Friday, April 24, 2009

1921-1930 Major League Baseball Die-Cuts #5, George Blaeholder

It took me a while to give in and purchase this card. It’s got a pitching pose, but doesn’t resemble anyone in particular. Generic pants, lumpy shirt, and preternaturally stiff jersey sleeves complete the look of “five-minute sketch of man in woolen uniform.” At least it’s all done in sepia tones, matching the St. Louis Browns’ coffee stain history as an American League doormat in the 30s. Not too motivating, but I eventually found one for $5 and made the deal.

Card front (blank back)

The player in question, George Blaeholder, remained constant on the Browns from 1928 to 1934, taking the ball when asked and annually winning (and losing) at least 10 games. He moved on to the A’s in 1935, “achieving” a decent ERA+ mark but still going 6 and 10. That year, Philly beat St. Louis to the cellar by winning only 58 games under HOF manager Connie Mack. People often speak wistfully about players that play their whole career for one club; Mack served the A’s for half a century, helming the team from 1901 to 1950.

You deserve a more recognizable image of George Blaeholder, so check out his various cards from the 30s and 40s. The Goudeys and Diamond Stars look great as always, but I have a soft spot for the in-your-face color of the Tattoo Orbits. The high-contrast tones and action angle remind me of classic Soviet propaganda posters.


This particular set's actually pieces taken from a board game called "Major League Ball - The Indoor Game Supreme." (OldCardboard.com attributes the set to National Game Makers Company of Washington,D.C.) It kicked off in 1921 with at least five teams and a simpler design, listing only name, fielding and batting position, and team. Perforations, visible in the picture, connected the players horizontally and the maker post-fixed labels with name, position, and other details. Team sets (or label updates) came in an single envelope and were probably available through toy stores. The SCD catalog lists updates throughout the 1920s based on when players suited up for a given team. Blaeholder, for example, started pitching regularly in 1928, so only appeared after that time.

I started seeing these guys at shows more frequently in the last five years. It’s hard to recommend them unless you have a very specific interest, like a certain team, player, or (cough) type collection. The blasé player images and odd set construction do mean relatively low prices. This might be the cheapest way to recreate a classic lineup like the 1927 Yankees, though Ruth still runs hundreds of dollars in good shape. I point people back to the '33 and '34 Goudeys, since they're so much more attractive and informative.

1 comment:

Jim said...

My uncle had this board game as a kid. My Mom has the original board and envelopes of all teams and players. Would anyone have an interest in this game?

Jim Rausch
jrausch50@hotmail.com