#Shortstops: Historic tintype photo of Sim Bullas donated to Hall of Fame
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Despite Bullas’ shortcomings in the big leagues, Bullas was a star in England. After his time in Toledo, Bullas continued to play ball but also fell back on manufacturing work, working as a metal molder at a foundry in Cleveland. The foundry received a letter from Ley, an industry partner, requesting two men be transferred to his plant to work and play for his new team. Bullas was sent alongside a pitcher named John Reidenbach. Their manager and first baseman, Will “Tubby” Bryan, was also from Ohio but the rest of their team was made up of English natives, new to the game of baseball.
The tintype captures Bullas at the peak of his baseball career, standing for a studio portrait. He is dressed in a simple uniform, reminiscent of many of the team uniforms of the time, including both Toledo and Derby. Interestingly, he is posed with a bat rather than his catching gear which, with Derby, was described in one article as having “meager padding for chin and cheeks.” The backdrop looks similar to the one used in the 1884 Toledo Blue Stockings team photo but this type of setting was fairly common for portraiture of the time, making it difficult to date the image.
Kelli Bogan is the photo archives manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum