Rucker: Is this the first Cuban baseball card?

From SABR member Mark Rucker at The Rucker Archive on January 10, 2014:

This Cuban baseball card has me intrigued.

The card shown, featuring a photo of the Almendares Blues – or Bando Azul, was advertised as a cabinet card, and indeed the little photograph was glued onto a piece of cardboard.  But I knew something was up when I saw the scan of this photo, although it took me about four days to figure out what was familiar.  After the image of this card floated through certain synaptic channels, it was the black border of the card that caught my attention, though it was not conscious.  It was familiar – only this one did not encircle the image as with the cards in the Nacionales set issued in 1924.

The piece is photographic, 2 3/32″ wide and 31/32″ high. The back of this card is blank with an iridescent black border trimmed on two sides.

Those Nacionales photographic cards are 2 716″ x 1 5/8″ with a shiny, 1/4″ iridescent black border all the way around them.

Noting the measurements, if I place the Bando Azul card on top of a Nacionales card, it fits and looks proper when placed so that the upper left corners meet.

This card has a date of 1903 on it.

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Originally published: January 13, 2014. Last Updated: January 13, 2014.