Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vintage Card Of The Month: T205 Harry Wolter

Harry Wolter, the man was a gypsy of sorts in the world of professional baseball. He was known for playing the outfield but he did play pitcher in both the major and minor leagues.

His first taste of the “Bigs” was in 1907, he came up with Cincinnati but only managed to make it in to 4 games before moving on to play a game for the Pittsburg Pirates and he finished the 1907 season with the St Louis Cardinals. After bouncing around the PCL he played half of the 1909 season in Boston. In 1910 he finally made it as a regular player with the New York Highlanders. He spent spent 4 years in New York. A few more years in the minors and he finished his career with the Cubs in 1917 after the team lost a number of players who enlisted when the U.S. entered World War I. His final stats: 588 Games Played, .270 BA, 167 RBI and 12 HR and his pitching totals ended at 4-6, 84.0 Innings Pitched, 3.75 ERA, 1 Complete Game and 29 Strike Outs.

Definitely not an All-Star in any way shape or form but he has made the MLB history books, Wolter was the first player to get a hit at Fenway Park when the stadium opened on April 20, 1912.

Following his baseball career he coached the Stanford baseball team until 1949; he also coached one of the U.S. teams in the 1936 Summer Olympics. Baseball was only an exhibition sport at the time so only 2 teams competed, both were American teams.

This card is from the 1911 T205 Gold Border set, a follow up to the more widely known and popular 1909-1911 T206 cards. In my opinion, the T205 cards were definitely more appealing than the T206 set and easily one of the more beautiful designs even when compared to modern sets.

The cards were standard tobacco size, 1 ½ x 2 5/8, and had the player’s bio/profile on the back along with the tobacco brand. Some of the more common brands include American Beauty, Hassan, Piedmont and Sweet Caporal. The less common brands include Polar Bear, Sovereign and Cycle with the remaining 4 backs being rare which are Broadleaf, Drum, Hindu and Honest.

The set was divided in to 3 groups; the American league players had a colored background with a baseball diamond surrounding the player’s portrait. The National league players had a simple colored background with a larger player portrait and a facsimile autograph across the bottom. The Minor league players are shown with a “natural outdoor background” and had a beautifully ornate border. All the cards had a gold border, hence the T205 Gold Border name. I have include a shot of the three different types of cards from the set below.

My Wolter card is in rough shape, I picked it up almost 20 years ago from a friend when we worked a deal for a handful of T206 cards. The corners are well rounded, the gold border is chipped on all four sides but the card’s colors are still vibrant even after 100 years. The back is cut off-center, probably a good 95-5 (if not worse) on both sides and top/bottom which is odd because the front of the card is pretty well centered side to side and maybe 60-40 on the top/bottom. There is quite a bit of staining on the backside and some ink has been worn away on the upper back border. This is definitely not the type of card you would get graded because the best I would expect would at most be a Poor (0.5-2) and at worst simply an “A”, though based on the front I am pretty sure this card is not trimmed or altered.

No comments:

Post a Comment