My third 1935 Goudey: Luke Appling

The third 1935 Goudey card I bought featured four members of the Chicago White Sox, including Hall of Famer Luke Appling. But Luke Appling wasn’t the reason I bought the card.

I bought the card for George Earnshaw and Jimmy Dykes, in that order. Neither of them are Hall of Famers but they mean something to me. That’s the reason we buy a lot of the cards we buy.

Luke Appling was a shortstop for the White Sox, elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964. His nickname was “Old Aches and Pains” because he frequently complained about minor ailments–baseball players suffer minor injuries almost constantly–but he won two batting titles, made seven All-Star teams and played for 20 years while missing the 1944 season to serve in World War II, so his injuries affected him less than many of his contemporaries. The 1935 set is littered with shortstops who had a couple of nice seasons and then had their careers derailed by injury.

Luke Sewell was the White Sox catcher, and he made the All-Star team with the White Sox in 1937. He was known mostly for his defense, and that kept him in the majors for 20 years. His brother, Joe, played shortstop for the Indians and Yankees and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977.

George Earnshaw was a star pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics during its 1929-1931 dynasty, forming a formidable tandem with Lefty Grove. Unfortunately for the fans of Philadelphia, the Athletics always ran on a tight budget, and as the Great Depression wore on, Connie Mack sold off his star players a few at a time to keep afloat. Earnshaw was one of the last to go, sailing off to the White Sox after the 1933 season. Earnshaw was a bit of a late bloomer, reaching the majors at the age of 28, so he didn’t have a long career, but he led the legendary 1929 Athletics in wins with 24. He was pretty much used up by the time the White Sox got him, and after winning 14 games for them in 1934, they traded him to the Dodgers early in the 1935 season.

Jimmy Dykes was an infielder for the Athletics during the same 1929-1931 run. He could play all four infield positions adequately, and between his versatility and his bat was able to stick in the lineup depending on the rest of his team’s strengths and weaknesses. He went on to succeed Connie Mack as manager of the Athletics in the 1950s, which was how my dad knew of him. Dykes had his best years with the Athletics but was an All-Star twice as a member of the White Sox in the mid 1930s. He wasn’t a Hall of Famer, but had a long and productive career, sticking in the majors for parts of 22 seasons.

My card’s story. Dad was an Athletics fan, growing up near Philadelphia. In those days, the Athletics were terrible, so Dad knew about their glory days in the 1930s, years before he was born.

I first became familiar with the 1929 Athletics through Micro League Baseball, a statistical baseball simulation available for 8-bit computers like the Commodore 64. I couldn’t beat the 1927 Yankees with the 1929 Athletics every time, but with Grove or Earnshaw pitching I stood a chance.

As a teenager, Dad and I accumulated cards of most of the key Athletics players from those glory days, but we never found an Earnshaw card. More than a decade after he died, I was at a baseball card shop with my own son when I spied the 1935 Goudey card in the display case. Ignoring Luke Appling, I asked, “Can I see the George Earnshaw card?”

The card was a low grade, priced at $12, and at that price, once I had it in my hand I didn’t want to let go of it. Earnshaw had the shortest career of all four players on the card, but until I decided I wanted to collect 1935 Goudeys, he the only reason for me to be interested in the card. Getting another Jimmy Dykes card was a nice bonus, and so was getting Luke Appling.

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