4.12.2014

1923 E137 Zeenut
Claude Rohwer

Claude Rohwer was a career minor leaguer having played in San Francisco, Charleston and Sacramento. He was the younger brother of Ray Rohwer, who played in parts of two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

While the back of this card is blank, a previous owner left me a few notes: It reads: "Claude, 3B-SS-OF, not in ML."

Claude Rohwer in a nutshell. His entire career summed up in only a few words.

While his playing career might seem to be unremarkable, he was good enough to play in the old Pacific Coast League. Many at the time considered it to be the third major league.

And as a player in the PCL he would be immortalized on this beauty of a poor old baseball card.

These cards were produced from 1911-38 and found in boxes of Zeenut and Ruf-Neks candies. They came with coupons attached to the bottom of each card. The coupons were usually removed and exchanged for premiums. Cards with coupons add significant value to a card. While not unheard of, cards with coupons are rare.

Coupon or not, this Zeenut has become a valued part of my poor old baseball card collection.

4.09.2014

1909 T206
Jimmy Slagle

The story goes that on Oct. 6, 1945, the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern bought two tickets to Game 4 of the World Series at Wrigley Field; one for himself and the other for his pet goat. The owner was let in but not his four-legged friend.

The goat's owner was incensed, declaring that the Cubs would never win again. And so it has been, the Cubs have not won a World Series since. It's a good story and it may be true. But I have a different thought as to why the Chicago side hasn't won a world title since 1908.

The answer: Jimmy Slagle.

You see, Jimmy Slagle played center field for the Cubs in 1907 and 1908. The Cubs were World Champions both years, their only Series wins in their history. In 1909, Slagle was relegated to the minor league Baltimore Orioles. The Cubs finished second to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL.

Coincidence? You be the judge.

I think I may be on to something.

4.08.2014

1941 Goudey
Mel Ott

Whenever I think of Goudey, I think 1933: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Dizzy Dean and Napoleon Lajoie. Beautiful. Bright. A classic set.

This is not 1933. This is 1941 and the only names most anyone have ever heard of are Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell. Hall-of-Famers, sure. But not on the caliber of Ruth and Gehrig.

The set consists of 132 cards: 33 players in yellow, blue, green and red backgrounds. Yellow is the most common followed by blue, green and red. The designs are plain to say the least and the backs are blank.

Nonetheless, I was very excited when this card arrived. It met all my criteria for a poor old baseball card.

A star player that is worn to the point it was ripped in two, only to be taped together. And somewhat rare. Think about it: If you were to walk into a baseball card shop you'd probably see a 1933 Goudey on display. But a 1941 Goudey? Not a chance.

1.27.2014

1934 Goudey
Jimmie Foxx

I know it's rough, but it's Jimmie Foxx. A real Jimmie Foxx.

Foxx was mega-good. Better than your typical Hall of Famer, the Sporting News has him 15th on its list of 100 Greatest Baseball Players. He was a monster with his bat and unfortunately was overshadowed by the greatness of Babe Ruth.

But I wonder if the casual baseball fan has ever heard of him?

A few accomplishments as seen on Wikipedia:
  • .325 lifetime batting average
  • 2,646 hits
  • 534 home runs (the second player to reach 500 after Babe Ruth)
  • 1,922 RBI
  • 9-time All-Star
  • 2-time World Series Champion
  • 3-time MVP
  • 1933 Triple Crown
Those are crazy numbers.

Some think Foxx was also the inspiration for Tom Hanks' character in A League of Their Own. Foxx actually managed the Fort Wayne Daisies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1952.

While reading up on Foxx, I found another 1934 Goudey Jimmie Foxx selling at auction in March of 2000 for $31,050. It was graded PSA 8. I paid $75 for mine. I know, kinda steep, but did I mention it was a real Jimmie Foxx?

I'd still rather have my poor old Jimmie Foxx and $30,975 than that PSA 8 any day.

1.21.2014

1919-21 W514
Casey Stengel

Though this set was produced from 1919-21, Stengel only played in Pittsburgh from 1918-19.

Stengel was a decent-enough ballplayer but a superstar manager. Most would recognize him as the Yankees manager of the 1950s.

As such he was a 7-time world champion. He won another championship in 1922 as a player for the New York Giants.

This strip card is held together by tape (unfortunately stuck to the front of the card) and has evidence of having been attached to a scrapbook. Without the tape, it would probable be in a half-dozen pieces.

It's missing a chunk from bellow Stengel's neck and the info at the bottom of the card is partly missing. But really, I don't care. I think it's pretty cool for a 95-years-old piece of cardboard.