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Monday, September 22, 2008

Card Of the Week 9/22/08

I don't need to explain the rationale behind the Card of the Week, but I will tell you who the guy is. Billy Hargrave's nickname was "Pinky" which is easily enough for someone to be honored as a Card of the Week. His full name is William McKinley Hargrave, which makes the Pinky moniker even more amusing to me. But wait, there's more... His brother's nickname was "Bubbles". That's right, Pinky and Bubbles. They were both catchers too. Can you imagine catchers today named Pinky and Bubbles? Pinky Mauer and Bubbles McCann? Bubbles was a hell of a hitter too, he was one of the very few catchers in the majors to ever win a batting title. Pinky never competed for a batting title, but he was a good enough catcher to stick in the bigs as a backup for ten years with Washington (and was part of the 1924 Championship team!) St. Louis Browns, Detroit and the Boston Braves. But wait, there's more... Pinky started off his career as a right handed hitter, learned to switch hit, and then abandoned the right side altogether and hit from the left side exclusively to finish his career. My tale ends sadly however, as Pinky died of a heartattack while converting a baseball field to be used for football at the way too young age of 42. And that's actually a pretty terrible segue into the picture of the actual card:

Now you know exactly why this is the Card of the Week. This is Billy's 1933 Goudey card made incredibly fantastic by an unknown artist. Quite possibly Salvador Dali by the looks of it. The cap and the devil mustache/goatee combo is utterly amazing but I think the real key to the piece is the nose. You just don't see a masterwork like that very often. You have to wonder just how many noses did the artist actually punch in order to fully conceptualize the superlative schnozz they expressed upon Pinky's visage. As you can see this is also one of the few Goudey cards without the red "Big League Chewing Gum" band across the bottom.

Oh wait, no it isn't. Someone just hacked the thing off with some scissors. Maybe the scissor-wielding maniac was an early advocate of political correctness and could not abide with the offensive "Indian Gum" advertisement on the bottom of the card. Most likely I have simply acquired a piece of a sociopath's card collection. This card is definitely the collector's equivalent of a mean little kid going after ant hills with a magnifying glass on a hot day.

I know, I know... you all want to know where I found this lovely specimen. What's that? You really want to know why the heck I paid good money for this card? Well that's simple enough, I've been on a bit of a vintage kick on eBay lately. I got sick of losing auctions for 2008 A&G and Goudey inserts so I decided to try to pick up some originals instead. This was actually in a group of 4 pre-war cards I picked up from the same seller. I got a decent looking '33 Goudey Leo Mangum card, a '39 Play Ball Fred Frankhouse in good condition and a thoroughly beaten up 1940 Play Ball card of Tony Cuccinello. The '40 Play Ball is my first Brave from that set, so I don't mind the condition that much. Well, obviously condition isn't really my first priority from the look of this Tipton. The thing is, this is the card I bid on first. I pretty much bid as soon as I saw it. All the others I found when I looked through the rest of the guy's auctions for more Braves. This here is a truly unique card. Most of the other collectors on the planet would look at this card and see a mess - which it is - but I see something more. I, like Charlie Brown looking through the Christmas tree lot, passed up on all those fake plastic trees and instead chose this little dinky crummy looking twig. And really, I can get a good looking '33 Goudey card of Pinky pretty much whenever I want, there are plenty of them out there. I'll never find anything like this ever again. It's not such a bad little card. It's not bad at all really, maybe it just needs a little love.

1 comment:

ernest said...

the work of an anonymous genius! an unselfconscious gesture from the past that effortlessy undoes the overwrought state of the hobby today. i hope to god that during the rest of my lifetime, i am fortunate enough to stumble across a vintage drawing on sportscard that rivals this.