A few weeks ago James Tate alerted me to this stunning postcard of a Cuban Giants team, with the players identified on the reverse, for sale on eBay:
And here is the reverse side, which identifies the players:
Standing, L to R: Clarence Williams, Judy Gans, Brown (see below), Harry Leavell, John Emory, Al Robinson (captain), Bill Land; seated, middle row: Jesse Bragg, John Bright (owner/business manager), Wallace Gordon, Dawson (no first name); seated, front row: mascot, Alfred “Toad” Satterfield, Charles Reese.
The seller dated it “ca. 1908,” but it’s actually pretty easy to establish more precisely that the photograph shows the 1910 Cuban Giants. The key is the presence of captain Al Robinson, who played for the Cuban Giants only in 1910.
This postcard is quite significant, as it provides us with the first confirmed images (that I know of, anyway) of Bill Land, Al Robinson, Charles Reese, and Dawson (who still lacks a first name), and the first really clear photo of Jesse Bragg I’ve seen. It’s also perhaps the only glimpse we have of the 1910 Cuban Giants uniforms.
In addition to all that, it gives us more insight into other photos and teams, most notably this picture of the 1906 Brooklyn Royal Giants, discussed by Albert Flannery here.
The 1910 Cuban Giants postcard, I believe, confirms Albert’s ID of Al Robinson as the player standing in back, third from right, in the Royal Giants photo.
But look at the player identified as “Brown” with the Cuban Giants. He is quite obviously the same person as the guy standing in the middle of the back row (fourth from right, fourth from left) in the Royal Giants picture.
Albert had identified this player as the pitcher Peter “Pop” Andrews, though admittedly this was more speculative. I think the 1910 Cuban Giants postcard makes it quite clear that this is in fact Harry Brown.
Or is it? I have always thought the Brown who played for the Royal Giants from 1905 through 1909 was Harry Brown, but check out this article from early 1910, which identifies the Cuban Giants player as Mike Brown:
Given that Brown of the 1910 Cuban Giants also definitely played for the 1906 Royal Giants, this would seem to indicate that the Royal Giants player was Mike Brown. See also this note listing guests at the Colonial Hotel in Pittsburgh in early 1906, which included members of the “Royal Giants baseball club, of Brooklyn, N. Y.,” one of them named “M. Brown”:
(By the way, “R. Foster” is not Rube Foster, but rather the catcher Robert Footes.)
For the heck of it, here’s Mike Brown and a couple of his 1910 Cuban Giants teammates on the 1913 Schenectady Mohawk Giants:
L to R: William Wernecke (owner), Jesse Bragg, Grant Johnson, Mike Brown, Big Bill Smith, Cyclone Joe Williams, Leroy Grant, Judy Gans, Phil Bradley, Johnny Pugh.
UPDATE 3:11 pm: Added the reverse side of the postcard and identified all the players, which I had completely forgotten to do.
UPDATE 4:48 pm: Added a link to Albert's discussion of the Royal Giants photos.