Original carte de visite (CDV) capturing Hall of Famer Jim O'Rourke. Produced by the renowned Warren Studio of Boston. This is the only example of this CDV we have ever seen, let alone handled, and it appears to date from O'Rourke's first season with the Boston Red Stockings of the American Association in 1873. The 1873 dating is supported by the fact that this very image was used in a team-composite cabinet card of the Boston Red Stockings issued in 1873, of which we have seen several examples.
Jim O'Rourke was one of the most versatile stars of his era, appearing behind the plate, at first base, and in the outfield, as needed. O'Rourke joined the Boston Red Stockings of the National Association in 1873 and helped lead the club to three straight league championships. In 1876, after the demise of the National Association, O'Rourke remained with Boston's entry in the National League, where he once again was instrumental in helping the Red Stockings win the pennant in both 1877 and 1878. Wherever O'Rourke played, league championships seemed to follow, including in 1879 with Providence, and in both 1888 and 1889 with New York. O'Rourke led the National League in batting in 1884 (.347) and was the National Association home run champion in 1874 (5) and 1876 (6), and the National League home champion in 1880 (6). He finished his career with a .310 lifetime average.
This CDV originates from an extraordinary unprecedented find of early baseball photographs recently discovered in a nineteenth-century photo album, all of which are offered in this auction. Included in the album were team-composite CDVs for seven of the nine founding members of the 1871 National Association, baseball's first professional league, plus individual portrait images of many of the game's earliest stars. Original baseball photos dating from the 1870s are exceedingly rare and for many of the players represented in this collection their offered CDV is not only the first such example we have handled, but in many cases, the only one we have ever seen.
All the CDVs in the collection have been slightly trimmed by the original owner so that they could fit properly within the predesigned album sleeves (a common practice at the time). However, for most, the trim affects the mount only and the photos remain in outstanding condition overall. While the history of the album is unknown (our consignor purchased it from an antique dealer), since nearly all the photos found in the album are of ball clubs or ballplayers from the early 1870s, it most likely belonged to a former player or perhaps a National Association team executive.
A "Warren's" credit stamp appears on the reverse. As previously noted, the CDV (2.5x4") has been slightly trimmed to its current dimensions. Encapsulated and certified "Authentic" by SGC.