Original cabinet-card photograph capturing Hall of Fame catcher Deacon White in a formal studio setting. Graded EX 5 by SGC. Produced by the Tomlinson Photography Studio of Detroit, Michigan, as noted on both the front base and reverse. This is the only example of this Deacon White cabinet photo we have ever seen and it may be the lone survivor. Although no year is listed, White played with the Detroit Wolverines from 1886 to 1888, and the cabinet almost certainly dates to that three-year span.
This piece 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 photo is not only the first such example we have handled, but in many cases, the only one we have ever seen. 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.
Deacon White's twenty-year professional career began in 1871 and ended in 1890. During that span he won a National Association batting tile, a National League batting title, and played on six championship clubs. One of the top catchers of his era at the start of his career, he later transitioned to the infield, playing both third and first base. White batted over .300 on twelve separate occasions and finished his career with a lifetime average of .312.
The cabinet (4.25x6.5") displays a few tiny age spots on the front and is otherwise in Near pristine condition. Encapsulated and graded EX 5 by SGC.