Tuesday, July 29, 2008

1936 World Wide Gum Baseball #5, Johnny Vergez

Zounds, is this a card from the depression era or what? It's hard to tell if Johnny Vergez needs a sandwich or some sleep. We'll save him a YMCA cot down on East 47th St and keep a BLT warm in the Polo Grounds clubhouse to cover all the bases.

If there's anything to enjoy about the photo, it's Johnny's snazzy cap. Witness the scalp-hugging form that preserved 1930s head warmth and compare it to today's raised-crown, vented mesh version. Also remember their wool, full-body uniforms! Some of those players must've cooked beyond al dente for most of the summer.

Montreal's World Wide Gum (WWG) operated under the aegis of its owner, the Boston-based Goudey Gum company. Many call its 1933 and 1934 sets "Canadian Goudeys," since they echoed the parent company's front and back designs. 1936, however, debuted a 134-card set of their own creation. It's pretty much as you see, with sparse detailing and headline-style lettering. (J. L. VERGEZ HITS ICEBERG, SINKS IN NORTH ATLANTIC!) Cards feature text-heavy backs typical of the 30s and similarly sullen photos. 1936 WWG is extremely challenging to complete and even the top-rated PSA set's missing a card.

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