Original cabinet-card photograph capturing former Major League player Jack Rowe in a formal studio setting. Graded EX-NM 6 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 Jack Rowe cabinet photo we have ever seen and it may be the lone survivor. Although no year is listed, Rowe 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.
Jack Rowe is best remembered today as being one of baseball's "Big Four," the collective name given to the hard-hitting quartet of Rowe, Dan Brouthers, Deacon White, and Hardy Richardson while members of the Buffalo Bisons during the early 1880s. In 1885 all four members of the "Big Four" were sold to the Detroit Wolverines, where, in 1887, they helped lead the club to its first and only championship in franchise history. In addition to his batting prowess, Rowe was also versatile, seeing regular work in the infield, outfield, and behind the plate during his twelve-year career. He retired after the 1890 season with 28 home runs, 644 RBI, and a .286 lifetime average.
The cabinet (4.25x6.5") displays a tiny blemish on the reverse and is otherwise pristine in its overall appearance. Encapsulated and graded EX-NM 6 by SGC.