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    

1904 Toronto Maple Leafs Eastern League Baseball Team Orig., Large Cabinet PhotoMulti Signed K.c. Monarchs Mounted Photo Buck O'neil Connie Johnson Lefty BryantBig Red Machine Multi Signed 16x20 Photo 8 Auto 's W/ Rose Bench Hof Psa/dna LoaMariano Rivera Signed Framed 16x20 Photo Steiner Yankees Hof Core FourRoberto Clemente Rawlings Sporting Goods Advisory Staff Photo Pittsburg PiratesMickey Mantle Autographed Photo 8x10 Framed Jsa Loa & 1978 Ny Convention TicketMlb Yankees Mickey Mantle Autographed Signed 8x10 Baseball Lithograph Psa CoaStan Musial Hof Cardinals Signed 8x10 Photo Autograph Auto Psa/dna LoaDerek Jeter Signed & 3x Inscribed 16x20 Photo Steiner Yankees Hof Core FourIchiro Suzuki Signed 16x20 Photo Auto Psa/dna Coa New York YankeesHank Aaron Signed 8x10 Photo Autograph Jsa Coa Auto Hall Of Fame HofDizzy Dean Signed 4x7 Book Page Auto Jsa Loa Cardinals Hof Deceased 1974Pete Rose " Superman " Signed 16x20 Photo Auto Psa/dna Coa Cincinnati RedsAlex Rodriguez Rookie Signed Seattle Mariners Triple 8x10 Mlb Photo AutographedYogi Berra Signed 16x20 Rookie Photo With Babe Ruth Psa/dna Rare Yankees HofMickey Mantle Signed 8x10 Photo Auto " To Charlie " Jsa Loa Ny Yankees Hof Autographed Signed Josh Donaldson 11x14 Photo Psa/dna Y57269St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina Signed 11x14 ** Jsa ** 2006 World Series **Willie Mays Signed 8x10 Photo Autograph Jsa Coa Loa Auto Hall Of Fame HofMickey Mantle & Willie Mays Autographed 8 X 10 Photo Gfa Certified19th Century 1890's Colgate College Baseball Team Original Large Cabinet PhotoSt. Louis Cardinals Matt Holliday Signed 11x14 ** Jsa **St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina Signed 11x14 ** Jsa **Mike Trout Auto Official Mlb Los Angeles Angels 8 X 10 Action Photo- CoaMantle Dimaggio Williams Signed Authentic Autographed 8x10 Photo...certified Gold Glove Award Winners Multi Signed 16x20 Photo 45 Auto 's Psa/dna LoaMickey Mantle Autographed 8x10 Photo... "with Roger Maris"..... CertifiedYadier Molina St. Louis Cardinals Signed 8x10 Photo Autograph Auto Psa/dna Coa1996 Wsc Yankees Team Signed 16x20 Photo 27 Auto 's Boggs Gooden + Psa/dna LoaNy Mets Multi Signed 16x20 Photo 37 Auto 's Duke Snider Gary Carter Psa/dna LoaRoger Maris Hof St. Louis Cardinals Signed 8x10 Photo Autograph Auto Jsa LoaAlbert Pujols Signed 8x10 Photo Auto Psa/dna Loa St Louis CardinalsAutographed Signed Mike Piazza 16x20 Photo Psa/dna 6a99354Gold Glove Award Multi Signed 16x20 Photo 19 Auto 's Cal Ripken Jr Psa/dna Loa Ted Williams Autographed 8 X 10 Photo Certified By GfaRoberto Clemente Signed Auto Photo Pittsburgh Pirates Mlb Hall Of Famer ~to Lee Autographed Signed Josh Donaldson 11x14 Photo Psa/dna Y57237Stan Musial / Bob Gibson Signed 8x10 W/hof Inscriptions ** Stm Coa **Sandy Koufax Autographed 8 X 10 Photo Gfa CertifiedPepper Martin Signed 7x9 Photo Auto Jsa Loa St Louis Cardinals Deceased 1965Big Red Machine Multi Signed 16x20 Photo 4 Auto 's W/ Rose Bench Hof Psa/dna LoaDuke Snider, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays Autographed Photo Coa Certified By GfaHank Aaron Autographed 715 Home Run Photo W/coaDodgers Greats Multi Signed 16x20 Jackie Robinson Photo 34 Auto 's Psa/dna LoaBill Buckner & Mookie Wilson '10/25/86' Signed 1986 Ws 16x20 Photo Psa/dnaNo-hit Pitchers Multi Signed 16x20 Photo 22 Auto 's Nolan Ryan Perry Psa/dna LoaReds Pete Rose Signed Authentic 8x10 Photo Autographed Psa/dna #v47098Mickey Mantle Old R.b. Rice Advertising Photo - New York Yankees Ny 1960s - 8x10San Francisco Giants Willie Mays Willie Mccovey Signed 8x10 Photo W/gai CoaMike Schmidt Signed 8x10 W/ Hof 95 InscriptionAutographed Signed Joe Panik 11x14 Photo Psa/dna 6a19762Mickey Mantle No. 7 Signed 8x10 Photo Autograph Full Letter Jsa Coa Loa Auto1977 Wsc Yankees Team Signed 16x20 Photo 20 Auto 's Reggie Jackson Psa/dna LoaMickey Mantle Willie Mays Signed Authentic Autographed 8x10 Photo...certified Jack Buck Joe Buck Garth Brooks Multi Signed 8x10 Photo Auto Autograph Jsa CoaReds Pete Rose Signed Authentic 8x10 Photo Autographed Psa/dna #v47108Muhammed Ali Autographed 8x10 Photo..."with The Beatles ".....certifiedCarlton Fisk Signed 16x20 " 1975 World Series " Photo Auto Psa/dna Coa Red SoxGiants & Dodgers Multi Signed 16x20 Photo 20 Auto 's Duke Snider + Psa/dna Loa1964 Alabama National Champs Coca-cola Advertising Photo Bear Bryant Joe Namath