Monday, June 18, 2012

Who Is This Masked Man?

Last month I did a really long post about the pictures on the current background of Picture #6 (at the top, second from left) is a catcher. But unlike all the other guys shown, it doesn't seem to be a Red Sox player. In fact, I think it's...a Yankees player. Since this is the most intriguing picture, and since what I wrote about it was so far down the original post, I figured I'd isolate that text and show you the specific picture in a new post. At left is picture of the catcher in question. Below, my original thoughts on it. Please let me know if you have any opinions/info about this--we have to figure this out! (And if we confirm it's not a Red Sox, we need to tell them about it!)

6. Back to the top, to the right of Beckett: This one has proven to be quite controversial. We have a catcher in pinstripes. Yes, the Red Sox used to wear pinstripes, back before 1932. But I've been doing a lot of research on this, and the gear and the sleeve length tell me this is much later, like the late 30s at the earliest. Also, this "throw off the mask" pose didn't gain popularity until then--catchers up until that point were usually posed in a crouch. And by then, you pretty much had one team wearing pinstripes. That's right, I feel like this has to be a Yankee catcher. I don't see a sign of the NY or anything else on the chest, but it could be barely hidden by the chest protector. Call me crazy, but this looks like Bill Dickey. The face kind of looks like anybody's face when they look upwards, but it still seems to match all the pics I see of Dickey. In fact, from what I've seen, I might even go so far as calling Dickey the "father" of this pose. And the background looks like Yankee Stadium. Fenway back when the Red Sox wore pinstripes had its seats set higher up, almost on top of the fence. I also found a shot of Dickey at the Yanks' spring training park, and it also looks like this. But I think it's Dickey, at Yankee Stadium, circa 1941. Why would the Red Sox use a Yankee picture? I don't know, maybe they found an old catcher photo in their archives and assumed it was one of their own. I hope I'm wrong here, but all signs point to Bill Dickey, or at least a Yankee. Or at least not a Red Sock. Weird. Tell me what you think....

The entire collage-style background is shown in my original post, or (for now) at

Note: If you read the original post, you'll see I did use the reverse image search at a last resort with other pics--I did it with this too (along with all kinds of other searching) and couldn't find this same image anywhere. That would be key. Until then we're stuck using the clues within the picture.

Alright, here's my guess, just based on the the pre-80's photos they used, and the body type - Jimmy Foxx. I've been through the list of Red Sox catchers, and the only ones I could think of them using in that list were Birdie Tebbetts, Haywood Sullivan (because of his role in the organization), Wally Schang (I think he was the catcher during Fenway's opening), or maybe Roy Partee (the catcher during Slaughter's mad dash). But given that this is a staged photo and not an actual action shot, I have to think that it'd be a higher profile player. Which makes me think Foxx.

The shirt fits - I see a lot of pictures of Fox in ultra-short sleeves. I think he matches the gear and roughly the time period. What I can't reconcile is the pinstripes though.
I finally asked my dad and he went with Tebbets. But he and Foxx definitely never wore pinstripes.

If it is a Red Sox catcher, we'd have to come up with some reason why they'd ever be wearing pinstripes post-1932.

Another thing we can say for sure is that this isn't Fenway, not even pre-1930s renovation Fenway.

I also feel like you didn't need to be a high-profile guy to get a posed shot. I mean, they were always taking pics of everybody. You might need to be a starter, but you didn't necessarily have to be a star to get a photo shoot.
Oh no, I agree that you don't need to be a star to be in a photo shoot, my thought is that they intentionally chose a staged photo for this montage, which makes me think that they intentionally were choosing a photo of this player to add - rather than choosing a significant event in Fenway's history (like the Mad Dash) or many of the other photos (like Lonborg). In that circumstance, it'd make the most sense if it were a high profile player like Foxx or Tebbetts.
Right, yeah, for this, it should be either an important moment or notable Red Sox guy. Or Bill Dickey! Maybe...
I think you're on the right track, but the wrong Yankee catcher/era. My guess is that it's Charlie Silvera, Yogi's longtime backup on the Yanks in the late 40's and 50's.
I definitely checked out the other Yankee catchers from that era--but I must have missed him because I don't remember the name. But that's a good call, as I really think it's a Yankee and that it's from that era. (Meaning anywhere from '40-'56 or so.)

What's really tough about this is that I feel like every face I look at could be a match to this face, because he's looking up like that and you just don't see much.

It could just as easily be Silvera as many others--however based on years, team, & the fact that you can't say it's definitely NOT him based on looks, I'd put him at the top of the list with Dickey for now....

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