A black and white photo of the baseball player Harry Davis in 1909.

Hoist & Halyard is a fairly recent endeavor, but you might say our story began in the mid-1980s in suburban Philly, where a scrawny teen named Harris Davis would spend late nights immersed in his baseball card collection, poring over player stats and appraising the cards’ worth in the monthly price guide.


The summer before heading off to college, he decided to sell most of his collection to a local card shop, fearing his parents would give them away while he was gone or a pipe would burst in the basement and wipe them all out in a flood. These apparently happen to 1 in 10 baseball card collections.

Harris made a couple hundred bucks in the sale, but on his way out of the shop, a tiny little card caught his eye. It was from the turn of the century, the kind of card that used to come tucked into cigarette packs—“tobacco cards,” they were called. But it wasn’t the kind of card that stopped him dead. It was the name along the bottom: H. Davis

A 1910 baseball card of Harry Davis.

He immediately bought the card with the money he’d just made and ran straight to the library to look this fella up. Turns out, Harry Davis played first base for the Philadelphia Athletics in the early 1900s, leading the American League in home runs four straight seasons while leading the team to four World Series championships. 

Around the same time Harry was smashing baseballs over the fence at Shibe Park, another Harry, also surnamed Davis and also living in Philadelphia, was grinding it out every day as a machinist in a local shipyard. It was this Harry Davis that some 70 years later would have a great grandson named after him: Harris Davis (yours truly).

That little tobacco card is still in my possession, connecting me to a time when baseball was just a game, player salaries were under $2,500 and to the victors went a pennant.

The pennants that honored those teams, players and places now inspire our own creations, which are made to celebrate the things in life you hold dear—sports, schools, people, pastimes and so much more.

~H. Davis

Founder, Hoist & Halyard