Morton Tadder wanted to make ballplayers look respectable. So, one day in 1961, Tadder set about on his mission while posing Clint Courtney and Marv Throneberry of the Baltimore Orioles.
"I said 'You're going to have to get that wad of tobacco out of your mouth, you look like a hoodlum,' " Tadder recalled, at which point the players took after him, Throneberry wielding a baseball bat. "Honest to God, that scared the hell out of me, period," said Tadder, who became the Orioles' photographer in the early '60s and shot his final team photo last summer.
The longtime Baltimore resident, who also counted the Baltimore Colts among his clients, closed his business in December. This month, he is auctioning more than 100 photographs from his collection through locally based Huggins and Scott Auctions.
Tadder, 75, said his goal was to modernize official team photos, with players professionally posed and leaning into the camera. He said his biggest hurdle was convincing his subjects to shave; he once coerced Billy Ripken into cleaning up by threatening to send a photo to his mother.
"I thought my job when I was hired was to make these guys look good," Tadder said. "[Jim] Palmer would moan and groan and so would Eddie Murray. These guys would put up a facade, but they were cooperative as hell and they wanted to look good."
The Internet and phone auction, which also includes shots of the Colts, and of the Beatles from a 1964 visit to Baltimore, ends Thursday night.
-- Dan Steinberg