Go to the ballpark at the right time, especially during spring training, and it’s possible you’ll see a card company photographer snapping pictures of players to use in an upcoming series. Decades before bubble gum cards, card makers acquired photos wherever they could find them and turned them into artwork used to create cardboard heroes.
RMY Auctions is currently offering a photo taken by the legendary Charles Conlon that will look familiar to anyone who has thumbed through a stack of 1933 Goudey cards.
The image, taken in 1927, features Hall of Famer Al Simmons in a batting stance. Six years later, Conlon’s posed photo would be used by an artist to create Simmons’ 1933 Goudey card.
The 6 ½ x 8 ½” photo has been in a newspaper archive for more than eight decades and while it has some pinholes and other wear, it’s a rare glimpse of the Philadelphia A’s star. Complete with Conlon’s own stamp on the back, the photo is one of more than 1,300 images up for bid in RMY’s Premier Auction.
Born Aloisius Szymanski, Simmons spent two decades in the big leagues, finishing with a lifetime average of .334 and two batting titles. In ’27, the year the photo was taken, Simmons hit .392. He played on two championship teams with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. In 1999, he was ranked 43rd on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All-Time.
To learn more about the auction and register for bidding, click here.