Original cabinet card picturing two-time National League batting champion Paul Hines. Hines is pictured in uniform posing in a formal studio setting. The name of Chicago photographer "Armtrong & Co." is listed on the reverse. We have never seen another example of this cabinet photo of Hines, a player for whom very few original portrait photos exist, and it may be unique. Hines' twenty-year Major League career spanned the years 1872 to 1891. Given his youthful appearance here, and the lack of a mustache that he sported in his later years, it most likely dates to the early portion of his career.
Hines played with the Chicago White Stockings of the National Association in 1874 and 1875, and of the National League from 1876-1877. Given that the photographer is from Chicago, this image most likely dates to his four-year tenure with the White Stockings (he is wearing white socks and the uniform is consistent with the few team images we have seen from the period). Hines was one of the top hitters of his era and was the National League batting champion in both 1878 (.358) and 1879 (.357) with Providence. Hines is also one of the few players to play in the National Association, the National League, the Player's League, and the American Association. He retired in 1891 with a .302 lifetime average.
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.
An "Armstrong & Co" credit stamp appears on the reverse that includes the studio's address ("75 Madison, cor. State, Chicago, Ill."). The cabinet card (4.25x6.125 inches) has been trimmed along the top border so that it could fit into the pre-designed album sleeves (a common practice at the time) and is otherwise in Excellent condition . Please note: This CDV was submitted to SGC for encapsulation but the company would not authenticate it because apparently SGC was not completely confident in the identification. Lelands is positive this is Paul Hines, but bidders should conduct their own analysis and come to their own conclusions.