Monday, December 7, 2009

1940 Wheaties Champs of the USA #5, Joe Medwick

Like the recent 1939 Wheaties Series 12 profile, General Mills published today's "set" as a group of box panels during 1940. Each measures 6" square and features 3 sportsmen, all recent champions of their chosen profession.

Card front

The full panel checklist includes several variations, though none are known for #5. I've embellished the card text with a few links of my choosing.

Joe "Ducky" Medwick: "A terror at bat! Holds a three-year-straight record for runs batted in; voted most valuable player in National League 1937; led the league in batting! Houston got Joe in '31 from a Carteret, N. J. prep school, where he starred in basketball, football, track--and baseball! Cards signed him in '33, following his meteoric two years with Houston. Teammates call him 'Ducky.'"

Medwick made 7 straight All-Star games for St. Louis's Gashouse Gang from 1934 to 1940 and placed in the top-10 MVP voting 4 times.

Madison "Matty" Bell: "Head football coach of Southern Methodist University's Mustangs. Starred four years at Centre College (last two on undefeated teams). Coached at three colleges, became S.M.U. head coach in '35, inspired team to Southwest Conference Championship, same year to the Rose Bowl--the first and only Southwest team so honored! Coaching record: 112 wins, 12 ties, only 63 losses! Stands 6', weighs 190."

Centre College, my parents' alma mater, played strong football in the early 20th century, going 25-2-3 during Bell's years as a player. Their 1921 defeat of Harvard was called the "The Upset of the Century."

Abbott "Ab" Jenkins: "Acclaimed America's safest, fastest driver! Born near Salt Lake City, Utah. Began his steel-nerved career very young. First raced on a motorcycle. Then bought a car, began setting speed records. Invited English drivers to Utah's world's-best race course, broke the records they set! Holds nearly 750 world speed marks. Has driven over 1,400,000 accident-free miles!"

A devout Mormon, Ab's great popularity resulted in a term as SLC's mayor from 1940 to 1944. See Barracuda Magazine's more detailed tribute to the "Racing Mayor," with pictures of his Mormon Meteor III.

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