Anybody who is a regular reader of this blog knows that I have a thing for Patrick Henry Dillon. He's absolutely one of my favorite players from the 19th century, on a list with Fred Dunlap, Asa Smith, Bad Dickey Pearce, Lave Cross, Jack Gleason and Dillon's Red Stockings teammate Joe Blong.
One of the reasons I started researching 19th century St. Louis baseball was to try and figure out who Packy Dillon was. That quest was greatly aided by the assistance of the Dillon family, specifically Lynn Dillon. Recently, Lynn sent me the above photo.
Lynn told me that the picture was labeled P.H. Dillon and found taped in a book belonging to Dillon's daughter, Mary (who was also known as Marie). This is not incontrovertible evidence that this is a photo of Packy Dillon but I can't think of too many P.H. Dillons whose photo would be saved by Packy Dillon's niece. Let's just say that the odds are pretty good that the P.H. Dillon in the above photo is our boy Packy.
I do have a few problems with the picture. First, look at the hands. One would think that a guy who caught without a glove and then was a farmer would have rougher, more mangled hands. However, it's possible that the picture was taken prior to Dillon's baseball career. I find it difficult to say how old Dillon is in this picture, so I don't know. It'd be nice to have a date for the picture. Also, something about the clothes worn in the picture bothers me. While I'm not an expert on the subject, the clothing (as well as the hair) doesn't seem right for the era. It seems more antebellum than postbellum. But like I said, I'm no expert.
Lynn believes that the evidence supports the idea that this is Packy Dillon and, even with the reservations I've expressed, I tend to agree.