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Monday, September 10, 2007

Card of the Week 9/10

Barnacle Bill Posedel was a pitcher in the 30's and 40's who later went on to become a successful pitching coach in the majors. In the 20's Bill pitched while in a tour in the Navy and went on to play minor league ball once discharged. He pitched well for such teams as the Tulsa Oilers and Portland Beavers, winning 20 games for the Beavers in both 1936 and 37. This earned him a call up to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938 where the 31 year old rookie struggled to an 8-9 record. He was traded to the Boston Bees in spring training 1939, and compiled a 31-34 record in three years with the club. This sounds bad until you realize the pitiful Bees only won 41% of their games during the same period. Bill reenlisted once World War Two broke out and served 4 years. His prime playing days over, Posedel pitched one final year for the Braves in 1946 and racked up 2 wins and 4 saves as a reliever. Bill stayed in baseball as a scout, pitching coach and minor league manager. Bill helped develop the Oakland A's staff of Hunter, Odom and Blue in the late 60's and won it all with the team in 1972.

So what in the world does Barnacle Bill have to do with anything? Ok, the anniversary of his last game in the majors is on the 13th, but surely The Card of the Week isn't commemorating such an obscure event. Nope, Bill is the COTW because I recently got this in the mail:

Dear God, what is that thing? Yep, that there is one ugly card. It's a miscut, dog eared, creased, smudged, blank backed, mucus green mess of a card. The photo appears to have been swiped from the 1940 Play Ball set. The background color is easily the ugliest of the 4 varieties the card can be found with. That there is a genuine 1941 Goudey card. Goudey? The same ones who created the classic 1933 set? The Same Goudey that put out the "Lou Gehrig Says..." and Heads Up sets? The same Goudey who is currently being plundered by Upper Deck for designs? Goudey turned into that?? Yep. This set was the end of Goudey before Fleer and Upper Deck resurrected them.

The Great Depression was murder on trading card sets. Despite the renaissance that occurred once Frank H. Fleer's company finally invented a decent bubble gum, the worsening economic troubles hurt sales. Goudey's baseball set size dropped from 239 cards (no, LaJoie doesn't count) in 1933 down to 96 the next year to 36, 25 and 48 respectively in '35, 36 and '38. Goudey produced only premiums in 1939 and abandoned baseball altogether in 1940 to produce a patriotic themed set. 1941 was their last baseball set, consisting of 33 blank backed cards that could be found in one of four colors: Red, Blue, Yellow and Green. Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell are the only stars in the set. Already extremely scarce due to the unpopularity of the set, cards #21-25 are short printed and next to impossible to find.

To be honest, before I settled on Barnacle Bill as the COTW, I knew next to nothing about him other than the fact he played for the Braves at some point and I needed his card for my team sets. Pretty much everything I know I got from the links in the first paragraph when I was looking for info to write this thing. I'm not even really sure how his name is pronounced. The fact I even own the card is a complete accident. I was actually looking on eBay not to buy any '41 Goudey cards, but to swipe some images to print out to fill in the blank spaces in my Braves binder. The only Brave (or in this case Bee) I found at all was this lone specimen. Since it was listed with a starting price of only a buck, I decided what the hell and put a five dollar bid on it, certain someone would snipe it away from me. Not only did I not get sniped, but I ended up paying with shipping not much more than I did for a single pack of '07 Goudey at the local card shop. I'm still trying to figure out if I stole the card, or if my head is so far up my butt from researching obscure vintage sets that I'm deluding myself that my PSA reject is actually worth anything. Even if it's worthless, it still fills in that slot in my Ultra-Pro page where a slip of paper with "41G - Posedel" used to be. And to quote the Great Guru:

No matter WHAT a card looks like, if you need it for your collection, it looks GOOD to you!

1 comment:

--David said...

Thank you, thank you! I recently picked a few "Tiptons" myself, and my co-workers couldn't believe I would collect such stuff, even if they were very vintage, given their condition. I told them it didn't matter to me because I needed them for my Indians collection. They look GREAT to me!