WELCOME to Nowbatting19 Sportscards! This site features pictures and stories of vintage Baseball cards, Basketball cards, Football cards, Hockey cards, Boxing cards, even some Non-Sports
cards. Something for everyone. I have created this site for my own enjoyment (& amusement) and I think you will enjoy it as well. It started off as a simple tribute page to my All-Time Favorite
baseball player, Fred Lynn (#19) but 9 years later it has turned into much more. There are lots of goodies to choose from, starting with this page, which features a brief history of baseball cards. This
site features over 35 pages, chock full of vintage trading cards, photographs, and other assorted memorabilia. Please note that I do not own most of the cards on these pages (I can only wish I did!). I
hope this site will bring you back to a time when baseball was more about the GAME, and less about the business. So pull up a chair, grab a cup of Joe or an ice cold beer and explore the site! Enjoy!
Sincerely, Tim Pulcifer
|A Brief History Of Baseball Cards
Baseball cards started off as premiums for tobacco products in the late 1800's to early 1900's. Among the most popular
of these early tobacco issues are the T206 White border cards. "T206" refers to the catalog number assigned to this
issue. Say "T206" to any collector and they will know what you are talking about. These cards were issued from 1909 to
1911 and feature many Hall of Famers like Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Cy Young, & Walter Johnson, just
to name a few. But the most famous of the T206 cards is the very rare Honus Wagner card (see picture, left). Say "T206
WAGNER" to any collector and watch them drool! The card was pulled early in production; hence there are only about
50 or so known examples. The highest graded example (PSA 8 NM/MT) just traded owners (Feb. 2007) for a cool 2.3
MILLION DOLLARS! Even poor grade examples sell for five figures and up. This card is considered the HOLY GRAIL OF
BASEBALL CARDS. While most collectors cannot obtain (or afford) a Honus Wagner, the T206 baseball cards are still
somewhat affordable. Common players list for around $25 in VG (Very Good) condition. More on condition later. Other
early tobacco cards of note are the 1887-1890 Old Judge cards (one of the first baseball cards ever produced), the
T205 Gold border set (featured gold leaf borders; see picture right), and the T3 Turkey Red Cabinets; beautiful
5-3/4" x 8" cards which are extremely popular today. Because of these early tobacco issues, baseball cards became
extremely popular with the youth of America. Keep in mind there was no TV or even radio then. So these cardboard
pictures were highly prized by kids, and other manufacturers, namely, candy and gum took notice.
1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner 1911 T205 Christy Mathewson
The next evolution of baseball cards came with the candy & gum issues. Baseball cards seemed to go better with candy and gum
and what better way to get kids to buy your products than to put a Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig card in with a piece of gum.
Probably the most popular gum cards ever are the Goudey Gum issues from 1933 to 1934. The 1933 set features the big
names of the day including four different Babe Ruth cards, while the 1934 set features two different Lou Gehrig cards (see card,
left). Other stars included Jimmy Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, Dizzy Dean, and many more. Goudey also issued popular sets in 1935
(known as "Goudey 4-in-1" as they featured 4 players on 1 card) and also a popular set in 1938, commonly referred to as
Goudey "Heads-Up" as the players heads are depicted with a smaller cartoon drawing of their body in action. This set
featured very early cards of both Joe DiMaggio and Bob Feller. Other popular candy & gum issues are the 1914 & 1915
Cracker Jack cards (hence the moniker, "Cracker Jack" ballplayer) and American Caramel issues. Other popular gum cards
were produced by Delong Gum, National Chicle (Diamond Stars, and Gum Inc. Gum Inc. produced some classic baseball (&
non-sports cards as well) picture cards, notably the Play Ball America cards (1939-41) which featured early cards of both Joe
DiMaggio and Ted Williams. Also included in the 1940 set were all-time greats like Christy Mathewson, Grover Cleveland
Alexander, and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (see right). In 1941 Playball produced color cards by coloring in black & white
photos. These cards were extremely popular as Joe DiMaggio was in the midst of his record 56-game hitting streak and Ted
Williams was tearing the ball off the cover and finished the season with a .406 batting mark (the last player to hit .400 in a
season). However, in 1941, something even bigger came along...World War II, and card production was halted. Considering
the paper drives during the war, and the fact that these fragile pieces of cardboard were handled by kids, it is a small wonder
that so many of these cards survive today (some in high grades even).
For more on tobacco and gum issues before World War ll (Pre-War) please see our new PRE-WAR PAGE!
1940 Play Ball #225 Joe Jackson
1934 Goudey #63 Lou Gehrig
1948-49 Leaf #79 Jackie Robinson
In 1948-1949 Leaf Gum Inc., produced the first major baseball card set after the war. These are very popular issues
and included cards of Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Stan Musial, and one of the first issues
of Jackie Robinson (see card, left) who had broken baseball's color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Oddly this was the only mainstream set issued by Leaf until 1960.
Bowman Gum also produced a mainstream set in 1948 (see Ralph Kiner rookie card, right) and even though this
was a black & white issue, by 1950 Bowman was THE NAME in baseball cards. Bowman's large & colorful sets were
big hits with the kids and featured established stars like Ted Williams and Stan Musial, as well as up-and-coming stars
like Mickey Mantle & Willie Mays (both featured as rookies in the 1951 Bowman set). In 1953 Bowman produced
perhaps the most beautiful cards of all-time with it's Kodachrome photos (see Mickey Mantle card below). Bowman
was also very innovative, creating a "TV set" design for it's 1955 issue (see Willie Mays card below). However, 1955
was to be a last hurrah for Bowman Gum.
NEW! Just added a BOWMAN Baseball Cards Page!
1952 Bowman #196 Stan Musial 1953 Bowman Color #59 Mickey Mantle 1955 Bowman #184 Willie Mays
In 1952 Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. of Brooklyn, New York, put out a series of "Giant" (407) baseball cards and this set is
considered to be the "grand-daddy" of the modern baseball card. Whether it was the larger card format than Bowman, the taste
of the bubble gum, or the fact that Topps used the previous season's statistics on the card backs, one thing is certain. Within 3
years from it's first major release, Topps put Bowman out of business. After the unfortunate demise of Bowman; baseball cards
were almost exclusively produced by Topps Chewing Gum.
There are a few exceptions, mostly regional issues such as Bell Brand L.A. Dodgers; cereal & food issues such as the 1960-1963
Post & Jell-O cards that were issued on the backs of cereal boxes and dessert boxes; and a couple of smaller issues like the 1960
Sports Novelties (also known as Leaf) cards, exclusive 1959 Fleer set featuring the career of Ted Williams, and Fleer's 1963 small
baseball set of (66) cards. But Topps was the brand most kids collected.
Among the most famous of Topps issues (and there has been a lot of them) is the first Topps card of Mickey Mantle. If the
granddaddy of the modern baseball card is the 1952 Topps set, then the GRAND POOBAH OF THE MODERN BASEBALL CARD
would have to be without a doubt, the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle (see left), the first Topps Mantle card and certainly
not the last. The reason this card is so desirable is this- #1, it's MICKEY MANTLE! Second, it was issued in the high numbered
series (card numbers 311 to 407) which were produced in more limited numbers than the previous series. Third, Topps was left
with a large number of these "high numbers" which they then proceeded to discard by dumping them in the Atlantic Ocean.
Remember, baseball cards were not "worth" anything back then. They were used as a gimmick to get kids to buy bubble gum.
Today these "high numbers" are worth a few hundred dollars each in nice shape; the Mantle alone is worth around $25,000 in
graded NM (Near Mint) condition, even several thousands of dollars for lower grade examples.
Beginning in 1952 and through 1980 Topps continued to be the only card manufacturer to issue mainstream cards packaged wtih
bubble gum. However in 1981, both Donruss and Leaf won a court battle to issue cards (though not with bubble gum). Though
Topps no longer has a monopoly on baseball cards, they still are major producers of cards and remain synonymous not with
bubble gum (which was usually kind of stale), but with baseball cards.
For more on Topps baseball cards, check out our new TOPPS BASEBALL CARDS PAGE (1951-1980)
1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle
1970 Topps #712 Nolan Ryan
You might have noticed I did not mention the baseball cards of today. While some hobby mainstays like Topps are still around, the hobby itself is no longer about the cards themselves, but HOW MUCH THEY ARE WORTH.
It is sickening. So this site will feature pretty much VINTAGE cards and not modern cards. I hope you don't mind. If you want to learn about new cards this is not the site you want. But if you want to know a little bit about the
history of cards, collecting cards, grading cards, or just enjoying cards, then this site is for you! Check out the many pages below and have fun!
DISCLAIMER. I, in no way imply I have any or all of these cards in my possession (I can only wish I did). This site is for my own enjoyment and I hope you enjoy it as well! Sincerely Tim Pulcifer (CEO, President, Chief
Wahoo, and other assorted, unflattering titles...)
Fredlynn.net - Official website of my favorite player. Well done site by Todd Farino.
Nowbatting19 Sportscards Table of Contents
1948 Bowman #3 Ralph Kiner RC
1975 Topps #622 Fred Lynn, Tim Pulcifer Rookie Card (RARE!)
1970's Press Photo Fred Lynn
Touching Home Sportscards - I've bought cards from Michael Cooperman, nice collector grade cards for a fair
price. He is not a dealer, but collector like myself. Check it out!
Nowbatting...Number 19... Fred Lynn!!! 1976 Topps Vault Fred Lynn photograph
|1971 Topps #400 Hank Aaron 1956 Topps #143 Jim Piersall 1968 Topps #45 Tom Seaver