Forrest S. Yantis captured the faces of his favorite ballplayers in a series of intimate, bust-length portraits. An “ardent admirer” of his local team the Cleveland Indians, the affable, young insurance salesman from Troy, Ohio pursued his passion for baseball by wielding his camera. Between 1928 and 1938, Yantis photographed more than 200 players, producing poster-sized prints of his favorite portraits. When he returned to the ballpark, he presented photographs to the players who posed for him and secured their autographs on copies for his own collection.
Covering every available inch of wall space at his insurance company’s offices, these inscribed, larger-than-life images formed Yantis’s personal baseball portrait gallery. The majority of the images he took and chose for his own gallery capture Cleveland players who he watched on the field over many years. Among his familiar Indians players and those from visiting teams were dozens of outstanding stars and future Hall of Famers.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum gratefully acknowledges the Whitaker Family, the descendants of Forrest S. Yantis, for their generous donation of Yantis’s photographs to the Hall’s Photo Archive. —