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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Red Sox Tribute - 1938 Goudey Ernie Lombardi Dover Reprint

This card was originally part of one of Bert Sugar's Dover reprint books, but I tore it out when I was a kid and eventually trimmed off the borders. I liked this set the best so it got the most abuse. I love the 38 Goudeys and if I could choose just one ared from that set it would be... well it would be the Al Lopez Boston Bees card. I'm still a team collector you know. Other than Al though, I'd love an original card of Ernie. Would I choose Lombardi over the Joe DiMaggio? Sure I would. Even hypothetical benevolent card benefactors would lop your arm off if you started reaching for their Joe D card.

Ernie Lombardi is one of the most underrated catchers in baseball history. Nicknamed Schnozz for obvious reasons, he was a good catcher and fantastic hitter. Lombardi had a lifetime batting average of .306 despite the fact that he was slow as a dump truck with 4 flat tires. Ernie was the last catcher to win a batting title until Joe Mauer did it last year by hitting .330 with the Boston Braves in 1942. He had already won a crown in his MVP season of 1938. Ernie got no cheap hits either since he was such a slow runner. Ernie made the Hall of Fame in 1986 after being screwed by the voters and Veteran's committee for decades.

Long time Boston and Cincinnati fans are probably scratching their head wondering why I am honoring the Sox with someone who probably never set foot in Fenway as a player. If you look on the back of Ernie's card, you'll see Goudey goofed - Ernie was a catcher for the Reds, not the Red Sox. Most of these '38 cards were overprinted with an S and a black baseball to correct the error as you can see here in the Virtual Card Collection. A few of the uncorrected ones are floating around though, and Bert used the uncorrected version in his book. Hey, a Red Sox error is still a Red Sox card.

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