|Trimmed card front|
Something about the print eccentricities of my Virgil Trucks card made him look, to be frank, undead. Are his eyes rolled back into his brain? Does he wield laser-beam pupils and a gold-tinted Glove of Death? I suspect only Indiana Jones can find the right Aztecan talisman to send him back to Detroit.
I needed to spend an Andrew Jackson on this half-card because it's one of 1948's notorious and plentiful short-prints. That's nowhere near enough for a mid-grade version of Mr. Trucks, which'll set you back several Ben Franklins. Locating the final hits to a Leaf set drives collectors nuts, given their scarcity and resulting demand.
#5's front shows what you get from most cards, tinted black-and-white photos with questionable print quality. The back text resembles the pre-war Play Ball sets and captures some basic info: 1) good fastball, 2) quality W-L record, and 3) there's a "whiffing department" that includes a top 10. (The olfactory Hall of Fame?) The design breaks no new ground, but at least it helped get cards back on their feet after the era of wartime rationing.
|Trimmed card back|
Speaking of the war, Trucks himself lost almost two full years to naval service. He managed a release mere days before the 1945 World Series and joined Detroit in time to beat the Cubs 4-1 in game 2, his lone victory of the season. Fortunately, the Tigers went on to win what proved to be Virgil's only shot at a title.
Check out the set's virtual gallery for images of many 1948 Leaf cards. There are plenty of interesting fellows, but few you'd call good-looking. Just about every set since treats their subjects more kindly; even Ted Williams looks prematurely haggard. It reminds me most of the collector-produced 1976 SSPC set, whose feeling of amateur energy felt obscured by dodgy composition.