CONTEST: Name The Player

Wagner PC

Time for a contest.

In our upcoming auction, we’ll be featuring this absolutely spectacular postcard.  It depicts three players, horsing around on the baseball field during Spring Training, an image we feel truly illustrates the ideas behind “Love of the Game.”

The postcard came from Honus Wagner’s estate.  There are handwritten notes underneath the three players – underneath Wagner, it looks to read “Hans.”  Underneath Hall of Fame manager Fred Clarke, it reads “Clark.”

Underneath the guy in the middle, it appears to read “Alpean.”

Some have concluded that the guy in the middle is Dodgers infielder Whitey Alperman.  We struggle with that, because A) the player looks nothing like Whitey Alperman to us, and B) Whitey Alperman was with the Dodgers.  Though the player does have a “B” on his sleeve, and the Brooklyn Dodgers also trained in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where the Pirates trained, we think there’s a good chance he’s wearing a Pirates uniform (the Pirates had a “PBC” logo on their sleeves, for “Pittsburgh Baseball Club.”).

The player looks awfully familiar.  Can you name him?

If you can name him, and provide us with photographic proof, we will give you a TWO HUNDRED DOLLAR credit for spending in our Spring auction.  The rules?  Simple.  A) We have to agree with you.  B) You have to win something in the auction, and we’ll discount your price by $200.  C) You need to be a registered bidder in order to play.  Send your answers with photographic proof to info at loveofthegameauctions dot com. First correct answer wins.

Meanwhile, check out this awesome postcard.

Between 1901 and 1913, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent their spring training weeks in Hot Springs, Arkansas, preparing for each upcoming season.  The team trained and played its exhibition games at Whittington Park, springtime home to several other teams including the Brooklyn Dodgers.

This postcard, featuring Pittsburgh Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke, flanking an unknown third player, exemplifies all the excitement of spring training.  The happiness in their faces as they horse around for the cameras is a stark contrast the the majority of photos depicting the two Hall of Famers.  Perhaps that’s why this postcard was initially auctioned as part of Honus Wagner’s personal belongings when parts of his estate were sold several years ago.

The medicine ball in the background tipped us off that the photo was likely taken during spring training but it was our stadium expert Tom Daley who was able to quickly identify the ballpark as Whittington Park based on the grandstand behind home plate and the trees on the hill beyond the third base line. The postcard, which is postally unused and displays wonderfully, appears in EX condition save for handwriting on the bottom of the image, identifying the players.

Despite this handwriting, we are unable to identify the player in the center (we are fairly certain he is not Whitey Alperman, as some have speculated).  The uniform could be a Brooklyn or Pittsburgh uniform (the Pirates players had uniforms with a “PBC” logo on the left sleeve).  Regardless, the photo is easily our favorite item in this auction – a picture of three pro ballplayers (including one of the greatest ever), hamming it up for the camera, smiling in anticipation of the upcoming season, truly demonstrating their Love of the Game.

1 thought on “CONTEST: Name The Player”

  1. Hi Al,

    I would like to make a guess in your “Name the Player” contest. The player in the middle looks a lot like Fred Clarke. Perhaps it is his younger brother Josh who played in Cleveland in 1908-09. Josh’s T206 card doesn’t look like the picture of the player in the center of your postcard, but a black and white photograph of Josh on Baseball Reference,com looks similar. Of course when you clown around and smile the face is distorted and it makes identification more difficult. If the player is Josh it would explain the clowning around.

    In any case it is a neat photo.

    Best regards,

    Joe Drouillard

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