Striking Photos of Early 20th-Century Baseball Players in Motion

Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights
April 22 2014 2:30 PM

Striking Photos of Early 20th-Century Baseball Players in Motion

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William M. Vander Weyde, a photographer working in New York, made these images of baseball players mid-swing, -run, -hit, or -throw in 1904.

The George Eastman House, which holds many of Vander Weyde’s negatives, has posted a selection of his images on Flickr. “His photographs are strong and exciting and show a rejection of traditional ideas of composition, content, and style,” the curator writes.


Other images in the Vander Weyde Flickr set give a sense of the broad nature of topics he addressed: dog training; women bowling; and some dramatically angular photos of a train wreck in Harrison, New York.

Vander Weyde had a tendency to photograph people in motion, and he worked at a time when technology made that possible. His images seem immediate in a way that studio portraits from just twenty years earlier can't manage.

Portrait of Matty McIntyre, William M. Vander Weyde, 1904.

George Eastman House Collection.

Matty McIntyre (1880-1920): Leftfielder; career ran from 1901-1912; played with the Tigers, White Sox, Athletics. A left-handed batter who developed a special facility for hitting left-handed pitches.

Portrait of Duff Cooley, William M. Vander Weyde, 1904.

George Eastman House Collection.

Duff Cooley (1873-1937), aka “Sir Richard” or “Dick”: Outfielder and first baseman; career ran from 1893-1905; played with the Beaneaters, Phillies, Browns, Tigers, Pirates.

Portrait of Joe McGinnity, William M. Vander Weyde, 1904.

George Eastman House Collection.

Joe McGinnity (1871-1929), aka “Iron Man”: Pitcher; career ran from 1899-1908; played with the Giants, Orioles, Superbas. McGinnity had the second-highest number of wins in the year of this photo (beating Cy Young, who was fifth), as well as the second-lowest ERA.*

Portrait of George Van Haltren, William M. Vander Weyde, 1904.

George Eastman House Collection.

George Van Haltren (1866-1945), aka “Rip”: Centerfielder, pitcher, and shortstop; career ran from 1887-1909; played with the Giants, Orioles, White Stockings, Pirates, Ward’s Wonders. Named readers’ favorite player from New York and Brooklyn in 1894 poll conducted by the New York Mercury.

Portrait of Socks Seybold, William M. Vander Weyde, 1904.

George Eastman House Collection.

Ralph Seybold (1870-1921), aka “Socks”: Rightfielder and first baseman; career ran from 1899-1908; played with the Athletics and the Reds. Known for being simultaneously large of size and fleet of foot.

Correction, April 24, 2014: This post originally misstated that Joe McGinnity had the second-highest ERA in 1904. He had the second-lowest ERA. 


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