Ted Williams Original Snapshot Photo
Type 1 PSA, 1937
A one of a kind rarity in the soaring Type I Photograph market, offered here is an incredible snapshot of Ted Williams in 1937 with the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast Minor League. Measuring 2 1/2 x 3 5/8 inches, the black and white image features the future Hall of famer in uniform, just 18 years of age in a traditional pose clutching his tool of trade. This is one of the earliest images of Williams known, and most likely a unique snapshot.
Today the legend of Ted Williams is glorified by baseball enthusiasts. Casual fans and avid followers alike are well aware of Williams’ status among baseball legends; even New York Yankee fans respect the Boston icon! But at the time of this photo, America didn’t know who Ted Williams was. The fact that a local photographer was able to capture this clear image of a lanky 18 year old kid who would go on to become the greatest hitter to ever live is quite special.
Of course scouts were aware of the young talent, whose skills lured offers from the Yankees and Cardinals. However, Williams’ mother wanted her son to stay close to home and finish school, so Ted settled for his hometown San Diego Padres in 1936.
At the time, the Padres were in the Pacific Coast League, one rung below the Majors and the equivalent to today’s Triple-A. Williams started as a backup outfielder, but by the end of the 1936 season he earned a starting spot. Most importantly, the 17 year-old had attracted the attention of Hall of Famer Eddie Collins, then a scout for the Boston Red Sox. Collins filed away the teenager’s name and quietly kept tabs on his progress.
By the end of the 1937 season, Williams posted a .291 batting average and launched 23 homers, leading the Padres to the Pacific Coast League Championship. At just 18 years of age as the youngest player on his team, Ted Williams was the most sought after player in the Minors, but it was the steadfast Eddie Collins who would come away with the prize.
“The Kid” spent the following 1938 season with Boston’s Double-A affiliated Minneapolis Millers, before officially joining the Red Sox. The rest as they say, is history!
Williams is widely considered the best pure hitter in history. A 2x American League MVP, his .344 career average over 19 years certainly speaks volumes. However, there's more to the story: he reached base in almost half his at bats--a staggering .482 career on-base percentage, he owns two Triple Crown awards, and six batting titles, including two at ages 39 (.388 avg!) and 40 yrs old.
We have owned hundreds of Original Type I photographs in our 60 years in business, but we have never seen this image before, nor have we owned a similar Williams photo in our collection. Put simply, it is unique and an extraordinary piece of history. Saying we are proud to offer it would be an understatement!
The only other copy known to exist is a second generation copy that sold in auction for $2,250. Of course this version is less desirable because it’s not nearly as clear as the Original Type I. Additionally, a Real Photo Postcard of the 1937 Padres team featuring Williams sold for $15,000.
A Type 1 photo is a first generation photograph, developed from the original negative during the period. They are the most desirable and valuable of the four photograph types because of their clarity, vintage, and originality.
In a world where cards and autographs have dominated the hobby, vintage photography is an emerging genre of sports collecting that will continue to rise. These original photographs are extremely scarce with only a handful known – in many cases one of a kind! Serious collectors consider them true artifacts, as opposed to cards and other memorabilia that were mass produced for commercial sale and advertising.
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