It is hard to overstate the importance of Louis Sandtop in both the evolution of black baseball, the formation of the Negro Leagues, and on the position of catcher itself. He was the first great black slugger at the same time Babe Ruth was becoming known for the same exploits in white baseball. He was also the first power-hitting catcher in the history of the game. Sandtop was the biggest star in black baseball and his star status was integral in the formal formation of the Negro Leagues. The offered photograph clearly shows Sandtop in uniform with the Hilldale club in 1919-1920 when they played in a game against the Parkesburg Iron Company in Pennsylvania. Sandtop is in his full catcher's gear and makes the play while a white player slides behind him. The image captures an integrated crowd behind Sandtop which is a great touch considering the social situation of the day. A silver gelatin original, this was originally in a photo album of baseball games for the Parkesburg team and had the name "Sandtop in Action" written below the image in the book. There is also a handwritten note on the back that reads, "Hilldale" and has the number 231 which corresponds the negative number while a paper caption has been added to the back with the same number and caption. There is no doubt this is Sandtop and his Hilldale cap and unmistakable face are both clearly visible. In the entire world, there are only about five known images of Sandtop that exist and this is one of the best, offered here individually for the first time ever! The photo comes with the paper backing the image was removed from for provenance as a photograph of the image still in the album as well.
Designation: Vintage 1
Overall Grade: 10/10