Before there was film, before there was even television, photography was the only means by which fans could see the players. The medium was still developing (pardon the pun), so the men (almost exclusively), who snapped their shutters were still learning about such things as angles, speed, placement, composition, etc.
One of the early pioneers whose work still brings smiles to fans to this day was Charles M. Conlon, who gave us one of the most famous baseball still of all time: Ty Cobb sliding into third base.
Neal McCabe and his sister, Constance, collaborated on two collections of Conlon’s work, both published by Harry N. Abrams: Baseball’s Golden Age: The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon and The Big Show: Charles M. Conlon’s Golden Age Baseball Photographs.
Neal McCabe isn’t just a visual person: he also edited the audio version of the classic, The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence Ritter.
I spoke with Neal McCabe recently about the treasures he and his sister unearthed, the art of composing a good caption, and the legacy of Charles Conlon.