Extremely rare cabinet-card photograph of Hall of Fame pitcher Ed Walsh produced by renowned Boston photographer Carl Horner. The formal studio photograph captures Walsh posing in uniform as a member of the Chicago White Sox. Horner’s photo credit appears along the base of the mount. This photo is certainly well known to card collectors, as it is the same image used in the production of Walsh's 1902-1911 W600 Sporting Life cabinet, 1908 PC760 Rose Company Postcard, and his 1909-1911 T206 White Border tobacco card. Walsh played with the White Sox from 1904 to 1916, during which time the club's road uniform, seen on Walsh here, never changed. However, even though no year is listed on the cabinet, the photo can be conclusively dated to Walsh's rookie season because it is the same photo of Walsh that appears on Horner's majestic 1904 American League team composite. A vintage handwritten notation in pencil on the reverse reads "Eddie Walsh/crack pitcher/Chicago White Sox/champions of 1909." (The White Sox were not champions in 1909; the club finished in fourth place.)
Carl Horner was one of the preeminent baseball photographers of his era and because Boston was home to both an American and National League franchise, he was able to capture nearly every Major League player during the early 1900s. This is the first example of this Walsh cabinet card we have seen, let alone handled, and the fact that it dates from his rookie season makes it one of, if not the the earliest known, photographic images of the Hall of Famer hurler. "Big Ed" Walsh was one of the dominant pitchers of his era and one of only two modern-day players to record 40 or more wins in a season (Walsh won 40 games with the White Sox in 1908; Jack Chesbro won 41 in 1904). Although Walsh played fourteen seasons (thirteen of which were spent with the Chicago White Sox), 168 of his 195 wins came in a span of just seven years (1906-1912). During that short period of brilliance, Walsh led the American League in ERA twice, and his lifetime ERA of 1.86 remains the lowest on record. Incredibly, Walsh wasn't inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame until 1946,
The photo (4 x 5.5 inches), which has exceptional clarity, displays both light foxing and soiling. The mount (5.25 x 7.25 inches) displays minor corner wear. Photos used in the production of trading cards have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially those of prominent Hall of Famers from classic issues. This is one of only a small number of original photos we have seen featuring a player image used in the T206, W600, or PC760 issues, and the fact that is Ed Walsh makes it one of the most significant such photos we have ever offered. Opening Bid $5,000. Estimate (open).