Monday, March 25, 2019

Some Baseball Cards and the Photographs Upon Which They Were Based


Many baseball cards of the first half of the 20th century featured illustrations of ballplayers that were based upon actual photographs. Here are just a few.

White Border (T206) Hal Chase (Holding Trophy)



This card of Hal Chase was based upon an image shot by legendary baseball photographer Charles Conlon. The picture of the talented first baseman was captured at New York’s Hilltop Park on May 3, 1909. For more about this Chase card (pun intended) and the silver “loving cup” he is holding, refer to my blog posting of November 2009.

Turkey Red (T3) Jordan and Herzog



This card issued in 1910 shows Brooklyn’s Tim Jordan and Giants base runner Buck Herzog in a play at first base. The card’s beautiful artwork was based upon a photograph of the two ballplayers taken at New York’s Polo Grounds in 1908.

Cracker Jack (E145) Butch Schmidt



Boston Braves first baseman Charles “Butch” Schmidt is seen leaping high for a catch on this baseball card produced in 1914. The photograph the card was based on was taken during spring training at Atlanta’s Ponce De Leon Park, in either 1913 or 1914.

Goudey (R319) Babe Ruth



The 1933 Goudey (R319) set features four cards of Babe Ruth. Three of these cards, including the card seen here (number 144), were based on a 1927 photograph taken by Charles Conlon at Yankee Stadium.

Goudey (R319) Lou Gehrig



Perhaps the same day that Conlon captured the above image of Ruth, the photographer also took the picture of Lou Gehrig that was used as the basis of both of his two 1933 Goudey (R319) cards, numbers 92 (seen here) and 160.

Play Ball (R336) Ted Williams



This 1941 baseball card of Ted Williams features a portrait of the Red Sox star that was based on a picture taken by another great of the baseball photography world: George Brace. The Brace photo, shot in 1939 (note the barely visible edge of the “Baseball Centennial” patch on Ted’s left sleeve), was also the basis of his 1940 “Play Ball” (R335) card.

Bowman 1951 Mickey Mantle



This baseball card of rookie Mickey Mantle features wonderful artwork that was based on a photograph of the future Yankees star taken at Phoenix’s Municipal Stadium during spring training of 1951. The story behind this photo is detailed in my blog post of February of 2016.

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