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    

Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams Autographed 11"x14" Sepia Photo Jsa Derek Jeter Signed 11x14 Photo Jsa Coa Auto New York Yankees Authentic Signed Autographed Baseball Snapshot Photo Roger Maris W/ Jsa Coa LoaMariano Rivera Signed 11x14 Photo Jsa Coa Auto New York Yankees Derek Jeter Signed 11x14 Photo Jsa Coa Auto New York Yankees Derek Jeter Ny Yankees Signed Framed Photo- "the Dive"- Authenticated By SteinerBo Jackson Signed Autographed Kansas City Royals Oakland Raiders 11x14 W/ GaiMickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams Autographed Showcase Gfa Certified Albert Pujols Signed 16x20 Photo Auto W/ Steiner Hologram St Louis Cardinals Vintage Authentic Signed Autographed Photograph Phil Rizzuto & Joe DimaggioBig Red Machine Multi Signed 16x20 Photo 4 Auto 's W/ Rose Bench Hof Psa/dna LoaMickey Mantle Signed 8 X 10 Aau CoaVintage Signed Autographed Focus On Sports Baseball Card Roger Maris Jsa Loa CoaWillie Mays Signed 16x20 Photo Auto W/ Say Hey Hologram San Francisco Giants HofSpectacular Original Huge 1903 Holyoke Paperweights Baseball Team Cabinet PhotoDerek Jeter $659.00 Steiner Sports Autographed 1995 Rookie 8x10 Photo L@@k W@wSandy Koufax Signed 8x10 Photo Auto Framed 15x17 Jsa Loa Los Angeles Dodgers Hof1998 New York Yankees Team Signed 16x20 Framed Photograph Steiner LoaDerek Jeter Signed Yankees 16x20 Jump Throw Photo SteinerCal Ripken Jr Autographed 16 X20 Orioles Scoreboard Photo Witnessed By JsaAlbert Pujols Autographed 2011 World Series 8x10 Photograph Silver Ink - Psa/dna1940s South Bend Blue Sox Aagpbl Girls Baseball Team Framed Panoramic Team PhotoMariano Rivera Signed Gateway Cover 1988 Ny Yankees World Series- Cachet Chipper Jones Signed 16x20 Photo Auto W/ Mlb Hologram Atlanta BravesMickey Mantle & Ted Williams Autographed Centerpiece With Gfa Certification Cal Ripken Jr " Hof 2007 " Signed 11x14 Photo Auto Jsa Coa Baltimore OriolesChipper Jones Signed 16x20 Photo Auto W/ Mlb Hologram Atlanta BravesReds Pete Rose Signed Authentic 8x10 Photo Autographed Psa/dna Hologram & CoaBrooks Robinson Baltimore Orioles Hand Signed Autographed Jacket Picture ProofMickey Mantle 8x10 Autograph With CoaHank Aaron Signed Large Sepia Toned Photo Custom Framed To 17x20 Psa/dna CoaYasiel Puig Signed 11x14 Photo Auto Jsa Coa Los Angeles DodgersVintage 3 Autographs Baseball Photograph Charlie Keller Bill Dickey Phil RizzutoMariano Rivera Signed New York Yankees 8x10 Photo Enter SandmanDerek Jeter Signed 8x10 Photo Auto 3000th Hit Framed Display 22x26 Steiner Coa* Willie Mays & Duke Snider Dual Autograph - Signed 8x10 Photo Psa/dna *framedSpectacular, Original, Huge, 1933 Buffalo Bisons Baseball Team PhotoMickey Mantle And Ted Williams Autograph Showcase With Certified AutosJohnny Bench " Hof 1989 " Signed 11x14 Photo Auto Jsa Coa Cincinnati Reds HofCal Ripken Jr Signed 11x14 Photo Auto Jsa Coa Baltimore Orioles HofBob Feller Signed Babe Ruth Yankee Stadium Photo Framed To 13x15 Psa/dna CoaDon Mattingly " Donnie Baseball " Signed 11x14 Photo Auto Jsa Coa Ny YankeesDerek Jeter Autographed 16x20 Steiner New York Yankees Clayton Kershaw Signed Autographed Los Angeles Dodgers Cy Young 11x14 W/ GaiGiancarlo Mike Stanton Miami Marlins Signed 11x14 Photo Great Autograph! Jsa CoaSpectacular 1925 Ty Cobb Detroit Tigers The Sporting News Original PhotoDerek Jeter Autographed 3000th Hit Ticket Stub Collage. Museuem Framed.Ted Williams Uda Sports Illustrated Cover Upper Deck Hologram AutographedHank Aaron Uda Autographed Framed "3,000 Hit Club" Photo With Upper Deck CoaStan Musial Signed 16x20 Cardinals Hall Of Fame Autographed Baseball Photo StmMickey Mantle Ny Yankees Autographed 8x10 Photo With Global Coa No Reserve!Rickey Henderson " Stolen Base King " Signed 11x14 Photo Auto Jsa Coa A's HofSandy Koufax Los Angeles Dodgers Autograph Auto Signed 14"x20" Photo W/ Coa Nr!Warren Spahn And Johnny Sain Signed Autographs 8x10 Photo Psa Dna CoaYadier Molina Signed 11x14 Photo Auto Jsa Coa St Louis CardinalsGiancarlo Mike Stanton Miami Marlins Signed 11x14 Photo Great Autograph! Jsa CoaReds Pete Rose Signed Authentic 8x10 Photo Autographed Psa/dna Hologram & CoaAdam Wainwright St Louis Cardinals Signed 8x10 Color Photo Auto W/ Jsa CoaMickey Mantle New York Yankees!! Autographed 8 X 10 Signed Photo! Gv 372065!Reggie Jackson Multi Signed 1977 Ws Photo W/ 3 Dodgers Pitchers Auto Psa/dna Coa