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)Derek Jeter Signed 8x10 Photo Coa Holo Auto Autograph New York Yankeees Hof MlbTed Williams Red Sox Hof Signed 21x29 Litho Lithograph Jsa Holo CoaBabe Ruth Signed Photograph - Pathe Freres Phonograph Co. Promotion - 1920Noah Syndergaard Signed 16x20 Photo Mets Auto Mlb Steiner CoaBarry Bonds Giants Signed 18x35 500th Home Run Litho Lithograph Jsa Holo BondsMickey Mantle Signed 8x10 Photograph New York Yankees (psa/dna)Mickey Mantle / Yogi Berra / Ted Williams Autographed 8x10 Photo ....certifiedPsa/dna Joe Dimaggio Autographed-signed New York Yankees 16x20 Photo Z02749Mantle / Yogi / Dimaggio / Ford Signed 8x10 Photo........certifiedSpectacular, Orig. 19th Century Circa 1890's Baseball Player Cabinet Photo CardMickey Mantle / Joe Dimaggio / Ted Williams Signed 8x10 Photo .......certifiedHank Aaron / Mickey Mantle Autographed 8x10 Photo .......certifiedJoe Dimaggio / Ted Williams Autographed 8x10 Photo .......certifiedSpectacular, Orig. 19th Century Circa 1890's Baseball Player Cabinet Photo CardYadier Molina Signed Fullsize Batting Helment With Jsa Coa Wp 110373Mike Piazza Signed 11x14 Photo Autograph Auto Psa/dna Coa Mets HofMariano Rivera Autographed 20x24 Oversized Steinersports Yankees 2 InscriptionsMickey Mantle / Billy Martin / Whitey Ford Autographed 8x10 Photo....certifiedPete Rose Autographed 8x10 Photo........certifiedMickey Mantle / Willie Mays Autographed 8x10 Photo.......certifiedMickey Mantle Signed Photo 8x10 Ny Yankees Gfa Authentic Autograph !!!Joe Dimaggio / Ted Williams Autographed 8x10 Photo .......certifiedHank Aaron Autograph Rawlings Full Size Bat With Inscriptions And Full Jsa LoaMickey Mantle / Willie Mays Autographed 8x10 Photo.........certifiedHank Aaron Autograph 11x14 Black And White Photo With Jsa CertDuke Snider Hand Signed 16x20 Baseball Photo Autographed 1955 Dodgers Psa CoaMickey Mantle Signed Photo 8x10 Ny Yankees Certified Authentic Autograph !Lot(2) Babe Ruth's Own Book Of Baseball + Big Book Of Baseball (pwcc)Derek Jeter Autographed 8x10 Matted PhotographWillie Mays / Hank Aaron Autographed 8x10 Photo .... CertifiedYadier Molina Signed Chest Protector With Thou Shalt Not Steal Jsa Coa Wp110383Joe Dimaggio / Mickey Mantle Autographed 5x7 Photo In A 8x10 Matt.....certifiedTed Williams / Joe Dimaggio Autographed 8x10 Photo .....certifiedJosh Donaldson Signed 11x14 Photo Autograph Psa/dna Coa Toronto Blue JaysSandy Koufax Signed 8x10 Photo........certifiedWillie Mays Signed Autographed 8x10 Photo Lot Of 5 Say Hey Auth #sun3 The CatchKen Griffey Jr Autographed 8x10 Photo .......certifiedLarge 1895 Baseball Team Photograph Cabinet Photo Gate City Denison Texas NrOhio State Buckeyes Ohio Stadium 1st Game 1922 Panoramic Photo Framed 39x13 JshNoblespirit No Reserve {3970} Valuable Vintage Lot Of Mlb Signed Photos W/hof! Hank Aaron Autograph Mini Helmet With Rare Inscription And Jsa CertWillie Mays / Ernie Banks Signed 8x10 Photo ......,,certifiedJsa Authenticated Dodgers Baseball Hall Of Famer Pee Wee Reese Signed 8x101925 Walter Johnson + Washington Senators Pitching Staff Original Type 1 PhotoMantle / Martin / Ford Autographed 8x10 Photo In A 11x14 Matt.....certifiedMickey Mantle / Stan Musial / Ted Williams Autographed 8x10 Photo....certifiedMickey Mantle / Willie Mays / Duke Snider Autographed 8x10 Photo .....certifiedErnie Banks / Willie Mays Autographed 8x10 Photo.........certifiedYogi Berra And Phil Rizzuto Autographed Signed Auto'ed B&w 11x14 Photo JsaNolan Ryan Signed 16x20 Photo Coa Hologram From Nolan Ryan Foundation AngelsYogi Berra Autographed 8x10 .......certifiedYankees Hof Cf Mickey Mantle & Cardinals Hof 1b Stan Musial Signed 8x10 Jsa!Joe Dimaggio Autographed 8x10 Photo.. CertifiedWillie Mays Signed Autographed Auto 8x10 Bats Photo Lot Of 5 Say Hey CoaJoe Dimaggio / Mickey Mantle Signed 8x10 Photo In A 11x14 Matt......certifiedMickey Mantle / Joe Dimaggio Autographed 5x7 Photo In A 8x10 Matt ..certifiedTed Williams Joe Dimaggio Don Mattingly Pepitone Signed 8x10 Photo Autograph LotMariano Rivera New York Yankees Photograph Picture Autograph Psa Photo BaseballMickey Mantle Signed 8x10 Photo Gfa Coa