It’s barely legible, but at the top the poster reads:
Then, after a photograph of a ball player surrounded by unfortunately unreadable text, it says:
(illegible) MAY (??)
There’s only a very narrow window of time in which this photograph could have been taken. The Philadelphia Giants disbanded in August, 1911; though there were later teams that used that name, they tended to remain on the east coast, rarely if ever venturing into the Midwest. Detroit’s Mack Park, semi-pro venue and later home of the Detroit Stars, was opened in May, 1910.
As it turns out, the Cuban Stars and the Philadelphia Giants met in Detroit for a five-game series, lasting from May 31 to June 4, 1911, for what the promoter John Roesink would call the “world’s semi-pro championship.” (Roesink would later own the Detroit Stars.) So the photo must have been taken in May, 1911, presumably in Detroit.
(Detroit Free Press, May 23, 1911, p. 10)
The “S. & S.” team was Mack Park's original home team, the Schmitz and Shroder semipro club, which Roesink managed. The Philadelphia Giants were returning to the east from a stay in Chicago; this was to be their last western trip. Managed by Grant “Home Run” Johnson, their lineup featured rookies Dick Redding and Louis Santop (called “Loftin,” his real last name, in the box scores), but the once-proud team was on its last legs.
Both teams had played in Detroit before. Back in 1909 the Giants had beaten Rube Foster’s Leland Giants two games out of three in Bennett Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. The Cuban Stars, who had appeared in Mack Park in July, 1910, were a big draw in Detroit, in large part due to the Tigers’ trips to Cuba in 1909 and 1910. Even though the Giants had some well-known players, my bet would be that the player pictured on the poster was probably one of the Cubans, most likely José Méndez, who had already received a fair amount of publicity in the United States by this time.
Méndez would win the first game, coming in to relieve J. F. Marlota in the fifth inning despite having pitched a complete game victory over the S. & S. the day before:
(Detroit Free Press, June 1, 1911, p. 10)
The Cubans would take the series handily, four games out of five, with Méndez picking up two of the victories and striking out 15 in 14 innings.
I don’t know of any other photo that (completely by accident, it seems) shows an advertisement for a Negro league game in the background. It appears to be unique in that respect.
Now if somebody could come up with a copy of that poster…