Circa 1895 Baltimore Orioles Photo

Sold For: $940

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1391

Item Year: 1895

Category: The Golden Age of Baseball Photography

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Vintage press photo, a fascinating and extremely early image, culled from The Detroit News archives, capturing John McGraw, Hughie Jennings, Willie Keeler, Joe Kelley, and one other unidentified individual (standing far right) posing together in formal attire. Reverse markings consist of two date stamps ("August 5 1901" and "Jan 24 1923") and editorial notations. Although the earliest date stamp is from 1901, this photo was almost certainly taken several years earlier, in the mid 1890s, when McGraw, Jennings, Keeler, and Kelley were all members of the legendary Baltimore Orioles, the most dominant team of the decade. All of the players are nattily attired, including top hats for Kelley, McGraw, and the unidentified gentleman, as they appear headed out for a night on the town, perhaps to celebrate one of the three consecutive pennants won by the club between 1894 and 1896. Seeing these players dressed as members of high society is certainly amusing, especially given the fact that the Orioles, and the four identified players in particular, were infamous for their rough-and-tumble style of play. McGraw, pictured here with a rarely seen mustache, had a well-deserved reputation as one of the dirtiest players of his era and would often knock players down as they rounded third base. (At that time only one umpire was used, which allowed for such behavior to often go unnoticed.) While the occasion of this photo may never be known, it remains a most unusual image dating to the heyday of the fabled Baltimore Orioles 1890s baseball dynasty. The photo (3.75 x 5.25 inches) has a number of minor flaws common to nearly all working press photos, including minor edge tears, complete shading of the background, and editorial marks on the front. In Very Good to Excellent condition. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $940

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