|Card front (blank back)|
I doubt many people have seen this 16-card set and there's some mystery about its naming, origin, and distribution. Typically called "Carl Aldana" or just "Aldana" after its artist, at least one source adds a "Yesterday Heroes" subtitle. (Per this auction listing.)
Though the portrait shows Ritchey as an Indian, he never played in the majors. There is a window where John might've worn the uni, as a member of the 1949 San Diego Padres, a one-year PCL affiliate for Cleveland. There aren't a ton of 1940s minor league photos out there, so Mr. Aldana likely used what he could find--a single spring training shot, perhaps?
Despite never being a "big leaguer," Ritchey does rate as a baseball hero, by breaking the color barrier for blue--OK, black--players in the Pacific Coast League. His 1948 debut in San Diego continued a career begun in the negro leagues and lasting for 10 pro years as a high-average, gap-power backstop. (See the BlackPast.org site for a nice profile.)
Value: This card cost $10 on eBay last year. They're pretty scarce, but usually come in high-grade as a direct-to-collector issue. The set contains no higher-priced "stars" to speak of.
Fakes / Reprints: Despite their overall rarity, they're probably not worth reprinting.