Sunday, July 13, 2008

Photo research puzzler

As a quick break from the parade of #5s, check out this baseball photo found yesterday at a Cape Cod, MA antique store. It doesn't have any provenance, but does include clues as to time and place from the clothes and surroundings. Wonder how close we can ID a time and place based on those pieces? (Rich Lederer of Baseball Analysts ran similar Foto Friday contests a little while ago.) Click the photo for a full-detail scan.

The picture shows a backyard-style game. It looks like people are circling bases after a hit, with a catcher prepping to receive a throw. It's almost certainly home plate, as there are two bats on the ground nearby. Two women in skirts run the bases, one likely the hitter headed to the swingset (first base), and the other (in the darker skirt) running home from third. An inscription on the back reads "Blue River Baseball Team" in nice penmanship.

The closest nearby connections are the Bluefish River (Duxbury, MA, across the bay from the Cape) and the Blue Hills Reservation south of Boston. Perhaps it's a house at the base of the hills? The trees rise steeply beyond the house and baseball diamond, so could be from another area entirely. (Plenty of states include a "Blue River," so I'm starting with proximity to the point of purchase.)

There's a flagpole in the back, but no wind means a slack flag, and no chance to date the photo by number of states. I did a high-resolution scan that picks up pretty much everything on the original. Any other ideas for locale and time? I'm interested in the idea of girls and boys playing together (or against each other), since women don't show up much in early baseball history.

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