Amputators vs Extractors

Part of the SHORT STOPS series
Written by: Jenny Ambrose

On Flag Day (June 14) in 1913, the citizens of Plainfield, N.J., crowded into the stands at Parker Field to watch two rival occupational teams play baseball. The match pitted local doctors, who chose the sinister name of “Amputators” for their impromptu ball club, against the local dentists in a fundraiser for their community medical center, Muhlenberg Hospital.

The “Amputators” dressed in the uniform of their own profession rather than that of a ballplayer. The team appeared in white surgical scrubs with a long tunic ornamented on the sleeve with a traditional red cross and full-length trousers. They topped their unusual baseball uniforms with floppy scrub caps covering their heads. One team member stands at the far right of a group of 13 nurses seated in front of the grandstand in this photographic postcard. The nurses accompanied the doctors in their pre-game parade across the field and, as special fans, had on-field “seats” for the game. Elegantly dressed women in their charming, flowered hats swelled the ranks of the charitably-inclined spectators.

Spectators in the grandstand at the doctors vs dentists baseball game, a special fundraising event for Muhlenberg Hospital, at Parker Field (now the Hub Stine Sports Complex) in Plainfield, New Jersey, on June 14, 1913. - BL-49.2008.13 (Paul R. Collier / National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Other professional groups organized ad hoc baseball teams to compete in fundraising games for Muhlenberg Hospital. Local ministers formed the “Sky-Pilots”; newspaper men the “Ink Slingers”; and law enforcement the “Cops.” The support of the community assisted the hospital in providing health services and employment to the residents of Plainfield for more than 100 years.

One of dozens of real photo postcards in the Hall of Fame’s collection, this postcard was issued by local Plainfield photographer Paul R. Collier at the height of America’s “postcard mania” in a year when the U.S. Postal Service estimates nearly 1 billion postcards were mailed. The production of specialized postcard printing papers enabled amateur photographers and operators of small photographic studios to produce low-cost postcards in small print runs. These early 20th century real photo postcards capture local minor league, semi-professional, and amateur teams and community baseball events.

Jenny Ambrose is the former photo archivist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

A special thanks to Sarah Hull, Archivist at the Plainfield Public Library, for sharing her research and local knowledge. Additional postcards of the doctors vs dentists baseball game are available on the Plainfield Public Library website.

Reproductions

To the top

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum features a collection of nearly 250,000 photographs like this one. Reproductions are available for purchase. To purchase a reprint of this photograph or others from the Photo Archive collections, please call (607) 547-0375 or email [email protected]. Hall of Fame members receive a 10-percent discount.

Online Photo Exhibits

To the top

More Photos

To the top

Part of the SHORT STOPS series