Monday, November 29, 2010

1974 TCMA Baseball Autograph Series #5, Jesse Haines

TCMA printed this direct-to-collectors set of (then) living players with a blank box for autographs, encouraging fans to mail them out or (possibly) seek out a personal appearance. But wait, why write a personal letter or drive down to that new car dealership? Modern collectors bid those days of the 20th century farewell! Today, folks can expect sets to include player signatures, either as pack hits or promotional send-aways from Topps and Panini. Compared to postal requests (a.k.a., "TTM" for through the mail) or waiting for players at the team bus, it's a whole new world of searching for inked cards.

Card front (blank back)

While all 36 players in its checklist were alive at issue date, only a few remain with us, marked in bold. After 18 years pitching for St. Louis--still a franchise record--Jesse Haines spent 1938 coaching in Brooklyn, as pictured. This both explains the "B" on his cap and makes it a hard-to-find card for Dodger team collectors. (He passed away not long after, so a signed #5 might be nigh-impossible.)
  1. Satchel Paige (d. 1982)
  2. Phil Rizzuto (d. 2007)
  3. Sid Gordon (d. 1975)
  4. Ernie Lombardi (d. 1977)
  5. Jesse Haines (d. 1978)
  6. Joe Cronin (d. 1984)
  7. Bill Terry (d. 1989)
  8. Bill Dickey (d. 1993)
  9. Joe DiMaggio (d. 1999)
  10. Carl Hubbell (d. 1988)
  11. Fred Lindstrom (d. 1981)
  12. Ted Lyons (d. 1986)
  13. Red Ruffing (d. 1986)
  14. Joe McCarthy (d. 1978)
  15. Bob Feller (d. 2010)
  16. Yogi Berra
  17. Ford Frick (d. 1978) and Whitey Ford
  18. Sandy Koufax
  19. Ted Williams (d. 2002)
  20. Warren Spahn (d. 2003)
  21. Al Rosen
  22. Luke Appling (d. 1991)
  23. Joe Bush (d. 1974)
  24. Joe Medwick (d. 1975)
  25. Lou Boudreau (d. 2001)
  26. Ralph Kiner
  27. Lloyd Waner (d. 1982)
  28. Pee Wee Reese (d. 1999)
  29. Duke Snider (d. 2011)
  30. Sal Maglie (d. 1992)
  31. Monte Irvin
  32. Lefty Gomez (d. 1989)
  33. George Kelly (d. 1984)
  34. Joe Adcock (d. 1999)
  35. Max Carey (d. 1976)
  36. Rube Marquard (d. 1980)

Value: Unsigned cards like my #5 cost a few dollars or more for prominent HOFers. Signed versions of players who died in the 1970s run significantly more.

Fakes / reprints: I'd worry more about signature authenticity than a faked card, given the set's otherwise low profile and demand.

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