Canale: Legends of the camera: George Burke and George Brace

From Larry Canale at The National Pastime Museum on August 27, 2015:

Photographers George Burke and George Brace are forever connected, both professionally and personally. Burke came along first, a Chicago-based photographer who corralled the younger Brace as an assistant and mentored him for years. Their output—portraits and poses, candids and action shots—captured the faces of everyone from the Babe Ruths and Hank Aarons of the game to the likes of Johnny Niggeling (a World War II-era pitcher with a 64-69 lifetime record) and Gene “Half-Pint” Rye (a .179 lifetime hitter in 17 games for 1931 Red Sox).

Amazingly, their prolific combined archive—hundreds of thousands of images taken with the Speed Graflex cameras they both used—would never have been created if not for a case of mistaken identity.

As the story goes, the 1929 season was drawing near, and Chicago Cubs Manager Joe McCarthy and veteran catcher Gabby Hartnett wanted the team’s players photographed in street clothes. They knew the Cubs used a photographer named Burke, so they looked up that name in Chicago’s Yellow Pages and quickly found the name George C. Burke. It made sense; he operated a photo studio at 847 Belmont Avenue, not far from Wrigley Field.

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Originally published: August 27, 2015. Last Updated: August 27, 2015.