In this studio photograph, apparently from the 1890s, a young boy stands proudly in the garb of a pioneer. Not one that braved the frontiers of the West but one of those who walked on to a diamond-shaped playing field, swatting and chasing a small leather ball.
The image on the heavy card stock measures 1 5/8″ wide and 3 7/8″ high but it is a large window into the game that would be embraced by every strata of American from its early days during the Civil War to its current incarnation where business and society’s change now shape our game.
But when this photograph was made by the G.L. North Studio, in South Norwalk, Connecticut, or SoNo, as it’s now called, the game was still evolving, still finding its way towards what would become the nation’s pastime for both spectators and players for the next century.
During the last decade of the 19th century, the use of a new types of equipment, from this boy’s quilted pants, one of the first baseball gloves that resembled what is used today, a shirt with vertical laces, were also changing. The glove, shoes and cap, worn by this young player remained while the pants and shirt would soon be seen as part of the old-timer’s uniform.
The A.G. Spalding & Bros. sporting goods sellers provided these items to young players at the time but they were not inexpensive items. This lad, if he lived in SoNo, may have been the son of one of the wealthy families who lived in that area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. SoNo would eventually become part of Norwalk proper, retaining its identity as a taxing district and the home of substantial local history.
Norwalk has a long history of amateur baseball clubs and Little League successes throughout the years. Also, Mo Vaughn, is a native of this coastal town.
I will be listing our young player at a starting price of $195.00 on Ebay. If you have any interest in the item or would like to make an offer, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org