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Philadelphia circa 1909. "Chestnut Street and Post Office." Neighbor to the Philadelphia Record building and its "electric score board" of baseball results. (Set up to show runs and innings in Roman numerals?!) 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size.

Philadelphia circa 1909. "Chestnut Street and Post Office." Neighbor to the Philadelphia Record building and its "electric score board" of baseball results. (Set up to show runs and innings in Roman numerals?!) 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size.


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Jack Chesbro

Per the sign, we can see that Jack Chesbro pitched for the New York Highlanders. Chesbro is still the record holder for the most wins in a season (41 in 1904), and the Highlanders -- who officially changed their name to the Yankees in 1913 -- are most famous for having the highest total of World Series victories of any team, at 27 (far ahead of second place St. Louis, who have 11). The Yanks and Cardinals may face each other this October.

Read all about it

But base ball survives to this-day

vjmvjm's comment about the Lost Record Building made me wonder what this stretch of Chestnut Street looks like today. It looks very different. You're at the intersection of S 9th Street, looking west. Chestnut is, and maybe was, a one-way street coming towards you. Today, there are only two buildings on the north side of this block, a US courthouse and a Federal Reserve Bank. Nothing on either side of the street looks familiar until you get to the next intersection, S 10th. There, the white, Second Empire building with the rounded corner is the same as in the 1909 photograph.

Working from Home

According to that box score, the game was umpired single-handedly by Hall-of-Famer Bill Klem.

If that's true, how long has it been since a Major League game was called by only one umpire? I've seen kids' league and high-school contests with one umpire, but not college or pro. In those, the ump positioned himself behind the pitcher's mound. But Wikipedia tells us that Klem worked exclusively behind home plate. If this is true, was he able to decide balls and strikes and all baserunning plays, plus all the business of running the game, from home plate?

Those Extra Digits

The numbers to the left right of the team names reflect the final scores from the first game of the doubleheaders played that day between Brooklyn and the Cubs in the NL and the Athletics-Browns in the AL.

The day in baseball

Hold on to your hats, ladies!

Looks like quite the blustery day, judging from the ladies at the lower right.

Busy Street and Baseball

A lot to see in this picture. But no automobiles. Almost everyone has a hat on.
Boston had two baseball teams? I had to look it up. While the more famous American League Boston Red Sox have stayed steady, the National League Boston Doves at this time in 1909 had a history of much more name and location changes.

Starting in 1876 to 1882 as the Boston Red Caps, then Beaneaters 1883 to 1906, then Doves 1907 to 1910, then Rustlers in 1911, then Braves 1912-1935, then the Bees 1936 to 1940, then Braves (again) from 1941 to 1952, the Milwaukee Braves 1953 to 1965, and finally the Atlanta Braves from 1966 to the present.

Scoreboard Question

Looking at the scoreboard -- what are the numbers to the left of the first inning scores for the Athletics/St. Louis (0 & 2) and the Brooklyn/Chicago (1 & 0) games? They don't appear to be associated with close games that went into extra innings. I'm sure it must be something obvious but whatever it is I am missing it.

The other team

Philadelphia at the time, of course, had two teams, so one wonders who got possession of the Game Board; did they trade off based on who was home - or even away, as it looks like the Phillies were actually in Pittsburg - or was the "Record" a NL partisan (if so they got the demise they deserved!)

Regardless, 1909 was a big year for baseball in Philly: The A's opened Shibe Park that year, the Major's first "modern" stadium.

PB & H

What at first appears to be a spelling error ("Pittsburg") on the baseball scoreboard, in fact, is not. In 1891, the United States Board on Geographic Names officially deleted the "h" from the end of Pittsburgh. The Board officially reinstated the "h" in 1911.

Rounding IInd & headed IV IIIrd

While in a full sprint wearing a necktie, this agile office boy is successfully weaving through straw hats and avoided the man on crutches who, apparently is screaming for everyone to keep away. No doubt this go-getting lad is wearing hard sole shoes, which may very well have given him a blister for his effort. When he returns to his employer's office, he will probably be asked what took him so long.

One second before the collision ...

It would appear that the coatless young fellow running toward the camera near the lower left of the frame is on a collision course with the older fellow striding purposefully leftwards toward the corner of the shot. One wonders if his attorney ever saw a print of this probative photo ...

Honus Wagner at short

Thank you bwayne for the box score link. I thought that might be THE Wagner at SS for the Pirates, and it is. When they voted the first Hall of Fame inductees, he came in second, behind Cobb and ahead of Ruth. Went 0-4 on July 17 though. The game had 7 errors!

'Base Ball To-day' means it must be July 19, 1909

This picture was taken around 9:40 AM on the morning of Monday July 19 1909.

First of all, the time on the clock in the picture shows 9:40, which judging from the brightness of the sky would have to have been in the AM.

Second, all of the final results for July 17 1909 are shown on the score board, meaning it would at least have to be the 18th.

But the Phillies and Pirates had Sunday the 18th off, and did not play each other again until Monday the 19th.

Finally, The sign on the front of the streetcar clearly states "Base Ball To-day," eliminating the 18th as a possibility, since they did not play on the 18th.

Ipso facto it must be about 9:40 AM on July 19 1909. Game day! (Phils lost that one too by a 5-4 score)

[At the very least, you seem to be off by five minutes. — Dave]

Beaten to the Punch

bwayne beat me to the answer of July 17, 1909, but here's the box score for that day:

Of all the players that played that day, only one, William Joseph "Jap" Barbeau, played for his team only in 1909; he was traded to the Cardinals in August.

Nice dig into 1909!

July 17, 1909.


Who can figure out the exact date of the photo from these scores? (Our choice of 1909 as the year here is only a guess.) Click to embiggen.

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