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    

Jsa Mickey Mantle #7 Signed 16x20 Plaque Photo Yankees Hof Autographed No.7 MvpMickey Mantle Williams Dimaggio Signed Autograph 8x10 Photo Auto, Psa/dna (pwcc)Original 1923 First Opening Day At Yankee Stadium Type 1 Baseball Press PhotoMickey Mantle Signed 8x10 Photo Auto Autograph Jsa Loa New York Yankees HofNolan Ryan Signed 8x10 Photo Autograph " Bo Jackson Line Drive " Psa/dna Coa HofMickey Mantle Auto/signed Psa/dna Yankees 8x10 Autograph Hall Of FamerStephen Piscotty Signed 11x14 Custom Jsa Coa Wp56693Hank Aaron. Autographed 8x10 Photo ..." Hit His 715 Hr"....certifiedAlbert Pujols Signed 16x20 Photo Auto Autograph W/ Mlb Auth Hologram CardinalsChris Carpenter Signed 11x14 Photo With Jsa Coa #w948151Ted Williams Autographed Sports Illustrated Cover Uda Coa Mint Condition!!!!!!Original 1921 New York Giants Type 1 Baseball Press Photo Of Casey StengelKolten Wong Signed 16x20 Photo With Jsa Coa W706950500 Home Run Club Mickey Mantle Ted Williams Autographed Photo Coa 9 Others1953-57 Spic And Span Milwaukee Braves Complete Set Of 13 Player Photo CardsVintage Ny Yankees Baseball Legend Lou Gehrig Signed Autographed Photo 1930s NrKen Griffey Jr Autographed Upper Deck Gallery Picture /240Stephen Piscotty & Tony Pham Dual Signed 11x14 Jsa Coa Wp56678Yankees 5 Greats Signed 8x10 Photo Mickey Mantle ++ Framed Display Psa & JsaJoe Dimaggio Autographed Photo Psa Dna Certified And Graded 10 Gem Mint AutoCarlton Fisk Johnny Bench Signed 16x20 B&w Photo W/ Stay Fair/ Go Foul- Jsa Tommy Pham Signed Jersey With Inscription And Jsa CoaMickey Mantle/ Willie Mays/ Duke Snider Autographed 11x14 Photo ......certifiedAntique Original 1909 Jimmy Archer / Chicago Cubs Baseball Photo - Nice ShapeStephen Piscotty Signed Jersey With Jsa CoaGeorge Brett / Nolan Ryan Autographed 8x10 Photo .....certifiedStan Musial / Mickey Mantle Autographed 8x10 Photo...... CertifiedBlack & White 8x10 Autographed By Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle & Ted Williams Kolten Wong Signed Jersey With Jsa CoaHank Aaron Hof Atlanta Braves Autographed Framed 11x14 Photo Psa Coa G81114Ernie Banks / Willie Mays Autographed 8x10 Photo.......certifiedMichael Wacha Signed 11x14 Photo With Jsa Coa Wp56824Sandy Koufax Signed 8x10 Photo Autographed Gfa Hof Dodgers On The MoundAlex Rodriguez Signed 16x20 Photo Auto Autograph Steiner Hologram Only YankeesC. 1910 Photo Pre-negro League Baseball Team Photo Washington 'red Wings' Mickey Mantle Signed 8x10 Photo Autographed Gfa Ny Yankees Hof Swinging At Plate'36 Orig Cuban Photo Postcard Players Central Violeta Sugar Cane Baseball LeagueFrank Robinson/harmon Killebrew/reggie Jackson Signed 8x10 Photo... CertifiedKen Griffey Jr Autographed Upper Deck Picture Ted Williams Signed 8x10 Photo Autographed Gfa Red Sox Hof Kneeling On DeckBarry Bonds / Ken Griffey Jr Autographed 8x10 Photo... ".certifiedMickey Mantle Signed 8x10 Photo Autographed Gfa Ny Yankees Hof Batting StanceJoe Dimaggio / Yogi Berra Autographed 8x10 Photo... CertifiedRed Schoendienst Signed 11x14 Million Dollar Lineup Photo Jsa Wp075701Kolten Wong Signed 11x14 Custom With Hawaiian Punch Jsa Coa Wp56714Pepper Martin Signed Cut Signature Gas House Gang Cardinals Jsa Letter Rare Star Trek Original Tv Cast By 3 Hand Signed Autograph E907Albert Pujols Signed 16x20 Photo Autograph Mounted Memories Coa CardinalsWillie Mays Signed Autographed Auto 16x20 Photo Say Hey Holo "the Catch"Kolten Wong Signed 11x14 Photo With Jsa Coa W56709Mickey Mantle Autographed 16 X 20 Framed With Psa Jsa CertificationMariano Rivera Signed 16x20 Photo Auto Autograph Psa/dna Coa New York Yankees2001 Donruss Signature Willie Mays Psa 8 Nm-mt Auto Autographed Say Hey1973 Star Trek Convention Book Hand Signed By 7 Autograph F8081955 Gilbert Studio's Toronto Maple Leafs Sam Jethroe Photo Card..very Scarce!!!Manny Machado Signed 16x20 Photo Auto Autograph Psa/dna Sticker Only OriolesMickey Mantle Joe Dimaggio Billy Martin Whitey Ford Signed 8x10 Autographed GfaWillie Mays Signed 16x20 Photo Auto Autograph Say Hey Hologram Only Giants HofHank Aaron Autographed 8 X 10 Photo Gfa Certified1961 Press Photo Mickey Mantle And Rogers Maris Of The Yankees With Mrs. Ruth