First impressions aren’t everything.
Carl Hubbell was a 23-year-old prospect when he was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1926 but player-manager Ty Cobb and his pitching coach, George McBride, weren’t blown away by the young pitcher’s talent and thought his screwball might mean arm trouble down the road. Eventually, he was sold to Beaumont of the Texas League where a scout for the New York Giants in Houston for the Democratic National Convention decided to take in a game. He was impressed enough to contact manager John McGraw and soon, Hubbell was on his way to the Big Apple.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day is one of the earliest images of the Hall of Fame pitcher during his big league career, one taken by legendary baseball photographer Charles Conlon.
The 6 ½” x 8 ½” image carries Conlon’s stamp on the back. It’s one of the premier items in RMY’s April Auction, which concludes Saturday night.
Hubbell wasn’t a star when Conlon snapped this photo but by the time his career ended in 1943, he would own two MVP awards, a World Series ring and nine All-Star appearances. During the 1934 All-Star Game, he famously fanned five players who would one day be elected to the Hall of Fame.
After Hubbell’s career ended, Giants owner Horace Stoneham named him the team’s director of player development and he stayed in that role for 35 years before becoming a Giants scout late in life.