The 1887 Kalamazoo Bats cigarette card set contains 60(?) cards consisting of team photos, portrait style photos, outdoor photos, sliding, trees, and more sliding and trees. It’s not one of the more known 19th Century card sets, but it has some of the rarest cards, as well as some of the more unique.
Outfielder Denny Lyons getting checked out by the trainer. What other card would have the trainer get equal billing? Taylor(no 1st name given) was probably the local vet just back from delivering a litter of puppies. “Your paw…..I mean …..your hand looks fine, probably just one broken bone. Now get out there and play.”
Metropolitan pitcher Al Mays. There are several sit down portrait studio type cards. All players have the same proud look on their face, and many are wearing ties. None, however are leaning into a mirror and worshiping their reflection. Arod reference.\
Lou Bierbauer(One of my favorite players) tags out a player that might be Jim Gallagher. He is the only Gallagher that played baseball around 1886/1887 listed in the Baseball Encyclopedia. He played just one game with Washington, getting 1 hit, in 1886. It was his only game played. If it is in fact Jim Gallagher he is buried in Hyde Park Cemetery in Scranton, Pa. just 3 miles from where I sit. Like many of the Kalamazoo cards, this one featured sliding, and was taken outdoors with a canvas backdrop that included trees, lots of trees.
More sliding, but where are the trees? I need more cowbell…..I mean trees……I need more trees in here!!!. Charlie Bastian puts the tag on Denny Lyons. And, as in all the Kalamazoo Bats cards, the runner is clearly out. The umpire in the background is totally out of position to make the right call.
Ed Andrews goes up there hacking. Baseball, apple pie, and……. suspenders.
Hey, this is 1887, there’s no gloves in baseball. By 1887 catchers were regularly using some type of glove to protect their hands. And yes, this hard throwing lefty was a catcher. Jack Clements caught in 1076 games, and was the last regular southpaw catcher in the game.
Hmm?……there’s something wrong with this card. I can’t quite put my finger on it……oh…..I know……..Henry Larkin has his name misspelled……..No……that’s not it……..there’s not enough trees……..no…….what could it be? Jocko Milligan and Henry Larkin are clearly giving their all to sell this very close play at the plate, but the photographer has gone a different way , both artistically and mentally. The wooden beams supporting the canvas, and the concrete wall in the background, at least from my perspective, do not add to the overall baseball ambience. I wonder what Jocko and Henry said when they saw this disaster. This card recently sold at auction for $17,625.00. Maybe the photographer actually knew what he was doing.
Do these pants make my ass look fat? This card features Jocko Milligan at catcher and Harry Stovey hitting. This photograph was obviously taken by the same photographer of the previous card. I can hear him now, “Trust me Jocko, you won’t look stupid, I am an artiste.” Harry looks like he’s waiting for the ball to come busting through the background canvas at any second.
Most of the Kalamazoo Bats cards included the slogan “Smoke Kalamazoo Bats”. I’m sure the kids did just that.