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    

Joe Dimaggio Mickey Mantle & Ted Williams Autographed 8x10 Picture Psa/dnaJackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers Hof Signed 5x7 Photo Auto Psa/dna Loa Derek Jeter Ny Yankees Signed 16 X 20 Framed Photo "the Dive" Coa & Holo SteinerJoe Dimaggio & Ted Williams Autographed 8x10 Picture Psa/dna CertifiedTed Williams / Mickey Mantle 500 Hr Club Signed / Autographed Poster Psa/dna Qo**john Wayne** Hand Signed Autographed Vintage 8x10 "jet Pilot" Movie AdRogers Hornsby Hof Signed 3.5 X 3.5 Photo Auto Psa/dna Authentic Deceased 1963Derek Jeter "the Dive" Framed Photo With Autographed Torn Stadium Piece* Wow!!Mickey Mantle Signed 8x10 New York Yankees Photograph (psa/dna)500 Home Run Club Autographed 10x5 Photo In A 11x14 Matt.........certifiedMickey Mantle / Billy Martin Signed / Autographed 8x10 B&w Photo Jsa Loa AutoMickey Mantle / Joe Dimaggio Signed Autographed 8x10 Photo Psa/dna Quick OpinionTed Williams Signed "the Rookie" 16x20 Boston Red Sox Photo Psa/dna Photo LoaMantle / Dimaggio / Yogi / Ford Autographed 8x10 Photo .....certifiedBraves Legend Hank Aaron Signed Color 715th Home Run 16x20 Photo Steiner CoaMariano Rivera New York Yankees Signed Autographed 16x20 Photo Steiner AuthenticRogers Hornsby St. Louis Cardinals Hof Signed 4x7 Photo Auto Autograph Psa/dna Mickey Mantle Signed Hall Of Fame Stat Sheet Notarized Framed Vintage Signature1958 Baltimore Colts National Bohemian, Natty Bo Beer Team Photo Sign, 27 1/2" X1930's Baseball Scrapbook. Babe Ruth, Dizzy Dean, Fox, Klein, Medwick, Team PicsBryce Harper 2010 Teenager Rookie Auto Framed & Matted 8x10 Photograph - Ga LoaBill Buckner Handwritten/signed 1986 World Series 16x20 Story Photo Steiner Coa6 Autographs Mickey Mantle,willie Mays,duke Snider,yogi Berra,bud Harrelson And?Joe Dimaggio Autographed 8x10 Picture Psa/dna CertifiedJoe Dimaggio Autographed 8x10 Picture Psa/dna CertifiedMickey Mantle AutographWalter Payton Signed Autograph 8x10 Photo "sweetness 16,726" Psa/dna Loa (pwcc)Ted Williams Signed Autographed Red Sox Picture Pack Photo Auto, Jsa Loa (pwcc)Ted Williams Signed "hit List" 16x20 Boston Red Sox Lithograph Psa/dna Full LoaWillie Mays Signed Autographed Catch 16x20 Photo W/ Say Hey Willie Mays HologramDave Bancroft Hof Signed 4x6 Photo Auto Psa/dna Authentic Deceased 1972Texas Rangers Legend Nolan Ryan Signed Ventura Fight 16x20 Photo Steiner CoaStan Musial Signed 11x14 Saturday Evening Post Autographed Art Print (stm Coa)Lefty Grove Hof " Rare " Signed 8x10 Photo Jsa Loa Auto Autograph David Wright Autographed 16 X 20 Picture Shea Goodbye Mets SteinerCasey Stengel Hof Signed (x2) 3.5x5 Photo Auto Psa/dna Authentic Deceased 1975Ted Williams / Joe Dimaggio Autographed 8x10 Photo........certifiedMickey Mantle Autographed 8x10 Photo.........certified1909 Rapid River Baseball Team Original Player Montage Cabinet PhotoMaury Wills "62 Mvp & 104 Stolen Bases" Signed Dodgers 16x20 Photo - Jsa (w) CoaGreg Maddux Hand Signed 8x10 Photo JsaMickey Mantle / Yogi Berra / Joe Dimaggio Autographed 8x10 Photo....certifiedCincinnati Reds Hofer Johnny Bench Signed, Matted,framed 8x10 Photo W/ CoaNolan Ryan Signed 11x14 Photo 6th No-hitter Image Full Psa/dna Letter RangersHank Aaron Al Downing Signed 8x10 715th Hr Photo Signed Psa Coa Autograph Auto1938 Bellingham Chinooks Western International League Orig. Baseball Team PhotoMickey Mantle Autographed 8x10 Photo.........certified.Joe Dimaggio Signed 8x10 Photo Auto Autograph Jsa Loa New York Yankees HofMickey Mantle / Whitey Ford Autographed 8x10 Photo .... Certified16" X 20" Autographed "mickey Mantle" Photo The Mick ... Offered Without FrameZach Wheat Hof Signed 2.5 X 3.5 Photo Auto Psa/dna Authentic Deceased 1972Mays / Dimaggio / Mantle / Snider Signed 8x10 Photo In A 11x14 Matt..certifiedWillie Mays Signed Autographed Auto 8x10 Lot Of 5 "the Catch" Say Hey Auth Hof79Hc) Tom Seaver Autograph Signed 8x10 Photo Auto Jsa Coa New York Mets1986 Ny Mets Doc Gooden/keith Hernandez Dual Signed/inscribed B&w 16x20 1957 Cincinnati Reds Redlegs Sohio Promo Photo Album 18-5" X 7" Unglued PhotosGary Carter Autographed 8 X 10 Photo 1986 Mets World Series SteinerSpectacular, Original 1910's Grover Cleveland Alexander Phillies Original PhotoJoe Dimaggio #5 Mickey Mantle #7 Yankees 22x18 Autographed Photo Showcase W/coa!Babe Ruth Douglas Fairbanks Vintage Candid New York Yankees Stadium 1920s Photo