Some Vintage Stock

As I track down some of the lesser known Sox players on my All-Time Collection needs, I have today some pick ups I made off of eBay over the last week.


1910-11 M116 Sporting Life Pat Donahue

The approximately 1.5″ x  2.75″  cards were originally offered to fans through the mail in as 24 different, 12-card series. Universally regarded as classic depictions from the game’s pre-War period, the card images are from noted photographer Carl Horner, best known for shooting the T206 “white border” cards.

This is my first M116 Red Sox card, as I had been eyeing this one and a couple of others lately. It’s also one of my oldest cards along with a T206 Bill Carrigan I have. The above card is still in great shape for an issue that is 107 years old. The one thing you’ll notice between the M116 and say, the T206 are the color and tone. The Sporting Life colors are more muted or pastel like and the uniforms are often gray or brown and lacking any team name on the fronts. 

Pat Donahue played for three different teams over the course of two years of organized baseball. The back up catcher played 102 games for the Red Sox during 1908-10. He went a combined 66 hits in 308 at bats while batting a lowly .211. One little fact uncovered (per one of the authoritative writers on all things Red Sox writer Bill Nowlin) was that the Cleveland Indians once paid Pat Donahue $200 for a tip that led to the signing of Bob Feller in 1935. Of course, they later gave him another $200 to forestall him from making any claims for additional compensation. Ouch!


I do like the old time advertisement on the backs of the Sporting Life, pretty cool if you ask me.


1933 Goudey Bernie Friberg and John Welch

Once again with these two cards, I picked up an issue I didn’t have in my collection. I’m actually tempted to pick up the reprints of these two so I can put these in top loaders and put with my special Red Sox cards that I have in a separate box. This box is set aside for my graded, relics, autos, and oversized issues I have. I’ll continue to sprinkle those into future posts. Anyhow, as I write this post and examine the cards, I really like these so much more now that I have them in person. Nothing done in Photoshop here, what you see is the actually coloring—the colors really pop!


The Goudey 1933 Big League Gum set really initiated a Golden Age for collectibles. The cards’ most recognizable feature is their 2-3/8″ by 2-7/8″ size, as well as colorful, artistic illustrations that set a modern standard in terms of eye-appeal. Minus some flawed corners and writing on the back of John Welch’s card, these are quickly becoming a couple of my favorites that I own. That’s it, I need to purchase the reprints, these two are too nice to sit in album!


1939 Play Ball Emerson Dickman and Fred Ostermueller

The ’39 Play Balls seem to be the one Pre-War set I have the most Red Sox from. Outside of the Ted Williams rookie and WWII spy, Moe Berg, the Sox found in this issue are no names and can be found in decent shape (at least in my collecting needs) for under ten bucks a pop. I’ve always liked these cards. There’s some great photography and the write ups are pretty good.


One interesting note about “Fritz” I found on SABR’s BioProject site …

On July 31 at Yankee Stadium, Ostermueller gave up Babe Ruth’s 703rd career home run as New York triumphed, 2-1. The Bambino socked another round-tripper off Fritz on August 11 at Fenway (No. 705), but in a losing cause, as Ostey pitched all the way to record a 13-inning, 3-2 victory. It was Ruth’s last season as a Yankee; after Fritz struck him out, he rewarded the rookie left-hander with an autographed baseball. The ball is now the centerpiece in the memorabilia collection of Sherrill Ostermueller Duesterhaus, the daughter of Fritz and Faye Ostermueller.

So chalk off five names on my All-Time Sox list. While I was writing this post, I DID purchase a Friberg Goudey reprint and a Yawkey Red Sox Welch card so that the two Goudeys above, can go in my special Sox box. In addition to these, I just landed nine other Sox cards I needed, they were either odd ball cards or reprints. Slowly but surely, knocking names off left and right and I’m almost to the point where I’m down to guys that never appeared on a trading card. Time to get cracking on those customs.

An Afternoon at the LSC


Just a peak of what I need to photograph at some point this weekend. I think I spent 4 plus hours at my LSC just going through boxes and boxes. It was a good way to kill a vacation day. I pretty much hit on a number a needs as well as picked up several cards  towards a new set.

Trade with Swing and a Pop-Up


So a while back I had sent Bert over at Swing and a Pop-Up a trade package and had actually forgotten one might be headed back my way. So I was pretty surprised when I got home to find a USPS Priority box sitting on the counter a couple weeks back. Bert hit a home run as he hit on a number of needs so let’s dive in.


First in the stash were some nice vintage BoSox cards. I love the ’58 Topps Jensen as it’ll pair well with his All-Star card from the same year that I have. The 1959 Wall is an upgrade to one I have in my 1959 Topps set that I have been writing about.


Next we have a TCMA issue from 1979 showcasing many Sox from the 1950s. A couple of these might replace cards I have in my All-Time Sox album. Some pretty cool photos on these as they mimic the 1953 Bowman Color Set. I actually had a couple of these some 30 plus years ago when I was a kid. I remember getting them along with other similar cards (which I still have) from a Scholastic Books order that used to have baseball card kits. Sadly, over the last couple of years, they are no longer found on my kids Scholastic forms.


Next up at the plate, some more TCMA cards, this time from a set showing Sox from the the 1960s. Again, some of these photos are better than their Topps counterparts so there might be some shuffling in the album.


Bert hit on some oddball Red Sox here with these 1980s box set beauties and more. As a kid, I loved (and still do) that 1982 Topps KMart MVPs boxed set. It was a great introduction to different Topps card designs through the years for a then, 9-year old kid. I love that 1989 Fleer box card of the Gator!!


Next up, some well loved–yet still cool 1979 Hostess cards. Outside of a couple of Red Sox, these are my first Hostess cards from this year. There’s a great mix in this lot! Barrios threw a combined no-no with John Blue Moon Odom in 1976. We have both MVP Winners from 1974 in Burroughs and Garvey. Mazzilli was an All-Star, Schmidt was on his way to becoming the best third baseman of all-time, and Tenace was a hero on those great A’s teams.


One thing I miss from my childhood??!! RACK PACKS!! These 1986 Topps Glossy All-Stars came from those wonderful packs you could find in mall toy stores across the country. There are 22 cards to the set, 11 from the American League and 11 from the National side. This puts a nice dent in the American League team!


And more rack pack inserts, these from the Senior Circuit. I remember dashing over to the big bin these were often found, trying to find any cellophane wrapped rack pack with a Red Sox player showing, preferably one with Jim Rice.

In addition to the showcased cards, Bert sent along a bunch of 1984 and 1986 Topps I needed for those two sets I close to completing.

Thanks again Bert, it was worth the wait–you didn’t just hit a pop-up, you hit a homer with this package! Hope we can do it again soon.


Custom 1941 Goudey Al Flair


1941 Goudey Baseball Al Flair #34 Custom Card

1941 Goudey Baseball marked the final product from the popular, but short-lived, vintage brand. After not releasing any new sets following 1938, Goudey reappeared in 1941 with a design that came in four different colors and only 33 cards in the set.

Al Flair played in only ten games in the majors, all of them with Boston during September 1941. In 30 official at bats, he managed 6 hits (2 doubles and a triple), drove in a couple runs, and added a stolen base. He hit just .200 in his brief cup of coffee.

I was lucky to find an image of Al Flair and since he has no trading card, it was up to me to create my next custom card for my All-Time Red Sox Collection.

I went with the ‘41 Goudey layout based on:

  • The image quality and size I could track down of Flair
  • Al played in 10 games for Boston in 1941
  • It’s a simple design and no design on the back (and I have a number of other customs I need to tackle!)
  • I don’t have a copy in my collection 

Based on the only image I could find of Al Flair, the Goudey design suited me. The image itself is over exposed and lacks a defined shoulder line and background. That in itself wouldn’t work for say, a 1941 Play Ball. Also, with this Goudey design, the logos and team names are absent on the uniforms. It’s a retro version of today’s Panini products!

The first step was to omit the background per the Goudey design. Adding a colored layer behind the original image in Photoshop, helped me define where the face, neck, and shoulder lines were. Next, erase the “B” on the hat and the “RED SOX” on the home jersey. After that it was cleaning up hard edges, doing some shadow enhancing and the like. I realized there was a stroke around the image in the Goudeys I found online, so that was added in Photoshop as well. At this point, I hid the colored layer and save as a PSD file

Now the fun part, the actual card design happens in InDesign. From one of the Goudey cards I found, the little baseball with “BIG League Gum” was placed in the upper right hand corner. Next the player name, team, and position. As a font geek this was about as easy as it gets. Futura. Typeset the above and add a card number, in this case “34” as the original set only has 33 cards. Next, match the four colors in the set to produce all four possible versions for Mr. Flair.

The back was easy. Find the biggest image of a ‘41 Goudey back and save. Fix the toning in Photoshop and and bring into InDesign.


To add some authenticity, I putposely cut off the right side of Flair’s image for the card. Do a search for 1941 Goudey and you’ll see a number of same instances.

One interesting fact I learned about Al was that he answered a want ad and got a job playing baseball. The Sporting News explained: “An advertisement placed in the classified section of a Memphis newspaper (by Little Rock Travelers manager Doc Prothro) led to Flair’s entry into organized baseball.”

I hope you like the finished result. Let me know your thoughts!

I have a couple hundred of other images of Sox players without cards, so the hope is to knock off a bunch in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!