The First Ever Photo of Someone Giving The Finger


Photographic history doesn’t get much classier than this: above we have what may very well be the first ever photograph of someone giving the finger. In a team picture of the Boston Beaneaters, pitcher Charles Radbourn was caught flipping the New York Giants the bird in the top left hand corner of the photo.


The picture was taken in 1886 at a game between the above mentioned teams. But what makes it even more interesting is that historians didn’t believe this particular gesture (which originated in Italy) made it to U.S. soil until the 1890s.

Fortunately for Radbourn, this historic photo hardly makes up his entire legacy. The term Charlie Horse has been attributed to him from time to time, and as a pitcher he pitched a whopping 678 2/3 innings. But for us photo types, this is how we’ll remember him.

(via Badass Digest)

  • Daniel Lowe

    Wow, those Boston and New York sports teams have a rivalry as old as the daguerrotype.

  • notimpressed123

    That probably his cigar. They all smoke in games back then….

  • Dan

    That could easily be him holding something (like the previously mentioned cigar) between his index and middle finger. The small finger could be hidden behind the player seated in the front row.

  • cheap shots for real

    yeah, doubt about the finger gesture too, but too low resolution blurry picture to tell… it could be finger, but not making a gesture as we know it… i vote seriously for intentional false interpretation by the editor to make stupid headlines.

  • Burnin Biomass

    Not enough top hats being worn to baseball games these days.

  • Kristen Ankiewicz


  • Leonardo Abreu


  • Tony Richards

    ….but it does lead to the question of when the first “v” finger behind the head photo took place?

  • Alan Dove

    I’m pretty sure it’s the finger. Look at his body language, and the outline of his hand. I can see two fingers to the left of the extended part, and what really looks like a thumb to the right. If he were holding a cigar between two fingers, his hand would be turned the other way, and he wouldn’t be leaning into it like he’s about to punch someone. Also, it’s a Boston v. NY game. If any situation would’ve led the curve on flip-offs, that would’ve been it.

  • Furunomoe

    Zoom and enhance!

  • Steve Moriarty

    Has anyone considered that rather than aimed at the other team, the gesture was directed at the photographer?