With the Olympics set to begin Jeremy Rowe shares images of Arizona’s sporting past from his vast private collection of vintage Arizona photographs.
Ted Simons: The 2012 summer Olympic Games kick off this week with opening ceremonies in London. To get in the mood for the onslaught of athletic competition, we thought we'd take a look at Arizona's sporting past as captured on film. Here to share some of his remarkable images is Jeremy Rowe, the owner of vintagephoto.com. It's great to see you again. Thanks for joining us. You bring such great photographs here. We are going to look at some old athletic teams and athletic competitors and such. Where do you find this stuff?
Jeremy Rowe: I have been looking for years, I've been collecting for about 30 years off and on. Some of the markets, antique stores, other places. Collectors groups. I sort of beat bushes for it. Anything that tells the story that has a little background that gives some idea of what life was like at the time appeals to me. I try to ferret it out and collect and it work with people like you to get it out.
Ted Simons: Sometimes you find a photograph you don't know what you are looking at until you do research.
Jeremy Rowe: Sometimes you get a group of photographs that tell a story. It's a piece. Once it comes together you learn more about it.
Ted Simons: Let's start with some photographs. There's a lot of team photos. I think everyone's family has some grandfather or uncle somewhere who stat sat in a team photo. This is I believe from Tombstone stone long time ago.
Jeremy Rowe: That's the earliest Arizona baseball photo I have been able to find so far. It's a too many stone team from 18 83. Just after the big boom in too many stone. A lot of the mining communities had things like brad bands, parades, that were community events and baseball was a big one particularly in the holidays like the Fourth of July and Christmas.
Ted Simons: I guess they played obviously local mining teams and also teams from Mexico. Correct? There's another photograph of an outlaw Mexican team.
Jeremy Rowe: They were across the border. Because they weren't in the u.s. They tended to draw people from, after the teams, they would the black sox scandal. One of the black sox members came and played with that team, hidden from the organized baseball sports.
Ted Simons: We have another photograph of a baseball park in warren down by business bee, I believe.
Jeremy Rowe: That's the birth baseball park built in Arizona, about 1906, cost about $3,600 to build. It was major facility up into the '30s and '40s. Babe ruth played at that facility. During the teens that's where the bisbee deportations, they loaded them on train cars and sent them off in 1917.
Ted Simons: Is there of that down there now?
Jeremy Rowe: The stadium is still there. You still see the buildings of the stadium and the stands. But not much beyond that.
Ted Simons: Ok. There's another baseball stadium in Jerome. It's hard to think of a baseball stadium in that little place with all the mountains but look at that. That's a beautiful facility.
Jeremy Rowe: It's flat enough to have a room for a baseball field. It shows how many people would show up in the games. This is in the mid '20s and the number of cars and people there and the size of stands, there are thousands of people pull together there had which is pretty amazing for Arizona during that time.
Ted Simons: That's really something. Something else, one of your photographs that fascinated me as a golfer is to see this guy playing golf and there's no grass there and that's Camelback mountain. That's amazing photograph.
Jeremy Rowe: That's the Angleside Inn, one of the big resorts. They played on oiled sand. It was easier to take care of and keep going. It's about 68th street and Indian School roughly looking north.
Ted Simons: They just whack the ball there in that oiled sand?
Jeremy Rowe: There's still one out at Apache Junction that's very similar.
Ted Simons: Is there really? I don't think I want to play it with you I didn't know that. Golf, now it's time to do tennis. This is a little more structured here in the sense of people are actually playing on a court.
Jeremy Rowe: Yeah, tennis came in the 1880s and was active in Arizona in the military bases which is urban for out west. Fairly quickly out here. The image is the Camelback inn, the doubles match.
Ted Simons: The long shadows, got to be wintertime, long shadows long pants. Better not be the middle of summer. African-American, buffalo soldiers participated in a relay race. First of all, this is an interesting, where did you find this photograph?
Jeremy Rowe: This is a photo postcard. It came from searching thousands and thousands of photographic postcards and finding one that was labeled Arizona which is what I look for and finding the story behind it, enlarging it, notice, it's African Americans. These are the buffalo soldiers, the African-American troops and during World War I and the Mexican border war they had a number of people stationed in that area. This is one of the African-American relay races.
Ted Simons: Isn't that fascinating? Rugby played in Arizona, in Phoenix and someone took a photograph.
Jeremy Rowe: You got it. Rugby and soccer both were brought over by the minors, a lot of English miners brought the English sports over. There's a very active soccer and rugby league. Tend not to think about it now. That was an Olympic sport just after the turn of the century, but rugby was fairly popular here for a sort stretch and soccer continued for many years.
Ted Simons: An Olympic sport we will be watching is gymnastics. I don't know what all these folks are doing but apparently they are participating in gymnastics.
Jeremy Rowe: This is one of my favorites. I went to ASU for many years. This is the normal school gymnastics team with their normal, the underclassmen were called subnormals jerseys which I am trying to track. That's a fun image.
Ted Simons: This is doing pullups?
Jeremy Rowe: Weights in the area just around old main. That area in front of old main at campus.
Ted Simons: Almost, I don't know. I thought I could figure that out but I don't know. Target shooting.
Jeremy Rowe: Target shooting is an olympic sport also. I pulled a couple of images. The communities as they would have baseball teams and other teams also had target shooting teams and they traveled from place to place. The image you are seeing there is the Prescott team when they were visiting Bisbee. They had national winners in target shooting competitions that came from Arizona.
Ted Simons: I bet you have some good shots out here.
Jeremy Rowe: I bet so.
Ted Simons: This next one may be my favorite. Who was jumbo john middleski?
Jeremy Rowe: He was a Yuma Indian which was recruited, an Indian policeman and recruited as a rustler and performer and taken to San Francisco. They tried to curry him for fighting the world champion, the heavyweight champion at that point. And he got one shot at him in the studio and one shot of him with his manager just before they left for san francisco. 6'7" tall.
Ted Simons: 6'7"? Wow. He could be a professional wrestler today.
Jeremy Rowe: And probably would act same way.
Ted Simons: Jumbo john. Our last one here is of rodeo. And really with Arizona rodeo is something you have to include some way, shape, or form.
Jeremy Rowe: Not necessarily an Olympic sport but an Arizona sport, something we are known for. That's a shot of a couple of performers, two brothers that were trick ropers that went around, rodeo is a big deal. There were many photographs taken here and primarily Prescott was the other big one. But there are rodeos around the state as well.
Ted Simons: When you publish these or put these on your website, have you ever had anyone look at them and say, there's Uncle John?
Jeremy Rowe: I sure have. I have one image at sky harbor airport. The granddaughter of a woman who was in a rest home in Globe noted her grandmother who was there who had been the rodeo queen and we were able to get a photograph back to her and close the loop on that. Very rare but it does happen. It's really wonderful. That's what the whole point is is saving this stuff, passing this on and making connections with people and the photographs.
Ted Simons: We kind of stop there had with the '20s and such but I guess I think we had a 1940s photograph as well. But as the years go on you got some, Arizona is such a young state, vintage photographs is what you make, something in the '50s and '60s could be considered vintage around here.
Jeremy Rowe: That's 50 years old now. When I first started in the '70s it was the teens but now it's the '50s. Time line keeps moving forward.
Ted Simons: Last question. I have asked you this before. What makes you do this?
Jeremy Rowe: I just love the photographs and the stories behind them. It's a lot of fun tracking and researching them. Every one has a story and trying to figure that story out and analyze it and what the process is, who the photographer was, when it was taken. How it relates to other photographs, that's what I find enjoyable and it's a good escape.
Ted Simons: Sounds like a lot of fun. It's good to have you here.
Jeremy Rowe: Always a pleasure.
Jeremy Rowe:Private collector;