Tuesday, November 10, 2009

1927 American Caramel Baseball (E126) #5, E.T. Cox

Between the tobacco era and Goudey's landmark 1933 set, candy and toy companies made most of America's baseball cards. Pennsylvania's own American Caramel Company produced a bunch of these sets and today's guest is #5 in their 1927 60-card issue, which the American Card Catalog designated E126.

Ernest Thompson Cox pitched a single MLB game for the 1922 White Sox. He faced 6 batters, walked 2 of them, gave up a hit, allowed 2 runs, and...that's it. E. T. never appeared in another White Sox game and, according to available stats, didn't play in the minors either following his 1922 big league appearance.

How and why did Cox pitch this 1 inning? I compared rosters for that year's AL teams and Chicago shuttled a lot of pitchers through their 1922 staff. The 1st place Yankees used a total of 8 pitchers for all 144 games. Cellar-dwelling Boston used 10. The White Sox, on the other hand, used 18 and most made less than 5 appearances. That much roster shuffling speaks to oddities in the front office; Chicago might've been ducking travel costs or trying to save money elsewhere by signing people to the briefest of contracts.

The card back says E126 contains "60 of the most prominent baseball players in the country." Since Mr. Cox hadn't played in 5 years--and logged just 1 game then--they're clearly exaggerating. More accurately, American Caramel re-used player photos from previous 1921 and 1922 sets as a "new" issue. (See the sweet OldCardboard.com gallery for scans of their earlier stuff and the Virtual Card Collection's visual checklist for every 1927 card.)

Value: 1927 American Caramel cards don't come along very often. Legendary Auctions sold a graded set for $15,000 in 2007 and low-grade commons go for $50. This fair-good Cox card cost me $40 on eBay.

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