This Player Postcard Gallery showcases Pre-WWII postcards of Major League Baseball players and teams in chronological order. Nearly all of the cards featured are printed cards issued by an array of publishers. A select few are actually Real-Photo cards that are better suited for this gallery than the Real-Photo one, due to the significance of their subjects or publishers.
1900 - 1908
CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS TO ENLARGE THE IMAGES
This early Real-Photo postcard reproduces a famous cabinet photo of the 1888 St. Louis Browns of the American Association. The "Famous World Beaters" are featured here with his prize greyhounds, Fly and Prince. Players include Charles Comiskey, Arlie Latham, Icebox Chamberlain, Tip O'Neill, Tommy McCarthy and Silver King.
c.1905 NY Giants scorecard postcard with Mathewson, McGinnity, Taylor, Bowerman, Ames and Mertes; Pub. by Souvenir Postcard Co.; Manufactured by J.T. Dye; Sepia versions also exist.
Arthur "Circus Solly" Hofman played in four World series with the Cubs. This 1907 Grignon card features infield chatter from the World Champ.
A.C. Dietsche issued three Detroit Tigers sets from 1907 to 1909 and one Cubs set in 1907.
Published in 1907, by George W. Hull, these scarce cards depict the 1906 World Champion White Sox and all feature Ed Walsh and Charles Comiskey. This postcard showcases "Jiggs" Donohue, who led the league in fielding at first base in 1906.
Another 1907-09 Detroit Tigers issue, these cards were issued by H.M. Taylor and are rarer than the Dietsche cards featured above.
These two 1907 postcards capture the 1907 Tecumseh, MI Ball Club, posed and in-action. In the card at top, left, heir star, Fred Merkle, is clearly noted. He would join the New York Giants the following year. In 1907 Merkle led Tecumseh to the Southern Michigan League championship by clobbering a league leading six home runs. The second card shows a play at first base between Tecumseh and the Bay City, MI team.
1907 postcard featuring the Detroit Tigers hoisting the flags at their season opener. Ty Cobb can be seen on the far right of this team gathering, many of whom are wearing their light blue warm-up sweaters. Pub. By United News Co. of Detroit, Mich.
Freddy Parent, the first Red Sox shortstop and one of the stars of the 1903 World Series and 1904 pennant-winning team, is shown on this undivided back postcard. A Maine-native, this card showcases Parent's new house.
These two odd postcards from 1908 feature unusual poses of Cy Young in full fox-hunting regalia. One card captures him with his hunting dogs, while the other shows him similarly attired and riding his horse, Rambo.
These postcards were published by Hugh C. Leighton of Portland, Maine, and definitely are among the stranger images of the all-time victories leader.
One of the more unusual postcard publishers, Novelty Cutlery, issued these highly sought-after ornate gems from 1907 to 1909. NY Giant third baseman Art Devlin is shown in the card at left.
Led by their tenacious manager, Hughie Jennings, the 1908 A.L. Champion Tigers found yet another postcard home in this series of
cards published by the Wolverine News Co.
Highly scarce metamorphic postcard of the 1908 Boston Red Sox pub. by J.P. Furlong. This low-grade specimen is missing the fold-out section, but includes Manager John McGuire, the pre-Fenway Huntington Grounds Ballpark, Owner John Taylor and Secretary-Treasurer, Hugh McBreen.
These rare 1908 cards were issued by J.B. Coyle Co. as part of a Pittsburgh Pirates set offered for sale at Exhibition Park. The set included its own album and 15 cards. Here are cards of Hall of Famer, Fred Clarke, and rookie outfielder Owen Wilson.
Sought-after postcard featuring an in-action photo of Cy Young on the mound. Published in 1908 by A.C. Williams of Boston. That year marked the last of Young's record-setting streak of 14 consecutive 20-win seasons. He would end his amazing career three years later, splitting time between Cleveland and the Boston Braves.
Perhaps the most beautiful of the Pre-Linen Era baseball postcards, the Rose Company embossed set from 1908-09 featured major league talent, as well as ten players from the New York State League. This example showcases White Sox catcher, Billy Sullivan.
"You're A Knocker" postcard features drawing of a player based on John J. McGraw, published by Callie Bros. and released by H.V. Rowe, c. 1905.
Scarce 1907 postcard of Jack Thoney who played from 1902 to 1911 in Cleveland, Boston, New York and elsewhere. This in-action card captures him on Opening Day in 1907 at Hanlon's Point in Toronto. Toronto would advance to win the pennant.
This 1906 Ullmann postcard of obscure NY Giants catcher, Matty Fitzgerald, ranks as one of the rarest postcard issues of the period. Images of Fitzgerald similarly are highly scarce, as he played in only 11 games with the Giants in 1906-07. This series only depicts the World Champion New Yorkers.
Copyright 2011 -- VintageBall.com
SPOTLIGHT: NOTEWORTHY 1908 TEAM CARDS
HONUS WAGNER & THE "GREAT" TEAM
The postcard above is an exceptional example of a scarce issue published by the Masterpiece Jockey Club cigar maker, depicting "The Pirates, Pittsburg's Great Baseball Team." This attractive piece features images of Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke showcased at center with portraits of their teammates arranged around them. The reverse advertises game tickets and Liberty Havana cigars.
Click on the Images to Enlarge
A CUBAN POWERHOUSE: THE NEW BRITAIN PERFECTOS
The card above truly is unique, capturing some of the biggest Cuban baseball stars of the day playing for The New Britain Connecticut Minor League Class B team, which was nicknamed the Perfectos in their honor. Pictured in this amazing postcard are Armando Marsans, Rafael Almeida, Alfredo Cabrera and Luis Padron who had formerly played together in Cuba for the Almendares team. All would go on to play in the Major Leagues, with Marsans and Almeida signing with the Cincinnati Reds in 1911. Interestingly, in 1910 Almeida and Marsans failed to report with Cabrera for another Connecticut baseball season. This 1908 New Britain postcard is a true gem for fans of Cuban baseball stars. Click on the Image to Enlarge.
BEFORE THEY WERE STARS: "HOME RUN" BAKER & JAKE DAUBERT
These two postcards, above, feature two minor league teams with major stars.
The Reading, PA Tri-State team card at top showcases a major young talent in Frank "Home Run" Baker during his days before joining Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics. Interestingly, he is shown standing next to Dan Shaugnessy, the player for whom he was traded. Shaugnessy later went on to become the president of the International League from 1936 to 1950. Other major leaguers also are pictured in this team shot.
The Nashville team postcard at bottom captures other young talents shortly before their major league careers, including future Dodgers and Reds star first baseman, Jacob Daubert. Other players on this team who played in the big leagues include Hub Perdue, Pryor Mcelveen, Win Kellum, Jack Hardy, Carl Sitton, George Hunter, and Harry Bay. Like the Reading card, all of the Tennessee players are identified beneath the photo. Click on The Images to Enlarge.
This postcard features the first Major League players to tour Japan. It shows the 1908 Reach U.S. All Star Tour of Japan in a partially colorized view. Seen here are catcher Jack Bliss of the St. Louis Cardinals and a batter named Kanki of Keio University playing at the East Recreation Ground in Kobe. A hard to find card, this issue features Japanese, Russian, French, English and other languages on its reverse.
WESTERN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
After the Western League became the American League, a void was left in many midwestern cities, and the Western League soon reformed. This postcard captures the 1908 league champion Sioux City Packers.
The Sioux City Packers were led by manager, Howard "Ducky" Holmes, the former St. Louis Cardinal. The team was paced to the championship by pitcher Al Furchner, who led the Western League with 30 wins and by Tom Campbell, the league leader in runs scored with 113. This card likely features several other players who notched "cups of coffee" in the big leagues. Click on the Image to Enlarge.
In 1907, the Morgan Stationery Co. of Cincinnati issued the first-ever color postcard set of baseball players, showcasing the hometown Reds and their opponents.
An exceedingly hard-to-find series, the 1905-06 Lincoln Publishing Co. set depicts 20 members of the American League Champion Philadelphia Athletics. This card shows the team's centerfielder, Danny Hoffman who stole 46 bases in 1905 to lead the American League.
This 1905 Philadelphia Athletics team card captures the entire pennant winning team. Seen here are such stars as Rube Waddell, Chief Bender, Eddie Plank and Harry Davis with some of their loyal rooters in the background.
Smaller versions of Sporting Life magazine's team composite premiums, these 1906 -1907 postcards feature the New York Giants and the Washington Nationals.
The 1906 World Series champion Chicago White Sox are on this card, published by Suhling & Koehn, featuring a photo by F.P. Burke.
V.O. Hammon issued postcards featuring both Chicago World Series contenders in 1906. After the series concluded, a rare version of the White Sox card was issued with a red overprint proclaiming the team World Champions. As far as the Cubs were concerned, when the team won the 1907 pennant, Hammon issued a variation of the Cubs card with a print line denoting its 1907 league victory.
This scarce 1907 American League Publishing Co. postcard showcases 19 numbered composite photos of the Detroit Tigers team -- including their young newcomer, Ty Cobb. Players of note include such stars as Sam Craford, Bill Donovan, George Mullin, David Jones and manager Hughie Jennings. This publishing company would issue attractive single players cards in 1908.
1906-07 Lancaster Red Roses
These two postcards depict the 1906 and 1907 Lancaster, PA, Tri-State Base Ball Team, also known as the Red Roses. Significantly, Hall of Fame pitcher Stan Ceveleski and his brother Harry both played for this team during this period. Interestingly five Coveleski brothers all played pro ball regionally, with two making it to the majors. How many Coveleskis can be counted in these two cards...
While not a postcard, this 1907 blotter of the Tigers team closely resembles a blank-backed postcard in both card stock and size. Curiously, this piece includes Hugh Jennings, Sam Crawford and the entire team -- except for Ty Cobb.
1907: Minor League Merkle
Published in 1907, this postcard features a the Eastern league Champion Toronto Maple Leafs. In 1906, the Maple Leafs had been helmed by Ed Barrow who would go on to fame as a Yankees executive. They shot from last place to first in 1907.
The American League Publishing Co. of Cleveland issued this set, weighted with Indians players The card at left depicts hometown star, Napolean Lajoie, while the one at right shows Indians pitcher, Glen Leibhardt, dubbed "Iron Man" in the text.
These scarce 1908 cards from F.J. Offerman are virtually identical to the American League Publishing Co. cards, save for their subjects: Buffalo Bisons Eastern League players.
Definitely among the scarcest of the pre-linen baseball postcards are the 1908-11 H.H. Bregstone postcards of the St. Louis Browns and Cardinals. These exceedingly rare cards are Real Photo postcards, depicting sepia-hued images of unique photos of the players taken on the field before or after games. This card captures Cardinal pitcher, Stoney McGlynn in a posed follow-through. In 1907 he led the league in games started, innings and losses.
A remarkably scarce set of baseball postcards was issued by photographer / publisher, Billie Jones of Wabash, Indiana. Six dards are known, all depicting Detroit Tigers pitching star, George Mullin. These crude cards are Real Photos and show Mullin "at bat," "in action," "on the bench" and with an actual tiger. Issue date unknown.
THE CLEVELAND NAPS
This spectacular colorized postcard of the 1908 Cleveland Indians was issued by the Colonial Post Card Co. of Cleveland. Napolean Lajoie, the team's biggest star, not surprisingly is featured in the center square directly in the center of the entire card. Other notable stars include pitcher Addie Joss, who can be seen in the top row of players, and Hall of Famer, Elmer Flick. This is the only full color team image from this period that has been seen on a postcard and the richness of the greens and reds is particularly striking.
Click on the Image to Enlarge
MORE MAJORS IN THE MINORS
These two cards, above, depict two minor league teams with major league talent.
The Williamsport Millionaires won the Tri-State League Class B Championship in 1908, no doubt due in large part to such talented team members as Harry Wolverton, Eddie Foster, Jack Warhop and others. Wolverton, in honor of whom was penned "That Wolverton Rag" song in 1919, most notably managed the New York Highlanders and played for a number of Major League and PCL teams. Warhop similarly starred for the New York Yankees. For his part, Eddie Foster enjoyed a 13-year career in the majors.
The Winchester, KY team card at bottom also showcases minor league standouts in the days prior to their major league careers, including Fred Toney, who spent many years on the leaderboard for such teams as the Cubs, Reds and Giants. In 1917, while pitching for the Reds, Fred Toney squared off against Hippo Vaughn of the Cubs for a nine inning battle in which both pitched no-hitters, the only such occurrence in baseball history. Unfortunately, this Winchester team came in dead last in the 1908 Blue Grass League season. Click on The Images to Enlarge.
FOR 1909 - 1914
Highly scarce postcard of "Husky Jack" Cronin of the Providence Clamdiggers, issued by the Providence Tribune. Cronin pitched in the Major League from 1895 to 1904. He led both the Clamdiggers and the entire Eastern League in wins and innings in 1905, a year in which Providence won the championship.
Among the stranger postcard mysteries is the case presented by these two postcards. The card at left is labeled "York Tri-State League Baseball Team: and is postmarked 1906. The double-fold panoramic card at right is of the 1907 Tri-State League Harrisburg Senators. Interestingly, three of the players (Zimmerman, Smith and O'Neil( can be found on both cards, along with the manager (Charlie Heckert).
The big question: Why did these players and their manager move from the York White Roses to the Harrisburg Senators? The answer is as-yet unknown, although manager Heckert had a fierce rivalry with York rival the Lancaster White Roses, so perhaps he moved to what he felt was a stringer team in the new league.
In any event, these two cards feature a number of major leaguers, including a tough to find image of Lou "Snake" Wiltse, brother of Hooks Wiltse, along with Kip Selbach (who played in the majors from 1894 to 1906), Stoney McGlynn, Harry Pattee, and most likely Brennan and Zimmerman.
F.P. Burke World Series Opponents: Tigers & Cubs
The Cubs card spotlights these words on the front: "The Cubs National League Champions 1907 -- It's A Grand Old Rag And A High Flying Flag And Forever In Chicago May It Wave." The Tigers card is identified on the back, with players listed on the front.
These two postcards were issued by the prolific F.P. Burke in 1907, celebrating the two World Series opponents of the year -- the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs. These cards are seldom seen and feature the two teams' animal motifs in the background behind the team images.
V.O. Hammon Chicago Variations
1907 Central League champion Canton team postcard with future HOFer, Rube Marquard and other MLBers.
Oversized postcards issued by Fred. H. Wagner of Chicago. This two-card set depicts World Series rivals, the Cubs and the White Sox. They have unidvided backs.
c.1900s postcard of the 1892 Odwell, NY baseball team. Date of issue unknown. This card includes Fred Odwell, who went on to lead the National League in home runs in 1905.
This Tigers postcard features an image of the 1907 pennant-winning squad that was used on several postcards by different publishers -- in both printed and Real Photo forms. This card was issued by Heimer and has the legend, 'Pennant Winners." at right.
Yet another postcard set of the league-topping Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Free Press postcards are much scarcer than the HM Taylor, Dietsche and Wolverine cards. They are said to have been sold at the ballpark for $1 a set and are of higher quality than many contemporary issues.