Monday, April 12, 2010

1976 HRT/RES 1942 Play Ball #5, Charles Wagner

Ask Boston fans to name some life-long Red Sox and guys like Ted Williams, Yaz, and Johnny Pesky float to the top. 90 year-old Pesky, a.k.a. "The Needle," currently reigns supreme with--as of 2010--almost 60 years of Fenway service.

Card front

Pesky's an ideal Sox story and link to baseball's golden era--but he'll need to reach a spry 100 years old to match Charles Wagner's amazing 70 years as a Red Sox player, coach, and scout. Following his debut as a pitcher in 1938, Wagner remained on the Sox payroll until his death in 2006 at age 93. When 2004's team ended the Boston drought, team management even honored Charlie with a World Series ring. (Read more at "Remembering 'Broadway' Charlie Wagner.")

Card back

Ted Taylor (H.R.T.) and Bob Schmierer (R.E.S.), promoters of Philly's long-lived card show (, created this 36-card Play Ball "extension" to showcase a nice group of vintage player photos. Some card backs relive the WWII era with "Keep Baseball Going" or "Buy U.S. War Bonds." Others promote the card show itself. You could probably buy complete sets at the show or through the mail.

Value: As a "common," Charlie Wagner costs about $1. Stars like Gehrig, Williams, and DiMaggio run $5 to $10.

Fake / Reprints: Other than being a spiritual "reissue" of past Play Balls, I've never seen actual reprints of this set in the market.

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