From team roster shots to original wire photographs to autographed portraits of legends like Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, vintage baseball photos are a fun and accessible collectible.

Team roster cabinet cards from the late 1800s and roster photographs from the early 1900s are great for fans who want to celebrate the roots of their hometown teams. Roster photos are also favorites of general baseball enthusiasts, who use such photos to tease out details about the game and how it was played back in the day: Weren’t those uniforms hot in the summer? Did they really catch line drives with those gloves? Can you imagine sprinting for third in a pair of those shoes?

Wire photos taken by AP and UPI photographers are the prints that were developed before an image would be sent out over the wires to sports desks around the country. These glossy prints are generally of high quality and offer the collector rich detail. The best of these photos are dated and identified on their backs.

Alternatively, some people like to collect the newspapers that wire photos appeared in. In general, collecting newspapers is less expensive than collecting actual photos, but newsprint is fragile compared to a photographic print that has been properly stored, so storage and handling is more of an issue.

Another popular type of baseball photograph is the picture-day photo. Since the middle of the 20th century, baseball clubs have hosted picture days, when fans were given free photos of their favorite players. During the rest of the year, similar cards and photos were sold at souvenir stands. These photos were often the ones that got signed by players during batting practice or immediately after a game—sometimes a player would find himself signing his name alongside his machine-signed scrawl. Since picture-day photos were often reprinted from year to year, dating them can be tricky.

Other examples of baseball photos include giveaways, such as the photographs that were printed on tin trays and glued to the backs of Wheaties boxes in the early 1950s. Stan Musial and Phil Rizzuto are just two of the hall-of-famers who got the Wheaties treatment. Meanwhile, soft-drink companies used the promise of a 5” by 8” glossy of Mickey Mantle to sell bottles of soda pop.

Naturally, many baseball fans want to collect vintage photos of their heroes that are signed, but autographs are notoriously easy to fake. So buyer beware!


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Old Cardboard

Old Cardboard

Check out this well-organized collection of 500 sets of baseball cards, each over 50 years old. Browsable by type a… [read review or visit site]

The Baseball Card Blog

The Baseball Card Blog

Ben Henry's lively vintage baseball card blog, started in January 2006, offers hundreds of great posts on (and pict… [read review or visit site]

Cardboard Junkie

Cardboard Junkie

Dave Campbell's in-depth blog on old baseball (and some football) cards lives up to it's motto: 'do cards, not drug… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Roll up your socks for this Library of Congress collection showcasing hundreds of players on colorful early basebal… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame

A home run for baseball collectors, this site features special online exhibits, ranging from a baseball-uniforms da… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Hillary Clinton Barack Obama Signed Autograph Postcard Auto Jsa Bgs Auth (pwcc)Spectacular, Original 1935 Babe Ruth Boston Braves Pitching Original Photo19th Century 1890's Baseball Team W/ African-american Player Orig. Cabinet PhotoMickey Mantle Signed / Autographed / Framed 16x20 Photo Jsa Loa Ny YankeesMickey Mantle - Ted Williams Signed / Autographed 8x10 Psa/dna Quick OpinionMickey Mantle Signed / Autographed Rare Black & White 8x10 Jsa Loa Ny YankeesDerek Jeter Signed 8x10 Photo Coa Holo Auto Autograph New York Yankeees Hof MlbWilliams Dimaggio Mantle Signed 8x10 Photo With Psa/dnaWillie Mays Mickey Mantle Duke Snider Signed 8x10 Photo GaiJoe Dimaggio / Mickey Mantle Autographed 8x10 Photo. ........certifiedSandy Koufax Autographed Baseball..... "clean"........certifiedMickey Mantle Autographed 8x10 Photo......certifiedNew York Baseball Club Pepsin Tutti Frutti Gum 1912 Group Photo C. MathewsonMickey Mantle Signed / Autographed Weller Power Tools Advertisement Show TicketMickey Mantle / Willie Mays Autographed 8x10 Photo .......certifiedBabe Ruth Signed Photograph - Pathe Freres Phonograph Co. Promotion - 192019th Century 1890's Baseball Player Original Cabinet PhotoMickey Mantle / Ted Williams Autographed 8x10 Photo In A 11x14 Matt....certifiedHank Aaron / Mickey Mantle Autographed 8x10 Photo .......certifiedWillie Mays Signed Autographed Auto 8x10 Lot Of 5 "the Catch" Say Hey Auth #th31964 Ny Yankees Picture Pack Photo Set Of 12 W/mickey MantleAlex Rodriguez Autograph Photo! Steiner;-)Joe Dimaggio 8 X 10 Photo Autographed Jsa Certified Nice!! Mantle / Yogi / Dimaggio / Ford Signed 8x10 Photo........certifiedYadier Molina Signed Chest Protector With Thou Shalt Not Steal Jsa Coa Wp110383Mariano Rivera Autographed Jsa/bgs SlabbedHank Aaron Autographed 8x10 Photo .........certified1949 Yakima Bears Western International League Complete Signed Team Photo500 Home Run Club Signed 11x5 Photo In A 11x14 Matt.........certifiedTommy Lasorda Signed 8x10 Photo Auto Autograph Psa/dna Coa Dodgers Hof Pete Rose Autographed 8x10 Photo........certifiedMickey Mantle & Duke Snider Autographed Framed & Matted 8x10 Photo - Psa/dna LoaLa/brooklyn Dodgers' Hof Lhp Sandy Koufax Signed 8" X 10" Psa!Mickey Mantle / Billy Martin / Whitey Ford Autographed 8x10 Photo....certifiedMike Trout Signed 8x10 Photo Mvp AngelsTed Williams Red Sox Hof Signed 21x29 Litho Lithograph Jsa Holo CoaHank Aaron / Eddie Mathews Signed 8x10 Photo........certifiedMike Piazza Signed 11x14 Photo Autograph Auto Psa/dna Coa Mets HofMickey Mantle / Joe Dimaggio Signed 8x10 Photo .......certifiedTed Williams / Mickey Mantle Autographed 8x10 Photo .... CertifiedSandy Koufax / Willie Mays Autographed 8x10 Photo........certifiedPete Rose Signed Autographed 16x20 Photo Jsa Authenticated #2Pete Rose Signed Autographed 16x20 Photo Jsa Authenticated #3Ted Williams / Joe Dimaggio Autographed 8x10 Photo.........certifiedWillie Mays Signed Autographed Auto 8x10 White Ny Giants Photo Lot Of 5 #thu1Signed Willie Mays Photo [2]Willie Mays Signed Autographed Auto 8x10 Bats Photo Lot Of 5 Say Hey Coa #2Yogi Berra Autographed 8x10 .......certifiedWillie Mays Signed Autographed Auto 8x10 White Ny Giants Photo Lot Of 5 #wed5Willie Mays Signed Autographed Auto 8x10 Bats Photo Lot Of 5 Say Hey Coa #3Mickey Mantle / Yogi Berra Autographed 8x10 Photo.........certifiedWillie Mays Signed Autographed 8x10 "the Catch" Lot Of 5 Say Hey Auth #thursJoe Dimaggio / Mickey Mantle Signed 8x10 Photo In A 11x14 Matt......certifiedMickey Mantle Autographed 5x7 Photo In A 8x10 Matt .......certifiedWhitey Ford Autographed 8x10 Photo..........certifiedWillie Mays Signed Autographed Auto 8x10 White Ny Giants Photo Lot Of 5 #thu4Hank Aaron / Willie Mays Autographed 8x10 Photo ..... CertifiedWillie Mays Autographed Signed 8x10 San Francisco Giants Say Hey Authenticated Lot(2) Babe Ruth's Own Book Of Baseball + Big Book Of Baseball (pwcc)1963 Topps Pete Rose Sharp Corners + Auto Psa 10 - W O W Hi End