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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Actual Trading Card History - 1933 Delong

Today's history lesson comes via card 13 from Topps' Trading Card History set, a Johan Santana card patterned after 1933 DeLong. Topps was able to use the name on the back of the card at least, but still no indication on what this set is all about. In 1933 a slew of bubble gum card sets appeared including the iconic '33 Goudey set. The epicenter of the gum card craze was based in Boston, home of not only DeLong, but also Goudey, George C. Miller, National Chicle (AKA Diamond Stars) and US Caramel. All had significant sets released in 1932-1933 and the competition was tough. Of all the sets put out that year, DeLong's was certainly the most distinctive. Somewhat small at 24 cards, the DeLong set is known for its bright colors and unique baseball diamond design where the player towers over lilliputian fielders and base runners. The checklist is incredible, fifteen of the twenty four cards are of Hall of Famers headed by Lou Gehrig.

This is not Topps' first go at this set, last year their card-a-week promotion at hobby shops were all in the DeLong style. Above is Johan's other card in the DeLong style. Once again the tiny little players are in grave danger of being squashed by the MechaJohan. These cards were distributed in packs of "Play Ball" gum, but not the same Play Ball from Philadelphia's Gum, Inc., another famous set from the pre-war period. I don't actually have one of these cards since they are fairly scarce and quite expensive, but Dover comes through with a reprint of another dominating southpaw, Lefty Gomez.

Pretty much the same, Topps copied this design reasonably closely. The font's off a tad, but that's being nitpicky. The backs forgo stats in favor of a baseball playing tip from Boston sports writer Austen Lake. Here's a picture of the actual back (well, the reprint back at least) and the Topps back from last year.
Topps does an excellent job of mimicking the design but misses the point by talking about Santana so much. It's a nice card set, but the color really starts to hurt your eyes after a while. Here's a checklist for anyone out there looking to complete your own original set:

1 Marty McManus - Boston Red Sox
2 Al Simmons - Chicago White Sox
3 Oscar Melillo - St. Louis Browns
4 Bill Terry - New York Giants
5 Charlie Gehringer - Detroit Tigers
6 Mickey Cochrane - Philadelphia Athletics
7 Lou Gehrig - New York Yankees
8 Kiki Cuyler - Chicago Cubs
9 Bill Urbanski - Boston BRAVES
10 Lefty O'Doul - Brooklyn Dodgers
11 Freddie Lindstrom - Pittsburgh Pirates
12 Pie Traynor - Pittsburgh Pirates
13 Rabbit Maranville - Boston BRAVES
14 Lefty Gomez - New York Yankees
15 Riggs Stephenson - Chicago Cubs
16 Lon Warneke - Chicago Cubs
17 Pepper Martin - St. Louis Cardinals
18 Jimmy Dykes - Chicago White Sox
19 Chick Hafey - Cincinnati Reds
20 Joe Vosmik - Cleveland Indians
21 Jimmy Foxx - Philadelphia Athletics
22 Chuck Klein - Philadelphia Nationals (Phillies)
23 Lefty Grove - Philadelphia Athletics
24 Goose Goslin - Washington Senators

Last but not least, here's a gallery of the original 1933 DeLong set courtesy Dan Austin.

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