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This luminescent photograph of the New York Giants' manager, superstar Mel Ott and catcher, Gus Mancuso, features the two in their road uniforms sometime between 1942 and 1944. This shot might have been taken at Ebbets Field, just a few miles from the Polo Grounds. This photo is blank-backed so it is unkown if it is was taken by a news service or a prvate photographer.
Mel Ott was the Giants biggest star of the 1930s, pleaying from 1926 to 1947. He took over for the legendary manager, John McGraw, beocming the team's player-manager in 1942. In 1947 his playing career ended, but he remained manager until 1949 when he was replaced by Leo Durocher. Interestingly, Ott inspired Durocher's famous quip, "nice guys finish last."
These two news service photos -- both of which have been cut down for cropping purposes for publication -- originate circa 1940-1941. The player on the left is most definitely Dick Bartell, who was traded to the Tigers before the 1940 season (coinciding with their pennant victory that season). Bartell was a fiesty shortsop whose temper got him traded more than once, but who hit over .300 six times in his career playing for Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York Chicago and Detroit.
The player on the right is unidentified but bears a 'C' on his cap. Any identification help is most appreciated.
SPOTLIGHT: JOE D, LIFE AND
THE FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHERS GUILD
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SPOTLIGHT: BASEBALL AT WAR
This marvelous photo of two former Brooklyn Dodgers was taken "somewhere in the Pacific" by the U.S. Marine Corps. and distributed through the Associated Press news service. Depicting pitchers Hugh Casey and Cletus "Boots" Poffenberger, this photograph was distributed in April, 1945 -- just four months before fighting ended with Japan and six months before the Japanese surrendered. The two players are seen in their respective Marine and Navy baseball uniforms, just before Casey's team won an inter-sqaud match, 2-0.
Overseas armed forces servicemen weren't the only military men depicted playing baseball in official news photos, however...
These six photographs above were part of a cache of 1943 US Army Air Forces photographs distributed at the time by the Spokane Air Depot Public Relations Department.
The photographs capture the action and the sidelines of a game between SPADCA (Spokane) and Geiger (possibly a Los Angeles-based team). Major Leaguers may be among those photographed -- particularly a familiar-looking face serving as SPADCA's third base coach and/or manager. If you can provide any identification or further information, please click here:
Another two unidentified photographs, these snapshots were taken at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field either before or a game or during a workout session. The image above show a Dodger walking toward the camera in uniform with a glove on his left hand. The photo below captures a Dodger playing ball with two boys, one of whom is swinging a bat while the major leaguer fields for him. It is highly unlikely any user will be able to discern who the players are based on these somewhat fuzzy images, but any attempt is most appreciated:
FOR MORE GREAT 1950s IMAGES, CHECK OUT THE AUTOGRAPHS AREA OF THE VINTAGEBALL MEMORABILIA SECTION:
A terrific grouping of pre-1950 American League stars, most likely gathered during Spring Training, can be seen in this professionally-photographed 5X7 image. Easily recognizable are Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio and Charlie Silvera. Others, such as Ferris Fain and Vic Wertz are present, as per tentative identifications, Other Boston, New York, and St. Louis players are in need of identification. To provide such assistance, please click here:
Seen here are two c.1947-1950 New York Yankee Picture Pack printed photos of Frank Crosetti and Tom Henrich -- significant contributors to great Yankee teams of the latter half of the decade.
This fantastic close-up snapshot of an extremely young Mickey Mantle appears to have been taken at Spring Training...perhapsh Mantle's first or second with the Yankees in Florida.
He is seen here in his gray road uniform with his glove tucked under his left arm, staring directly into the camera which was just feet away from the soon-to-be famous successor to Joe DiMaggio.
This late 1940s/early 1950s news service wire photo captures Hall of Famer, Hank Greenberg, soon after the end of his playing days, when he became an executive with the Cleveland Indans. He is seen here in uniform, with a bat over his right shoulder, speaking with the Indians' Pat Deery. He would later serve in an executive capacity with the Chicago White Sox.
While these two pictiures are technically printed photograph premiums, they are terrific oversized images of the 1953 New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers, respectively. These premium give-aways were issued by the Serial Federal Savings and Loan Association of New York City. They depict the two powerhouse franchises of the decade. These two teams met each other in the World Series that year and over and over again in many subsequent Fall Classics.
Seen here are the true greats of the 1950s -- Gil Hodges, Preacher Roe, Carl Furillo, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Carl Erskine, Johnny Mize, Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and many, many others. Click on the images to enlarge.
SPOTLIGHT: 1953 SUBWAY RIVALS
Included: Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Richie Ashburn, Bob Feller, Stan Musial and others...
The Geiger team appears to be the home team, due to the scoreboard seen in one of the in-action photos. This scoreboard features an ad for the famous Hollywood restaurant, The Brown Derby, along with other billboards on the outfield wall. These West Coast teams may have been part of a regular circuit of Pacific Coast armed services teams that played against each other -- in this case to a huge crowd that can be seen in the stands in some of the shots.
The photo of a batter at the plate is striking, in that his stance and face definitely are familiar (resembling Mickey Vernon, among others, who himself served in the armed forces during WWII). Any identification assistance is most appreciated. Click on photos to enlarge.
Both of these items were issued by the Freelance Photographers Guild of New York -- an organization whose photographs seldom appear on the secondary market.
The photos in the 8x10 above, left, left comprise a two-photo contact sheet of Life magazine photos by David Peskin.that was once October 3, 1949. In the top image Yankee great, Joe DiMaggio, is seen leading the Yankees out onto the field on the final day of the season for a showdown with the rival Boston Red Sox. At stake that day was the American league pennant which the Yanks snared to move on to the World Series versus the Dodgers (which they won, too).
The second 8x10 photograph at right captures a bench-clearing brawl between the Yankees and the Chicago White Sox sometime in the early 1950s. A central figure, not surprisingly, is Yankees manager Casey Stengle. Interestingly, the photographer is identified on the reverse as Hy Peskin -- likely a relative of David Peskin who took the photos in the 1949 contact sheet.
The M&M Boys -- Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris -- are seen hre in this promotional photo for a film with Cary Grant and Doris Day. This shot was was taken at Yankee Stadium and is a later generation reprint of the original image, from the late seventies or early eighties.