My 10th ’35 Goudey: Ted Lyons and Mule Haas

Once I’d drained my local supply of 1935 Goudeys, I turned to Ebay. To keep some sport in it and keep costs down a bit, initially I decided to limit myself to auction listings rather than buy-it-nows.

The first time I looked, I could have bought every ’35 I lacked, spare one, via buy-it-now, and the one I couldn’t find wasn’t an expensive card. To me, that’s not really collecting. Collecting ought to involve some chase, and waiting an extra week for a com

So, in that spirit, I bid on a 1935 card featuring four Chicago White Sox one Sunday evening, and won.

Ted Lyons is the Hall of Famer on this card, a reliable right-handed pitcher who spent his entire 21-year career with the White Sox, winning 260 games. He won 20 games in a season three times in his career, led the league in wins twice, was an All-Star in 1939, and led the league in ERA with a sparkling 2.10 at the age of 41 in 1942, his last full season. He then enlisted in the Marine Corps, even though he was old enough to be exempt, and fought in the Pacific. After the war he briefly returned to baseball, pitching five games before becoming the White Sox manager. He managed the team until 1948.

Lyons is a controversial Hall of Famer, having the second-highest career ERA of any Hall of Fame pitcher and more walks than strikeouts in his career, but he did win 260 games mostly pitching for very mediocre White Sox teams. Advanced statistics suggest he is a below-average Hall of Famer but rank him just ahead of Dodger great (and fellow Hall of Famer) Don Drysdale.

Mule Haas was a speedy, hard-hitting center fielder for the Philadelphia Athletics during their 1929-1931 glory years and was the hero of the 1929 World Series. In 1933, Connie Mack sold Haas to the White Sox along with Jimmie Dykes and Al Simmons. In Haas’ case, it was an instance of trading a player at just the right time, as Haas never hit .300 in the majors again, though he did give the White Sox productive seasons in 1933 and 1935. After his retirement, he coached for 10 additional years.

Zeke Bonura was the White Sox’ best hitter in 1935, which was an accomplishment when 1/3 of the lineup was made up of stars who had powered the Athletics’ dynasty just a few years prior. A right-handed slugger, he lost his power stroke after a few seasons. He served in the Army after the 1940 season, for which he received the Legion of Merit award. He never returned to Major League Baseball. As a teenager, he had been a track and field star, and was the youngest male athlete ever to win an event at the National AAU Track and Field Championships.

Jackie Hayes was the White Sox’ starting second baseman in 1934 and 1935. Over 14 seasons, he hit .265 with 20 home runs. On August 22, 1940, he became the first player to wear a batting helmet in a game, partly because he was losing sight in his right eye and wanted the extra protection. Despite pressure to adopt batting helmets due to the fatal beaning of Ray Chapman in 1920 and the near-fatal beaning of Mickey Cochrane in 1937, neither league was willing to mandate their use until Hayes pioneered its use. The National League finally adopted them the next year.

Sadly, he lost sight in his left eye as well in 1943, but he served as an elected official in central Alabama for 12 years and lived to the age of 76, dying in 1983.

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