A New Look at the Men of Baseball’s Past

Charles Conlon’s classic photographs of baseball players from the early 20th century offer a glimpse into a familiar sport at an otherworldly time

(© Sporting News)

Bill "Catfish" Klem

Bill Catfish Klem
(© Sporting News)
Bill “Catfish” Klem umpired 18 World Series during his Hall of Fame career. Charles Conlon tried to photograph every player from every team every year; he also made it a habit to shoot the umpires, even the crankiest ones. “What’s most different from Conlon’s age and today is the proximity of the photographer to the subject,” New York Times staff photographer Fred Conrad says. “There was a real interaction between Conlon and his subject, a real rapport. Today, with everything being shot digital, photographers have a computer in front of them and they’re downloading and transmitting images during every at-bat. There’s a disconnect between the photographer and the people they’re photographing.”

Read more about Conlon and the book of his work.


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