Spencer Hall of the ever-fantastic Every Day Should Be Saturday (recommended even for non-college football fans) and SBNation today presented a fantastic piece on 1887 sports cards. Never one to be left out, baseball represented two of the (in the author’s humblest opinion) finer entries. Below is Dell Darling, “champion base ball catcher.”
We’ll let Hall take it from here:
Darling set what was then a record by surviving 14 assaults by batters, who, if they did not flinch upon contact with a pitched ball, were then allowed to swing freely at the “catcher” until their arms grew tired and the wood of the bat itself grew soft. The 1887 matchup between Champion Base Ball Batter James O’Neil and Dell Darling was described by the Providence, Rhode Island police department as “sportive, thoroughly entertaining, and most certainly manslaughter of the first degree.” Be not confused! Dell Darling in this picture is not pleading for his life, but is most certainly taunting the batter with his trademark phrase, “A butter’s whore is bread’s mistress, and your mother is the entire sand-wich!” Being a catcher was stupid in 1887, and still is.
The rest of the piece is highly recommended as well.