In the course of joking around with a college buddy about pitchers for the Chicago Cubs, I came across this image of a newspaper clipping showing Fred Goldsmith (below left), who pitched for the Cubs back in the 1880s. I thought it was interesting for the ornate frame surrounding his picture, along with his clothing, which includes a fine sport coat and upturned collar, rather than a baseball uniform. I wanted to see if I could find more images like this, and while I did find a few, I liked another image which is slightly different, but also from around the same time (summer, 1886). This one (below right) shows another pitcher, George W. Bradley, who was noted for pitching the first National League no-hitter. What I liked most about his picture is that it sarcastically reflects his nickname, which was “Grin” Bradley. I hope he was able to manage a smile after pitching that no-hitter!

In looking at old pictures of baseball players, I found a series of images shot by the Gray Studio of Tremont Street in Boston, a number of which all seem to be using the same trick: a suspended ball on an invisible string, allowing the players to appear to be “in action.” Let’s take a look at some of these, the exact dates of which are unknown, but one might guess the late 1800s or early 1900s. That ball seems to be spending a lot of time in a similar location! Below left is Deacon McGuire of the Philadelphia Quakers, and below right is Jack Clements, who also played for the Quakers. I love the way Clements is going to catch the ball … a Star Wars fan might think he’s using The Force to stop the ball in mid-flight.

Gray Studio baseball cards featuring Deacon McGuire and Jack Clements

Here’s another pair: below left is Joe Mulvey; if he doesn’t react quickly, that ball is going to smack him right in the nose. Below right is another image of Joe Mulvey – this time, he looks like he could be playing volleyball.

joe mulvey baseball cards by gray studio boston

If you would like to see more baseball cards photographed by the Gray Studio, check out this collection from the New York Public Library.