How many baseball cards Goudey sold

How many baseball cards Goudey sold

A couple of years ago, former Sports Collector’s Digest editor Bob Lemke stumbled across Goudey sales figures for baseball cards in the 1930s and 1940s. He presented the figures while expressing a disinterest in doing the math to try to figure out how many cards Goudey sold.

For some insane reason I decided to take a stab at it. Or, rather, make my computer take a stab at it. And I came to some unexpected conclusions.

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My Babe Ruth lottery ticket

It was June 2, 2015, the 80th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s final Major League Baseball game. That day, I bought a lottery ticket. I spied a 1935 Goudey Babe Ruth card on Ebay, which casually mentioned it was an “RP,” which is usually shorthand for “reprint.”

Chances were, the seller was telling the truth, and hoping some bidders would fail to notice the code word. But the card looked just convincing enough that I decided to place a bid, just in case the seller was wrong. I won. The total price including shipping was $11. No one else had taken the bait.

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My seventh 1935 Goudey: Four Beleaguered Braves

The fourth and final ’35 I bought (so far I hope) from Dugout in Webster Groves featured four men who had the misfortune of suffering through the entire Boston Braves 1935 season. All are rather obscure and information about of them was difficult to come by.

“I had a Babe Ruth like that,” the owner said as I flipped through his ’35s, picking out the best condition cards from among the duplicates. My ears perked up. “Really?” I said, mishearing the “had.”

“Yeah, that sold fast.”

Disappointment stings. Of course, the guys on this card knew all about that. Read more

My fourth 1935 Goudey: Ethan Allen

My fourth 1935 Goudey: Ethan Allen

I picked up four 1935 Goudey cards in one swoop–something I don’t expect to repeat many more times while still buying locally–but I’ll write about the cards one at a time, starting with the cheapest card, which had an unexpected personal meaning, especially given that it contained no Hall of Famers and portrayed four Philadelphia Phillies players. Dad was from Pennsylvania, but he rooted for Philadelphia’s other team, the Athletics.

That card portrayed Ethan Allen, Jimmie Wilson, Fred Brickell and Bubber Jannard.

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The case of the fake 1935 Babe Ruth

Quick: Why is it easier to find a 1935 Goudey Babe Ruth on Ebay than the 1935 Goudey card featuring four of his former Yankee teammates, the less-than-immortal Red Rolfe, Johnny Allen, Jimmie DeShong, and Dixie Walker?

Because Red Rolfe was more likely to end up clothespinned onto bicycle spokes, right? Right?

That’s likely, but definitely not the only reason. Read more

Blogging my way through the 1935 Goudey baseball card set

I’m collecting baseball cards again.

I collected for most of my youth, but as adulthood set in, other priorities took over. It happens a lot. But now my kids are getting old enough to take an interest in such things, and if my son is buying baseball cards, I might as well buy a card or two myself, right?

On Christmas Eve, I decided to take on a challenge: The 1935 Goudey set. Goudey was the biggest name of the 1930s, but at 36 cards, the 1935 set is small enough that a mere mortal like me can stand a chance of accumulating one example of each, and do so in a reasonable period of time. Most of the player drawings in the 1935 set are reused from the 1933 and/or 1934 sets, so it looks and feels like a classic Goudey set.

It’s not going to be a particularly cheap endeavor, but with one exception, it’s possible to get a low-grade example of each card in the set for $10-$15. A complete set in low grade is likely to cost less than $1,000. And while $1,000 is a lot of money, that’s approximately $20 a week. Most of us spend $20 a week on things that aren’t particularly good for us. Spend two years doing it and it drops to $10 a week.

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Albert Pujols, mercenary

I’m a Royals fan living in St. Louis, so my perspective on Albert Pujols has always been that he’s the one who got away. He went to high school and college in Kansas City, but somehow Royals scouts overlooked him. The Cardinals signed him, and he became a once-in-a-generation player. Even if he never plays another game in the majors, he’s a lock for the Hall of Fame.

Fans loved him, because, well, who doesn’t like a guy who hits .299 with 37 home runs and 99 RBIs in the worst year of his career? He’s always been detached and distant, but St. Louisans will forgive that for wins and numbers. He talked about being a Cardinal for life, but then St. Louis woke up on Thursday morning, drove to work, and found out on the rush-hour radio that he was gone, signed to the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim, the Tikki Tikki Tembo Nosa Rembo Chari Bari Ruchi Pip Pen Pembo of baseball.

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My first impressions of Pandora

So I’ve been messing with Pandora, a new music service.

It’s interesting. Not foolproof, but interesting.The theory goes like this: Have highly experienced musicians overanalyze pop music, identifying its tonal qualities, and based on the qualities you find in a song that the masses (or any given individual) like, predict other songs that will have the same appeal because they share the same tonal qualities.

So I signed on, and it asked me for the name of a band or a song that I liked. So I picked “City of Blinding Lights” by U2 out of the air.

Two songs later, it played “Read ‘Em and Weep” by Meat Loaf.

Say what?

I gave it a chance. I thought more of Meat Loaf when he was a one-hit wonder than I did after he made that comeback in the ’90s. And this song is the epitome of why.

Let the record state that I don’t like over-the-hill wanna-be hard rockers singing songs that were originally written by Barry Manilow!

Note that I’m emphatic enough on that point to break out the italics and the exclamation point. I’m almost emphatic enough to break out the blink tag.

If I lose coolness points for not liking Meat Loaf-sung Barry Manilow cover tunes, then so be it.

I suppose it did have somewhat similar musical qualities to U2’s City of Blinding Lights. But this just goes to show there’s more to music than just, uh, the music.

To its credit, it did pick out a song by Delirious? that I liked.

But I guess U2 isn’t exactly the best experiment for something like this. While U2 has a reputation for all of its songs sounding the same, any serious U2 fan will point out that it’s several of U2’s hits that sound similar. But if I were to whip out a few of U2’s lesser hits, like, say, “A Day Without Me” off Boy and “The Fly” off Achtung Baby, to name two of the better songs off their two best albums, you might be hard-pressed to identify the band.

And since that’s one of the things I really like about the band, I abandoned the experiment. Tonal qualities alone won’t find another U2.

I forgot about the first time I ever heard “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The reaction? “U2 records albums?” Yes, when I was 13, I thought U2 just toured and put on political demonstrations and that making records was an afterthought.

Sometimes the appeal isn’t just the music and how it’s played. Need another example? Anyone care to do a survey of how many people watch Jessica Simpson music videos with the volume muted?

So now that I’ve talked about why Pandora can’t work, let’s talk about when it does work.

After the Meat Loaf indignity, I typed in “What About Everything, Carbon Leaf” into Pandora. And it came back and said it didn’t know that song. So I just typed in “Carbon Leaf.” It came back and described Carbon Leaf as a band that uses subtle harmonies, electric instruments up front, a mixture of acoustic and electric in back, and prominent percussion.

I’d never thought about it that way, but that was what made the band catch my ear in the first place. The line “What about aeroplanes?” had a lot to do with it too, but Pandora’s technical description tells how the band said, “What about aeroplanes?” Had it been Pantera asking “What about aeroplanes?” I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much.

But when I think about the alt-rock that was being recorded in the early 1990s, before it became all-grunge-all-the-time, that description of Carbon Leaf pretty much could apply to the songs by Sugar, Material Issue, Aimee Mann, The Connells, and, for that matter, even Weezer, that I liked.

So out of curiosity, I punched in “The Sisters of Mercy.” It came back and asked if that was a song or a band. I had the band in mind, rather than the Leonard Cohen song. Leonard Cohen is an example of someone whose lyrics I like, even when I often don’t like the music.

It identified the Sisters of Mercy as having hard rock roots, electronica influences, and an emphasis on minor key tones. Fair enough.

Problem is, it gave me Pig Society by Dope, Loco by Coal Chamber, and Set Me Free by Velvet Revolver, followed by Big Truck by Coal Chamber (which sounded like a monster truck rally).

How much does Andrew Eldritch know about monster trucks, anyway?

Once I gave it enough thumbs-downs, it tried Sonic Youth on me. Sonic Youth isn’t very goth, but it’s a much better fit than something called “Big Truck.”

So I decided to see what it said about Joy Division. “Punk influences, mild rhythmic syncopation, extensive vamping, electronica influences, and minor key tonality,” it said. OK, basically Sisters of Mercy minus the heavy metal with a little punk instead? I’ll buy that. I let it play. So far, no songs about monster trucks, but the songs it did play were songs I wouldn’t mind hearing again. Tactic learned: If you punch in one band and don’t like what it finds you, punch in the name of a somewhat similar band and see what it finds.

For entertainment value, I have to give Pandora some props. Sometimes the entertainment value is unintentional. But hey, even Babe Ruth only hit a home run 8.5% of the time. There are worse ways to discover new music than this.

Like turning on the radio, for instance.

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