Diamond Visions: Baseball’s Greatest Photographs, Part 5

 

Mathew Brady's baseball photo missed the cut.

Mathew Brady’s baseball photo missed the cut.

And now we head for the last roundup. You, having arrived here presumably after a spin through the previous four parts, might offer radically different selections, or at the least rank them differently. The selection process, I can say, was difficult and the rankings no less so. But I have been thinking on this subject for a good long while, so it could be that I overstate the effort. A Facebook friend asked in midweek, “Will these perhaps be a part of a future book with corresponding text?”

I replied: “Mark Rucker and I had thought to create precisely such a book in the mid-1980s, when both baseball and photography were nearing their 150th anniversaries, as they were then identified. Publishers didn’t go for it. If this idea does a Lazarus, I’m all over it–and would always wish to work again with Mark, via www.theruckerarchive.com.” The limit for this week’s posts to “Our Game” I set at 25 for reasons of bandwidth consumption and user friendliness. But could this topic–baseball’s greatest photographs–go ten times larger, to 250 images? Absolutely.

I could make the additional selections, ideally with my old friend Mark, but wouldn’t it be great if we could work in your suggestions, too? You know, when we came up with the idea almost thirty years ago, a book was the obvious way to present such an array. But the web may be even better. The first of this five-part series drew three times more views than a typical “Our Game” blogpost; the next went on to triple that day-old high-water mark.

So maybe we do not end here, on this day, but only pause and regather.

[Clicking on an image will enlarge it.]

21.  Ted Williams beats the play at first, Fenway Park, ca. 1946; photographer unknown.

21.  Ted Williams beats the play at first, Fenway Park, ca. 1946; photographer unknown.

22. Jackie Robinson is called up from the Montreal Royals to the Brooklyn Dodgers, April 10, 1947; William C. Greene, New York World-Telegram.  

22. Jackie Robinson is called up from the Montreal Royals to the Brooklyn Dodgers, April 10, 1947; William C. Greene, New York World-Telegram.

23. Christy Mathewson portrait, 1910; Paul Thompson.

23. Christy Mathewson portrait, 1910; Paul Thompson.

24. Willie Mays, near the end of his great career, pleading an out call at home plate, 1973 World Series, Game Two; Russ Reed.

24. Willie Mays, near the end of his great career, pleading an out call at home plate, 1973 World Series, Game Two; Russ Reed.

25. A record crowd at Baltimore for game that clinches pennant for Boston, September 27, 1897; LOC.

25. A record crowd at Baltimore for game that clinches pennant for Boston, September 27, 1897; LOC.

This marks the end of the five-part series that commenced here: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2015/03/02/diamond-visions-baseballs-greatest-photographs/

8 Comments

I love to read these posts, but the internet is hooked on the visual. I loved being able to pin these photos with Pinterest – the baseball community on these media is huge and people don’t just love the new, but the old photos are passed on just as happily. Thanks !

Great stuff. If I am correct, the umpire to whom Mays is pleading his case is Augie Donatelli, who deserves attention in his own right, not only for his greatness as an umpire, but also for his contribution to the shot.

Michael, you are correct on both counts.

Thank YOU. I wanted you to know how much I appreciate this blog and your other fine work. And since I’m looking at a baseball history-related project, I hope to darken your door on the subject someday!

It will be my pleasure.

Nuts. You skipped my favorite baseball picture of all time… Johannes Peter Wagner, in a dugout, in a seemingly pensive mood, looking over a row of bats… One of the most evocative pictures I’ve ever seen.

It’s a Conlon, and it’s great. But as I wrote elsewhere, portraits tend to draw the viewer on the basis of subject more than artistic capture, so I included Paul Thompson’s Matty as something of a symbolic signpost. I feel certain that a more accomplished portrait must exist somewhere of a ballplaying nonentity than all the shots of Ruth, Wagner, Matty, et al.

Pingback: Diamond Visions: Baseball’s Greatest Illustration Art « Our Game

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