Skip to main content

Collection By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s

Game Day in the Majors

This sampler of baseball images conveys the experience of attending a major league game about 1910 to 1920: from waiting in line and buying hot dogs, to viewing a game in a large stadium, or from a perch on a pole. Although different cities and teams appear in the photographs, many relate to New York City, where the photographer, the Bain News Service, had its headquarters.

The game would be worth the wait for Brooklyn fans on this World Series day. The home team Brooklyn Robins shut out the Cleveland Indians 3-0. (The Robins officially became the Dodgers in 1932.)

Crowds waiting in line at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn for World Series Game, October 6, 1920. Photographic print by Bain News Service, October 6, 1920. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-92826 (b&w))
'Hot Dogs' for fans waiting for gates to open at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn. Photographic print by Bain News Service, October 6, 1920. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-58784 (b&w))

Concessionaires are selling hot dogs and "ice cold lemonade" to fans at a World Series game in Brooklyn, New York.

Shibe Park, exterior view of the entrance, Philadelphia. Photographic print by Bain News Service, ca. 1913. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-79895 (b&w))

Shibe Park opened in 1909 and was later known as Connie Mack Stadium, in honor of the Athletics' long-time manager and owner. The park was torn down in 1976.

President Woodrow Wilson throwing out the first ball, opening day, 1916. Photographic print, 1916. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-9981 (b&w))

Having the President throw out the first pitch to open a new baseball season is a tradition dating to 1910. This practice has also come to include World Series games and the All-Star game. Several residents of the White House have been closely associated with the National Pastime: George Bush was an accomplished first baseman at Yale, Jimmy Carter an enthusiastic pitcher for his softball team, and Ronald Reagan played Grover Cleveland Alexander on the screen.

Perhaps President Eisenhower summed it up best: "When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing and as we sat there in the warmth of the summer afternoon on a river bank, we talked about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I told him that I wanted to be a real major league baseball player, a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he'd like to be president of the United States. Neither of us got our wish." (Quotation from Paul Dickson's Baseball's Greatest Quotations; used by author's permission.)

"Spectators at Pittsburg[sic]-Detroit game." Photograph by Bain News Service, October, 1909. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-103768 (b&w))

Fans have climbed a tall pole to watch a World Series game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers.

Polo Grounds, New York City, during World Series Game. Photograph by Bain News Service, 1913. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-69242 (b&w))

In this scene at the Polo Grounds, the New York Giants are playing the Philadelphia Athletics, who won the World Series. The New York Yankees also played at the Polo Grounds until they built their own stadium.

 Back to top