Tuesday, September 8, 2015

1922 W503 Baseball #5, Bill "Rosy" Ryan

As a fan of baseball eras long past, it's fun to think every player has their own piece of history. The one thing they did that few others have. Lou Gehrig played 2130 straight games. Roger Clemens struck out 20 guys twice. Jamie Quirk hit a walk-off homer in his only at-bat as a Cleveland Indian. Legendary stuff.

So what has Rosy Ryan done? To date, he's the only reliever to go deep in a World Series game, taking fellow Senators pitcher Allen Russell out in 1924's game three on October 6 (box score). Many champions have come and gone, many relievers have swung the splinter, but only Rosy got to circle the bases at a leisurely pace.

Ryan earned this opportunity in part from his versatility. No fainting flower on the mound, Rosy also led the NL in ERA (1922) and games played (1923) as a key part of three straight Giants pennant winners, 1922-24 (career stats). He even pitched half of that "relief homer game," nearly five innings in all.

Why include the PSA tag? Because "Gaints."

As for W503 itself, its 64 black-and-white photos are technically strip cards, as they were hand-cut from a multi-card sheet and perhaps distributed with food or candy. They prove so hard to come by that I assume both a small print run and some kind of trade-in promotion. To quote a 2015 Heritage Auctions listing, "Still unknown is exactly who produced and how this scarce set of 64-cards were circulated. The cards are hand-cut...and there is some speculation they may have been issued as a bonus with the purchase of candy or gum."

While finishing a set would be like catching ghosts, you can enjoy a complete 1922 W503 gallery for free at http://www.rustywilly.com/1922W503Singles.htm.

Value: I've yet to find a W503 #5 to call my own, but Old Carboard predicts it'll cost about $35 when I do.

Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any in the marketplace, but the HOFers are certainly at risk for fakery. Any deal that seems too good to be true goes double for this kind of set.


Mark Hoyle said...

I just looked these up. Wow. Super tough to find any cards.

Matthew Glidden said...

Yeah, I'd barely seen any at all before finding that gallery! The guy who compiled has a certain number of them for sale, but no type for me. He might be only guy with a dozen or so at this point.