Historical Baseball Photos (1880-1915)

Baseball has it roots far back in history. A manuscript from France in 1344 has an illustration of monks and nuns playing a game of bat and ball. The modern beginnings most likely date back to the early 1700s in America. In 1744, the term “base-ball” was printed in an English book and in 1791 the town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, kicked the ball players off their field by ordinance.

The records and photos of those days show a game gaining in popularity. Teams were popping up all over for recreation (after work, weekends). Mostly playing themselves but occasionally playing teams across the river, down the road.

In the 1800s the game went huge, particularly in New York where journalists referred to it as the “national pastime”. Leagues were formed, stadiums were built, and players were paid to play the game.

By the turn of the century baseball looked like the modern-day game, with owners, presidents, managers, and star players.

Here are some photos of that era pulled from the Library of Congress Archives.

**Note: It is commonly believed that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in 1839. This founding myth was fabricated by the prominent baseball figure A.G. Spalding to increase popularity for the game.**

 

Casey Stengel, 1915, Brooklyn Dodgers
Look at those gloves and shoes!
Hank O'Day, 1914, manager, Chicago Cubs
Harry Wright, 1887, manager, Philadelphia Quakers
Indiana, 1908
Morris Brown College, 1899 or 1900, African-American team, Atlanta, Georgia

 

Danbury, Connecticut, 1880, African-American baseball team
New York Mets, 1882
Umpire, Billy Evans, 1914
Umpire, Bill Klem, 1914
Boston Braves Stadium, 1914, Hank Gowdy batting

 

catcher, Ira Thomas, 1914, Philadelphia Athletics
AL club presidents, 1914: Frank Navin, Detroit; Benjamin S. Minor, Washington; Frank Farrell, N.Y.; Charles Comiskey, Chicago; Ban Johnson AL President; Joseph Lannin, Boston
Baldy Louden, 1914, Buffalo Federal League

 

More Photos

Historical Photos of European Royalty (1910-1915)

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