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    

1980 Us Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Team Signed 16x20 Photo 20 Auto 's Psa/dna LoaSandy Koufax Autographed Signed Baseball BatReggie Jackson Signed 16x20 Photo 1977 Ws Auto Framed 22x26 Steiner Coa YankeesYogi Berra Autographed Signed Cooperstown Baseball Bat With Jsa CoaJoe Dimaggio (1914-1999) Signed 8x10 Photo, New York Yankee Hall Of FameHank Aaron Signed Vintage Atlanta Braves Photo Framed To 13x15 Psa/dna CoaKen Griffey Jr Signed 1990 Upper Deck 5x7 - Uda CertifiedSigned Mickey Mantle Baseball - See PhotosSandy Koufax Nolan Ryan Dual Signed Autographed Framed 8x10 Steiner Mlb DodgersNhl Hof Stars Multi Signed 16x20 Photo 6 Auto 's W/ Howe Orr Hull + Psa/dna LoaTed Williams "the Rookie" Photo Custom Framed To 19x27 Green Diamond Coa Red SoxYogi Berra Autographed Signed Baseball Antique Catcher's Mask With Jsa CoaStan Musial Hof Signed 8x10 St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Photo Stm Coa AutographGreg Maddux Signed Atlanta Braves Photo Display Framed To 15x18 Jsa Coa HofDerek Jeter Yankees Autograph Signed Baseball BatYogi Berra Autographed Signed Yogi Berra Model Catchers Mitt With Jsa CoaHank Greenberg Signed 8x10 Photo Auto Framed 13x16 Psa/dna Loa Hof Deceased 1986Stan Musial "hof 69" Signed St Louis Cardinals Portrait Framed To 16x19 Psa/dnaPete Rose Signed "breaking The Hits Record" Photo Framed To 13x15 Psa/dna CoaAlex Rodriguez Autographed Signed Baseball Bat With 2009 World Series Champ InscMickey Mantle Framed Signed Photo Ensemble "565" Jsa No ReserveMike Trout Anaheim Angels Mlb Mvp Autographed 16x20Andy Pettitte Signed 16x20 Photo Auto Steiner Hologram Only New York YankeesLot (5) Pablo Sandoval Signed 8x10 Photo Auto Psa/dna Coa San Francisco GiantsJoe Torre Signed 8x10 Photo Auto Jsa Coa New York Yankees HofVintage 7" Round B/w Photograph Of Ted Williams W/autograph ~ Coa Jsa Y26060Ted Williams Autographed CardsClayton Kershaw Signed Autographed 11x14 Baseball Photo Global Authentic Coa GaiRickey Henderson Autographed Oakland A's Photo W/coaMickey Mantle Autographed 1956 Triple Crown Winner New York Yankees PlaqueMickey Mantle, 8x10 Autographed Photo, Yankees! 1919 Chicago Tribune Rotogravure Section / Complete / Cubs & White Sox Photo'sWilliams Dimaggio Mantle Signed 8x10 Photo With Psa/dnaStan Musial Signed 16x20 St. Louis Cardinals Autographed Baseball Photo Stm AutoStan Musial Hof Signed 8x10 St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Photo Stm Coa AutographDwight Gooden Autographed 16x20 New York Mets Cy YoungBob Feller "hof 62 107.9 Mph" Signed Cleveland Indians 8x10 Photo Psa/dna CoaA League Of Their Own Movie Autographed Photo 6 Signatures W/coaRare Early Lacrosse Tintype Photo Player W Stick Trophy Possible Ontario CanadaLot Of 50+ Signed Autographed Auto 8x10 Photos Nba Lebron James, Steve Nash MoreMike Trout Autographed Official Mlb 2014 Action 16 X 20 Photo- * Angels * W/coaMiguel Cabrera Signed Autographed 11x14 Baseball Photo Global Authentic Coa GaiOzzie Smith St. Louis Cardinal Hall Of Famer Autographed 8x10Don Mattingly Autographed Old Yankee Stadium Photo W/player Rep CoaWillie Mays/stan Musial Autographed 8x10 Photo In A 11x14 Mat...certifiedStan Musial Signed 8x10 Photo With John F. Kennedy Stm Coa Autographed Auto JfkDon Mattingly Autographed Ny Yankees Beckett Photo Print W/coaPablo Sandoval Signed 8x10 Photo Auto " Holding Bat " Psa/dna Coa Sf Giants Derek Jeter $749.00 Steiner Sports 2001 Autographed 8x10 Photo Mlb AuthenticatedStan Musial Hof Signed 30x40 Cardinals Autographed Poster Baseball Art Print StmTristar Authentic Nolan Ryan Bloody Fight Auto Autograph Signed Framed PhotoMadison Bumgarner Signed Official Mlb 2012 Action 8 X 10 Photo- *giants* W/coaStan Musial 3,000 Hit Club Autographed Upper Deck Authenticated Uda 5x7 Photo!Yadier Molina Signed Official Mlb 2014 Action 8 X 10 Photo- * Cardinals * CoaCasey Stengel Yankees Pinstripes Signed Auto Magazine Page Photo Psa/dna H48385Ted Williams Signed 8x10 Color Litho With Coa Boston Red Sox Global Gai #411951Pablo Sandoval Signed 8x10 Photo Auto " Running " Psa/dna Coa Sf Giants 1950's Hank Aaron Mickey Mantle Toy Watch Milwaukee Braves New York YankeesHideki Matsui Signed Auto New York Yankees 8x10 Photo Psa/dna Coa X70650Mean Joe Greene Pittsburgh Steelers 35mm Slide