The last day of the month and I came across two realizations today, one… I had not posted a Vintage Card of the Month post and two… I have never posted my 1933 Lou Gehrig Goudey as the Vintage Card of the Month (serious oversight by me).
For years baseball cards had been included in tobacco products and candy products but besides the 1909-11 T206 set no other pre-war set stands the test of time like the 1933 (and 1934) Goudey cards.
In 1933, in the middle of the Great Depression, the Goudey Gum Company decided to include a baseball card with each stick of gum, becoming the first company to include cards with gum, in hopes of getting kids to buy their gum with the few coins they were able to collect. The set was heavy on stars with a number of players having multiple cards including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The set became known as the 1933 Goudey Baseball Cards set, designated as R319 in catalogs.
Lou Gehrig is one of my idols, he was honest and sincere. He actually cared about family, fans and his teammates. He is probably known more today for his consecutive games streak but he was much more than that.
In 1920, when he was 17 years old, his high school team traveled to Chicago to play a game in Wrigley Field, he knocked a grand slam out of the park (literally). After high school he earned a football scholarship to Columbia University but he only played football his freshman year, in his sophomore year he played First Base and Pitcher for Columbia and in a game in 1923 game he struck out 17 batters. Pro teams were knocking down his door to sign him; he ended up signing with the hometown Yankees (so he could give his parents the signing bonus because they couldn’t afford their bills) and 2 months after signing his contract he was in the big leagues. In 1925 he went in to a game to replace a struggling Wally Pipp at First Base, the first game of his 2,130 consecutive games streak.
Over 17 years he played through injuries, including getting hit in the head three times, because he did not want to let his teammates down. In May 1939, after struggling in recent games, he approached Joe McCarthy, the Yankees manager, and said he was benching himself for the good of the team. He retired a month later, a week before the 1939 All-Star Game. He died two years later, 16 years to the day after he replaced Pipp at First Base.
He played for the Yankees from 1923 through 1939, just some of his records of note:
2 AL MVP Awards8 World Series Championships (counting 1939)
1934 AL Batting Title and Triple Crown winner
.340 career batting average ranks him as 17th overall
.447 On-Base percentage ranks him 5th overall
1,995 hits ranks him 5th overall
493 home runs ranks him 26th overall
Elected to the MLB Hall of Fame 6 months after his retirement in a special election
Jersey #4 retired by the Yankees
This card is not the oldest card in my collection but it is my favorite card by far. I picked this card up in 2006 from 707 Sportscards, their web site is ugly as sin but their prices are pretty decent for vintage singles.