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Boston Public Library Baseball Project

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  • Boston Public Library Baseball Project

    For the past 6 months or so, I was previleged to serve as one of three editors for the Boston Public Library "Leslie Jones Basesball Collection Project." Here's a link to a recent article that talks about the project:

    Leslie Jones was the sports photographer for the Boston Globe from the late 1920's into the 1950's. The vast majority of his work was from baseball's Golden Age of the 1930's. During this long span, he amassed a photographic collection of the Boston Red Sox and Boston Braves of close to 3000 pictures. Almost all of the photos were taken at Fenway Park or Braves Field. The problem was that the almost all of the players in the photos (other than the obvious star players) were unidentified.

    This historic collection included many individual and small group shots, team pictures, fans, gag shots, action shots, locker room shots, celebrities, players' wives, umpires, front office name it...if it had anything to to with Boston baseball during this period, it's in this collection. There's also a lot of shots taken during Red Sox-Braves interleague exhibition games. It provides a wonderful "taste" of baseball as it existed during this golden, bygone era, and also serves as a great slice of "Americana" from the '30's and 40's.

    The collection was stored away in the recesses of the Boston Public Library and was largely forgotten. Recently, someone from the Boston Public Library rediscovered this treasure trove and then contacted The Society For American baseball Research (SABR) asking for help in identifying the pictures. Baseball author Mark Stang was put in charge of the project and, as member of the SABR Photographic committee and someone who has had experience in identifying ball players in old pictures, I was enlisted to help.

    Working as a team Mark, myself, and another SABR member did about 90% of the identifying. My concentration was with individual and group identifications, while Mark and the other member did most of the action shots. Many photos were easy to identify, but others required massive amounts of research, time, and effort. It always gave me a wonderful feeling of satisfaction when I could positively identify some obscure, long-forgotten ballplayer from the '30's or '40's who would otherwise be totally lost to history. We didn't get them all, but I'd guess we identified about 80-85% of the pictures.

    There are some extremely rare photos in this amazing collection, including some never-berfore-seen pictures of star players like Ruth, DiMaggio, Williams, Foxx, Cronin, and Grove. There's a lot of shots of Ruth from his last year 1935 as a member of the Boston Braves. Since the collection covers both the National League (the Braves and their NL opponents), and the American League (the Red Sox and their AL opponents), many lesser-known and largely forgotten players from both leagues are featured in the collection.

    I thought that the collection would be of interest to the Baseball Fever community and would be a welcome new addition to the "Baseball Photography" thread. Since I have access to the collection, I thought it would be a good idea to start posting pictures. So I'll start with a few of my favorites today to give you a flavor of what's to come. I'll try to include a mix of stars, lesser knowns, forgotten players, and other shots that are interesting for one reason or another, and will add some commentary when appropriate. With almost 3000 pictures at my disposal, I've got a lot to choose from!

    The first two dozen or so are from a group of 100 that have just been released for public viewing. The rest will all be pictures that haven't as yet been you'll be getting a sneak preview. If you enjoy loooking at old baseball pictures, especially from baseball's Golden Age of the 1930's, I think you'll find what I have here of interest.

    Please feel free to jump in with any thoughts or comments. Join me in a little trip down memory lane, as we go back in history to revisit Baseball in America as it existed in the 1930's and '40's!

    So let's get started...
    Last edited by GaryL; 12-24-2011, 01:16 PM.

  • #2
    Cool GaryL!

    So these will be shots that weren't previously available from the BPL online?
    Are they mostly 4x5 glass negatives?
    I look forward to seeing more...

    Say hello on Twitter @BSmile & Facebook "Baseball by BSmile"


    • #3
      The Babe with some of his new Boston temmates, 1935.

      L-R: Boston Braves Buck Jordan, Elbie Fletcher, Babe Ruth, and three unknown Boston Braves at indoor batting cage at Harvard
      Attached Files
      Last edited by GaryL; 04-10-2011, 12:59 PM.


      • #4
        Not exactly sure why this group was put together, but includes two forgotten Senators players.

        L-R: Boston Red Sox Joe Cronin, Washington Senator John Stone, Boston Red Sox Jimmie Foxx, and Washington Senator Cecil Travis at Fenway Park, 1936.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by GaryL; 11-22-2014, 06:44 PM.


        • #5
          Another "gag" shot.

          L-R: Boston Brave Rabbit Maranville and Boston Brave Art Shires disguised as members of House of David team at Braves Field, 1932.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Neat picture of Boston Red Sox "Bobo" Newsom and Detroit Tigers HOF'er Leon "Goose" Goslin, 1937, Newsome's only year with the Red Sox.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              Here's one that required a lot of time and effort to get all the names

              Boston Braves, 1933:

              Top Row, L-R: Outfielder Wally Berger, catcher Shanty Hogan, pitcher Ed Brandt, pitcher Ed Fallenstein, coach Hank Gowdy.
              Bottom Row, L-R: Second baseman Rabbit Maranville, outfielder Red Worthington, manager Bill McKechnie, and pitcher Bob Brown.
              Attached Files
              Last edited by GaryL; 04-10-2011, 12:04 PM.


              • #8
                Yankess manager Joe McCarthy and Red Sox manager Joe Cronin, 1936.
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  St. Louis Cardinal Dizzy Dean, young fan Bill Bingham and Cardinals manager Frankie Frisch in the dugout at Braves Field, 1937
                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Cleveland Indians pitcher Mel Harder, manager Steve O'Neill and HOF pitcher Bob Feller sitting on the dugout steps at Fenway Park, 1937.

                    This was Steve O'Neill's last year as manager of the Indians. He would later manage the Tigers to a World Series win over the Cubs in 1945. Old-timers (like me) will remember Mel Harder as one of the games most respected pitching coaches from 1949-1963. When he retired, he held Indians' records for wins (223), games started (433), and innings pitched (3426). These records were all later broken by Feller.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by GaryL; 04-10-2011, 01:45 PM.


                    • #11
                      Here's one I spent a lot of time on and fortunately was able to get all the names.

                      New York Yankees pitchers, 1937

                      Standing, L-R: Bump Hadley, Pat Malone, Red Ruffing and Jumbo Brown
                      Kneeling, L-R: Lefty Gomez, Kemp Wicker, Monty Pearson, and Johnny Broaca at Fenway Park
                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by GaryL; 04-10-2011, 01:46 PM.


                      • #12
                        Here's a neat shot of a group of Cub players sitting around on wall near dugout at Braves Field, 1937

                        L-R: Manger Charlie Grimm, Leo "Gabby" Hartnett, probably Ken O'Dea, probably Billy Herman, coach Red Corriden, and Frank Demaree
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by GaryL; 04-10-2011, 10:52 AM.


                        • #13
                          Joe D. surrounded by fans signing autographs, 1937. Looks like George Selkirk on Joe's left.
                          Attached Files
                          Last edited by GaryL; 04-10-2011, 01:17 PM.


                          • #14
                            Nice shot of Lou Gehrig in civies standing at portal in the grandstand as group of 6 young boys look on at Fenway Park, 1937.
                            Attached Files


                            • #15
                              Nice group of Tigers from their WS Chammpionship year, 1935.

                              L-R: Detroit Tigers Lynwood "Schoolboy" Rowe, manager Mickey Cochrane, Eldon Auker, Tommy Bridges, and Alvin "General" Crowder standing on the dugout steps at Fenway Park
                              Attached Files


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