Formal studio cabinet photo of Boston Beaneaters catcher/first baseman Fred Lake produced in 1897 by extremely prominent Boston studio photographer Elmer Chickering. Chickering was responsible for virtually all quality images of the Boston Nationals in the 1890s. The photograph pictures Lake in uniform, standing in front of an elaborate studio backdrop, as he poses for the camera. The name "F. L. Lake" appears in tiny white lettering near the base of his image. Also lettered on the photo is an 1897 copyright notice reading "Copyrighted by F. G. Selee and F. O. Woodruff '97." Chickering's credit stamp appears along the base of the mount. A traditional studio baseball cabinet card such as this, dating from the very late 1890s, is particularly rare and unusual. Studio cabinet cards of this style almost always date from the 1880s, and were largely phased out by the mid-1890s, let alone the late 1890s. During the window from 1895 to 1900, very few photographic images of Major League teams and players were produced, in stark contrast to the explosion of production in the late 1880s. Lake played with the Boston Nationals on two separate occasions (1891 and 1897) during his brief five-year major-league career, and later managed the club in 1910 (he appeared as a player in three games that season as well). He also managed the Boston Red Sox in 1908 and 1909. The photo remains in Excellent to Mint condition, while the mount (4.25 x 6.5 inches) displays light corner and edge wear, as well a tiny area of surface paper loss on the reverse. Excellent condition overall. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000+.
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