Vintage Baseball Card Art: Did the Players really look like that?

Vintage Baseball Card Art:  Did the Players really look like that?

Vintage Baseball Players Card Comparisons of the 1800’s.

Our 2019 Vintage Baseball Calendar and Desktop Calendar feature several old baseball card images from the late 1800’s.  Many of them are illustrations with a few exceptions.  Seeing that those exceptions are actual old photos left me yearning to see what the players on the illustrated cards looked like in photographs.  I did a little digging and found some other baseball cards from the same era that featured photographs and decided to do an over/over comparison.  Check them out below and tell us what you think.  Did the illustrators of the day hit a home run or strike out? 

Up first is Bob Caruthers… FUN FACT about Bob: His career winning percentage was the highest of any pitcher prior to 1950 with at least 250 decisions; some sources recognize him as having compiled the highest winning percentage of any pitcher with at least 200 decisions (and retired as of 2006) in major league history.


Next up is our Desktop Calendar Cover Card, Jim Donahue (Could only find photographic card when he played for Kansas City)....FUN FACT about Jim: In 1888 Jim was used as a substitute umpire on two different occasions!  Imagine that happening today?

Batting 3rd is Jack Farrell… FUN FACT:  His nickname was “Moose”

Batting clean-up is Jerry Denny.  FUN FACT:  Jerry was the last Major League position player (non-pitcher) to play his entire career on the diamond without wearing a fielding glove.

And our final entry is Jim Fogarty.  FUN FACT:  We have no EARTHLY idea what is going on in the photographed card!

And there you have it.  Overall, I think the illustrators did a pretty good job in the likeness department, especially the first two.