of the page for a box tititled "Categories" with a little down arrow. Then just select the year you are interested in and click on it.

    The picture below is from the site and is of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's 1919 Jersey. Notice the absence of a collar. I wonder where his shoes are? Lol

    If my photo is of a nobody farm league player then it's worth $10.00. But if it's of Joe Jackson while he was still in the farm league circut, then it could be worth $1,000.00+

    Link: Remember to use the "Categories" option: baseball « Baseball Revisited

    SBB


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 07, 2012 at 12:13 AM.

  8. #7
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    This website won't allow pictures to be saved, but it shows an oval picture frame that is similar to mine. I realize they are not identical, but it seems to confirm that my type of frame was available at least as early as 1888. The following is copy/pasted from the site ...

    Link: Antique Heavily Hallmarked Sterling Silver Oval Frame from easterbelles-emporium on Ruby Lane

    The banner at the bottom of the crest bears a Latin inscription reading "Hesperus Vinces, 1888". In English, the inscription translates roughly as "Venus Conquers".

    The back of the frame simply lodges tightly into place and can be easily taken out to replace the picture inside.


    (Where's Breezie? She knows about this kind of stuff)

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #8
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    I submitted an inquiry to the PBS program "History Detectives." After I submitted it this message popped up ...

    Thanks for submitting!

    Thank You!

    History Detectives has received your message.

    "Your mystery will be reviewed by experts, and considered as a possible investigation for future episodes of History Detectives. Our stories all begin with suggestions from people like you, so we put a high value on your contribution. But please understand that the volume of e-mail sent to History Detectives makes it impossible to send individual replies."



    If/when I hear from them, I will be sure to let everyone know. The most poignant aspect to my message was something that Mich.Wolverine pointed out earlier when he said ... "I think the player is a hometown or independant league player and must of been a good one to have a picture taken that early. There are no other players around him which makes you think it was a photo op just for this player."

    Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

    Thanks.

    SBB
    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 07, 2012 at 01:05 AM.

  10. #9
    us
    When the going gets wierd, the wierd turn pro....

    Jan 2011
    New Orleans
    Garrett Ace 350 and Propointer, Whites Prism
    2,746
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Bob, I have a frame almost exactly like yours with a photo of a young boy that I suspect was taken early in the last century., I think maybe around ww1 but I'm not sure. I'll try to post a new thread with my pic later and see if anyone can help me date it by the clothing style. My frame's a bit more ornate, but almost the exact same construction. I do think that dating the frame would give you a good timeline for the photo, as it was obviously printed to fit that frame.

    In regards to your player, good luck with your search, there were a lot of "bush league" teams back then, so I don't envy your task.
    "That's me, on the beach side combing the sand, metal meter in my hand, sporting a pocket full of change"...... NOFX

    Now in the process of posting my antique photo collection at : http://forgottonimages.tumblr.com/

  11. #10
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    NOLA_Ken

    Thanks for stopping by. Let us know when you post your thread. And please feel free to share a picture of your framed photo here for comparison.

    I realize I might be on a wild goose chase here and trying to make something out of nothing, and yet at the same time it intrigues me to think that my player might be a "nobody" before he became a "somebody." The one curiosity more than anything else about my photo that I keep wondering about is ...

    ... whether it is a one-of-a-kind taken by a family member on a Sunday afternoon? Or whether it is one of many that was made and sold to promote a rising star?

    (I admit ~ If promotional you'd think his name would be on it ~ But then again, maybe not)

    I've been doing some research on the Minor Leagues and wasn't surprised to discover that most of baseball's greats all started in the Minors. One of which was Babe Ruth who, in 1914, started his baseball career playing for the Providence, Rhode Island "Grays." He was 19 years old at the time. In 1915 he entered the Majors playing for the Boston Red Sox.

    Here's another crazy website I have been looking at which list every Minor League player that ever played the game. It list over 203,424 players. I wonder if my mystery player is one of them?

    SBB

    Link: Minor League Players Encyclopedia - Baseball-Reference.com

    Speaking of "Bush" leagues ~ Here's a picture of George H Bush meets Babe Ruth at Yale University in 1948. George Bush was captain of the team and graduated from Yale that same year. Bush was born in 1924 and served as our 41st President 1989-1993.

    Note: The Oxford English Dictionary cites bush league’s first use in baseball as 1906


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 07, 2012 at 12:04 PM.

  12. #11
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    I'm adding these pictures of the back because I believe they will help date the frame. I have seen dozens of similar frames but nothing yet with this exact type of Hinged Support Leg. The majority of the one's I've seen have cardboard, velvet covered backs and supports. Plus, mine appears to be rather crudely made - suggesting it "might" be an older style.

    If I can date the frame to within about five years, that would give me a place to start looking for players around that time period. But as it is now, it could be anywhere from about 1890 to 1920, which is a 30 year span and way too broad a range to conduct a logical search.

    SBB

    Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #12
    us
    Dec 2004
    South Florida
    70's Whites TM Amphibian, HH Pulse, Ace 250
    23,601
    751 times
    Beach and Shallow Water Hunting
    I guess there was no markings on the back of the photograph. It looks like an action photo. I thought they had to sit still? I dont know just throwing around ideas. Is it an infielder or pitcher? I would have considered buying it too, Too bad we cant see the face. I wonder if the field can be IDed?

    It seems a monumental task but could be well worth it.

  14. #13
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    Hey Big Cy ~

    Thanks for stopping by. "Monumental" is an understatement. "Next to Impossible" might be more appropriate. But, like you said, its worth a shot.

    Take another look at the photo, especially the shadow. He's either throwing or pitching, and almost impossible to say which, other than he doesn't appear to be in a full windup position. Thus my guess is "throwing." I'm also guessing infielder, especially if that's a pitcher's mound directly behind him. When I first got the picture I thought he was swinging a bat. It would be nice if the grain elevator still exist and located in some member's home town.

    SBB

    One thing is certain ~ That's no stadium and looks more like a cow pasture. But the guy is definitely wearing what "appears" to be an "official" uniform of some type, and that's what intrigues me the most.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 07, 2012 at 02:49 PM.

  15. #14
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    This Library of Congress website has "thousands" of old baseball photographs. If you like old baseball photos, this collection will amaze you. You can change the category simply by changing the search box. Check it out. The photos go back to at least as early as 1909. There are 249 photos of Babe Ruth, not to mention an endless number of other players and teams.

    Link: Search Results for "baseball players" -- 1 - 40 of 12767 from the Library of Congress

    SBB

    Name:  Baseball Player - Studio.jpg
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    Studio Pose vs Random Field Action
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    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 07, 2012 at 02:41 PM.

  16. #15
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    The bottom picture is just about as good as it gets for me. I like everything about it. In fact, it depicts the same throwing stance as the player in my photo. The only difference being, the Spalding view is from the front. I even like the 1905 date, not to mention the round-top hat - the high-top shoes - and the collared uniform. I've been looking at jillions of baseball cards and it's the caps that have changed the most. Up until about 1900-1905 the majority of players were still wearing those flat-top caps that look more railroad than baseball. But by 1905 almost everyone is shown wearing the round caps. So I now vote that my photograph is circa 1905-1915, which is just an educated guess, but one that I feel comfortable with. By 1920 collared jerseys were pretty much obsolete.

    SODABASEBALLBOB


    Name:  Baseball Picture - Cropped - 1 001.jpg
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    Notice the similarities right down to their stances.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 08, 2012 at 09:49 AM.

  17. #16
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    PS ~

    Since this is a shot in the dark chance of finding anything anyway, I've desided to focus my searches to ...

    Midwest Minor Leagues ~ Circa 1910 ~ {1905 to 1915}

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/mi....cgi?year=1910

    Wish me luck ... I'll need it.

    SBB

    For baseball sports memorabilia collectors here is a real gem offered by the "Antique Athlete." This is an extraordinary 1910’s Baseball Uniform Complete with Cap and Socks. This gorgeous vintage baseball uniform remains in stunning NR-MT to MINT condition. The material is grey wool flannel with navy blue pinstripes. Amazingly this uniform has remained completely... Read More

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1908 Postcard - Baseball Game - Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois

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    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 07, 2012 at 11:16 PM.

  18. #17
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    I've been looking at Grain Elevator pictures and trying to find one that matches. The one in the photo is unique because the upper section is not centered and shares a common outer wall with the structure below it. Notice where I placed the red arrow and where it is obvious that the left upper wall is common to both parts of the building. 95% of the old elevator pictures I've been looking at show the upper part dead center of the structure with a small, sloped roof beneath it. If I can find a picture of this particular Elevator, then I will be able to determine the location. And once I have the location and town the rest will be easy because all I will have to do is contact the Historical Society there and I'm sure they will have some info or knowledge about an oldtime baseball team in the area who used to play in the vacant field behind the Grain Elevator. Sounds easy enough. Now all I gotta do is identify the grain elevator. There should only be about a jillion of them to look at.

    SBB

    Common left-side wall of both upper and lower structure. There can only be so many that look like that.

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    Here's what about 95% of them look like.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 08, 2012 at 12:22 AM.

  19. #18
    us
    Oct 2006
    Herndon Virginia
    Minelab EX II & Musketeer, White's Classic
    4,049
    731 times
    Bob,

    Excellent sleuthing! You have made a good argument for the time frame of the photo. One more thing that may help is the type of photo developing and paper used.

    I don’t know much about it but 10 years ago I was at the beach and took a photo of a family using their early 20th C box camera. The guy then took a photo of us and mailed to me later. He commented about the special type of paper and processing necessary to develop the photo. It is a cool photo.

    The sepia tone on your photo may also be a clue.

    I can’t see a number on the uniform. Did they use numbers on the players back then?

    I also found this http://www.baseball-fever.com/ They have an historical photo forum.

    Fun thread.

    Thanks

    DCMatt
    Last edited by DCMatt; May 08, 2012 at 08:35 AM. Reason: Additional link
    While I have aimed in my postings to be irenic and conciliatory, rather than polemic, I have yet endeavored to set forth the
    truth, let it favor or impugn whom it might. Any notice of misrepresentations or mistakes occurring in these prose will be most thankfully received
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  20. #19
    us
    Aug 2007
    Holt, MO north of KC
    White's MXT
    68
    2 times
    I am no expert, but I have been an avid baseball history nut since I was a kid. That sure looks like Ty Cobb from all of the old photos I have seen. Bats left Throws right. His first season with Detroit was 1905. If that is a minor league/spring training pic (or whatever equivalent they had for ST those days), they trained in Detroit (1901); Ypsilanti, Mich. (1902); Shreveport (1903-1904); Augusta, Ga. (1905-1907) Hope this helps.
    Last edited by kccj76; May 08, 2012 at 10:16 AM.
    Pull tabs? We don't need no stinking pull tabs!

  21. #20
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,494
    21 times
    DCMatt ~

    Thanks for taking a look-see and helping me out. I did some research on photography, but without getting too technical, was able to determine the photo fits the time slot of about 1890 to about 1920. Which I realize is a huge gap in time, but was the best I could come up with. The Sepia process (brown tint) was introduced in the late 1880s. Glossy finishes were first introduced in the early 1920s.

    If you scroll back to the first page of this thread you will see where I posted a reference regarding jersey numbering being introduced around 1907-1909.

    Photography Links ...
    Silver Print/Glossy Photos: Gelatin silver print - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The higher gloss papers first became popular in the 1920s and 30s as photography transitioned from pictorialism into modernism, photojournalism, and “straight” photography.

    Basic History:
    The American Museum of Photography: Resources

    Timeline:
    Timeline of photography technology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    kccj76 ~

    Nothing would thrill me more than for the player in the photo to be Ty Cobb. But I'm not sure I'm the right person to prove it ... or disprove it. Until you mentioned it the thought never entered my head. But you can be absolutely certain that I am going to research the possibility with ernest. To start with, here is a link to some really good photos of Ty Cobb. Below are a couple of examples for comparison.

    Ty Cobb Photo Gallery:
    Bill's Ty Cobb Photos


    Thanks to both of you for your contributions. I appreciate it.

    Bob

    Ty Cobb right side profile 1921.
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    My Photo.
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    Ty Cobb with Hornus Wagner 1909.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by SODABOTTLEBOB; May 08, 2012 at 11:21 AM.

 

 
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