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paleocards 01-21-2012 01:46 PM

1974 Laughlin Old-Time Black Stars - A Set Ahead of its Time
In 1974, when R.G. Laughlin produced this obscure set as an homage to the largely unknown and still unappreciated stars of the Negro Leagues, only four (Paige, Gibson, Leonard & Bell) of the 36 players featured had been enshrined in baseball's Hall of Fame. But Laughlin's choice of players was remarkably prescient -- over the next 32 years 18 more of these ballplayers received the call to Cooperstown. In all, 22 of the 36 cards in this set depict HOFers. It can be reasonably argued that for at least 9 of these stars, their '74 Laughlin card is their true RC since they had no other baseball cards produced of them before this set! (See Old Cardboard's HOF Rookie Cards page). Below are scans of all 22 Laughlin HOFers, listed by induction year and "Rookie Card" notation, if appropriate. Enjoy!

(To give credit where it's due: much of this info comes from Brian Hodes aka BKH, the proud owner of the #1 all-time and current-finest PSA registry set)

Satchel Paige (HOF 1971) & Josh Gibson (HOF 1972)

Buck Leonard (HOF 1972; Rookie Card) & Cool Papa Bell (HOF 1974)

Judy Johnson (HOF 1975; Rookie Card) & Oscar Charleston (HOF 1976)

Martin Dihigo (HOF 1977) & John Henry "Pop" Lloyd (HOF 1977)

Ray Dandridge (HOF 1987) & Andrew "Rube" Foster (HOF 1996; Rookie Card)

Bill Foster (HOF 1996) & Willie Wells (HOF 1997; Rookie Card)

Wilbur "Bullet" Rogan (HOF 1998; Rookie Card) & "Smoky Joe" Williams (HOF 1999; Rookie Card)

Frank Grant (HOF 2006; Rookie Card) & Pete Hill (HOF 2006)

Biz Mackey (HOF 2006) & Jose "Joe" Mendez (HOF 2006)

paleocards 01-21-2012 01:47 PM

...and here are the final four HOFers from the set:

Louis Santop (HOF 2006; Rookie Card) & George "Mule" Suttles (HOF 2006; Rookie Card)

Cristobal Torriente (HOF 2006) & Jud Wilson (HOF 2006)

bcbgcbrcb 01-21-2012 02:06 PM

Agreed, great set. Even more scarce is the 1978 version, although not the same star power as 1974, still 3 HOF'ers: Leon Day, Hilton Smith & Sol White (rookie card).

paleocards 01-21-2012 02:15 PM

True, those '78s are tough to find. Here's the Sol White (HOF 2006) RC:

Rickyy 01-23-2012 01:30 PM

I picked up the Josh Gibson recently. Its really a great set in terms of its content and design too.

Ricky Y

bigtrain 01-23-2012 01:46 PM

In the mid eighties I had an opportunity to pick up uncut sheets of both issues. Not buying them was one of the earliest of my many mistakes in the hobby.

bcbgcbrcb 01-23-2012 02:11 PM


Those uncut sheets would have been cool, never seen any of those available.

ghostmarcelle 01-25-2012 05:40 PM

What is really amazing are the backs
Because there was no reference material at the time

laughlinfan 01-25-2012 09:18 PM

Bob did a lot of research for those sets, as well as the Indianapolis Clowns set - he talked to several of the players as well.

Based on what I know about Bob's printing of sets, I would guess that he made 1500 or so of the 74 set, and maybe 250 or 500 of the 78s. Just as you guys said, the lack of "stars" in the 78 set greatly reduced demand. I think the 74 set is just a nicer looking set, too.

bcbgcbrcb 01-26-2012 06:16 AM

Interesting info on the production numbers, I never heard that information released before, thanks for sharing.

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