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Old 09-16-2013, 12:01 PM
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ramram ramram is offline
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Default Anatomy of a Negro League photograph - help needed with year

Having spent my entire life in the Kansas City area, I thought it would be interesting to try to garner more information from these three photographs that I recently picked up. These photographs were in a scrapbook from an African American family. The photos would appear to be from a KC Monarch's baseball game being played at Kansas City’s Municipal/Muehlebach/Blues/Ruppert stadium (the 4 different names that this stadium went by during its lifespan). I’m trying to see if I can identify the actual game being photographed. I figured I’d see if any of you sleuths can help me figure it out. If anybody has any additional thoughts or corroborating evidence, I’d sure appreciate the help. I’m hoping to identify the year of the photo and then I may be able to research the newspaper archives to identify the game (although Negro League game reporting was sparse).

The photos:

The first photo appears to be before the start of the game. There is a player or coach near home plate along with the umpires. Another umpire walks in from near the mound. A man in a hat stands near the batter’s box with what may be a large camera in his hand. Another player is partially shown in the lower right corner.

1.jpg

The second photo shows the field just after the game has concluded. Two players are still near second base. Another man is walking near the mound and may have a large camera in his hand. The scoreboard can be seen in the background.

2.jpg

The final photo shows the crowd exiting. Interesting that they seem to all exit through an opening in the center field fence.

3.jpg

Scoreboard close up:

4 scoreboard.jpg


Items of note:

The entire crowd appears to be African American.

The photo and the crowd’s dress give the appearance of being from the late 1930’s or the 1940’s.

It appears to be a large crowd, possibly sold out.

Advertisements around the stadium as well as the scoreboard hold clues. The size and location of the surrounding trees may help identify the year.

Likely early or late in the season as the crowd is dressed for cool weather.

Possibly a Sunday game considering the crowd’s dress (although African Americans dressed to the nines whenever they went to ballgames).

The clock above the scoreboard shows 4:52 just as the crowd is leaving. This would place the game either on a weekend or holiday.

The scoreboard appears to show that KC scored in the bottom of the second inning (looks like “3”) and appears to have won “3-0” over the “visitors”. Hard to tell for sure though.

The scoreboard shows that the minor league KC Blues team of the American Association (who shared this ballpark) played a game against “Col” (probably Columbus) and it appears the score may have been in favor of “Col” 7-6 in 11 innings. In the National League, NY may have been playing Pittsburg and in the American League, Detroit may have played Washington (I can’t quite make out the other teams).

I found a photo from 1942 that shows the same advertisement, etc. as one of the photos. Not sure how often the advertising changed but I have also seen photos from 1946 that showed changes in the advertising which would rule out 1946 as an option.

5 game from 1942.jpg

I also found the online photo below but no date. The advertising appears to be the same as in photo 1. Does anybody know what year this if from? There appears to be bunting around the top of the stadium. Is it from their 1942 championship? However, the championship was mostly played back east. Only one game was played in KC. The game didn’t end up counting as the Homestead Grays used some illegal players. The score from that game doesn’t match this game score so it is not related to this set of photos…darn it.

6 online photo.JPG

Last edited by ramram; 09-17-2013 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 09-17-2013, 10:49 PM
pariah1107
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These are awesome photos, and I have done a little work on the signs....

The Red Pegasus MobilOil sign suggests at earliest, 1930's, Happy Hollow Liquors & ButterNut Bread on right field fence suggest the repeal of Volstead Act, and acquisition by Interstate Bread Company (ButterNut/sign looks similar to Wonder). .

The most interesting is probably the Cook's Paint sign. Cook's Paint sponsored two AAU national championship basketball teams (1928-29), and owned a radio station in Kansas City (WHR?), 1930 - 50's.

The key, I feel, may be in the Frank L. Stephens Insurance sign. Though someone with access to a Kansas City Directory ca. 1930-40 for listings of Criterion Cleaners and Verdi Restaurant would probably be the most help. My guess is 1935-40.

Last edited by pariah1107; 09-17-2013 at 10:54 PM. Reason: Oh S#$@
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:35 PM
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Thanks Ty. Interesting info. I think you're on target. I'm still studying the Retrosheet MLB schedules from that period to see what games match up with the MLB games that show on the scoreboard (I wish there was Negro League game schedules and scores on Retrosheet!). I'm also still looking for some dated photos from the stadium that also show some of the advertisements for comparison.

Rob M.
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