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  #1  
Old 09-25-2020, 01:20 PM
Ricky Ricky is offline
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Default Ruth - Gehrig 1930s cards

One of the things that has always fascinated me and I've always wondered about is the appearance and non-appearance of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in early to mid-1930s national baseball card sets. Arguably the top two players from that era, they go missing in some major sets.

We know that Babe Ruth signed an exclusive contract to appear on Goudey cards in 1933, leading to his absence on sets like Delong, Tatoo Orbit and others. Lou Gehrig also appears in the '33 Goudey set, but his was not an exclusive agreement, as he shows up in Delong. So, 1933 is easily understandable.

In 1934, Gehrig gets the exclusive treatment from Goudey with the Lou Gehrig Says set. However, Ruth disappears. Coming off an excellent 1933 season, at a time when he'd be in big demand to include in a national set, he doesn't appear in Goudey, Batter Up or Diamond Star.

Ruth returns to Goudey in 1935 in his last season, but now Gehrig disappears. Meanwhile, neither get added to Batter Up or Diamond Stars. In 1936, once again, Gehrig is not in Goudey and again not added to Batter Up or Diamond Stars. And finally, Gehrig is nowhere to be found in 1938 Goudey or 1939 Play Ball. The biggest name in baseball and no major cards (outside of premiums and the like) after 1934.

I'm very curious if anyone has any thoughts as to why these two were missing from so many major sets...
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2020, 03:17 PM
Ricky Ricky is offline
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No thoughts from anyone on this? I apologize if this has been discussed before... just thought it interesting and a bit weird that especially Gehrig goes MIA in the major sets of the mid to late thirties...
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  #3  
Old 09-27-2020, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky View Post
One of the things that has always fascinated me and I've always wondered about is the appearance and non-appearance of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in early to mid-1930s national baseball card sets. Arguably the top two players from that era, they go missing in some major sets.

We know that Babe Ruth signed an exclusive contract to appear on Goudey cards in 1933, leading to his absence on sets like Delong, Tatoo Orbit and others. Lou Gehrig also appears in the '33 Goudey set, but his was not an exclusive agreement, as he shows up in Delong. So, 1933 is easily understandable.

In 1934, Gehrig gets the exclusive treatment from Goudey with the Lou Gehrig Says set. However, Ruth disappears. Coming off an excellent 1933 season, at a time when he'd be in big demand to include in a national set, he doesn't appear in Goudey, Batter Up or Diamond Star.

Ruth returns to Goudey in 1935 in his last season, but now Gehrig disappears. Meanwhile, neither get added to Batter Up or Diamond Stars. In 1936, once again, Gehrig is not in Goudey and again not added to Batter Up or Diamond Stars. And finally, Gehrig is nowhere to be found in 1938 Goudey or 1939 Play Ball. The biggest name in baseball and no major cards (outside of premiums and the like) after 1934.

I'm very curious if anyone has any thoughts as to why these two were missing from so many major sets...
Could have had something to do with Licensing rights. Gehrig did have a card in 36. It's his World Wide Gum Card which is exceedingly rare. One would think that Gehirg may have appeared in the 1940 or 41 Play Ball set had he not contracted ALS.

Ruth on the other hand, had a very icy relationship with Gehrig towards the end of their playing days, and consdering Gehrig was the featured guy of the 34 Goudey set, it doesn't surprise me that he wasn't in the product. He probably refused to appear in the set. Remember, Gehrig and Ruth only make up after Gehrig's retirement.
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:27 PM
jayshum jayshum is offline
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Gehrig is also in the Salutation Exhibit set with his card likely coming out in 1939 which was his last season as a player.
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  #5  
Old 09-27-2020, 08:29 PM
ecRich ecRich is offline
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Default Ruth=Gehrig

Both Ruth and Gehrig had many endorsement opportunities that paid better than baseball card companies did, Usually a company like Goudey would pay the team to use a photo of a player. Then a printing firm who had artists would create the card image from the photo for Goudey. The players would receive little except a bunch of cards they could give to fans and friends. Gehrig got a bigger endorsement fee from Goudey in 1934 with Lou Gehrig says and two cards. But he could do better doing less in other areas. Walsh managed both Ruth and Gehrig at the time and demanded more for the use of their images than card companies could afford.
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Old 09-27-2020, 08:32 PM
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Interesting, thanks. Had not considered that their fee demand might have been beyond what card companies could or would pay. I know that they were on Exhibits and other premiums...
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Old 09-27-2020, 11:44 PM
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Given Ruth was in ‘33G and not ‘34, but then back for ‘35, the “spite for Gehrig” theory would explain that perfectly.

That brings a bigger question of why Goudey went with Gehrig in ‘34 instead of “Ruth says”. They thought enough of Ruth to put him on 4 cards the previous year and I would think he would have jumped at the chance had he been offered it...
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecRich View Post
Both Ruth and Gehrig had many endorsement opportunities that paid better than baseball card companies did, Usually a company like Goudey would pay the team to use a photo of a player. Then a printing firm who had artists would create the card image from the photo for Goudey. The players would receive little except a bunch of cards they could give to fans and friends. Gehrig got a bigger endorsement fee from Goudey in 1934 with Lou Gehrig says and two cards. But he could do better doing less in other areas. Walsh managed both Ruth and Gehrig at the time and demanded more for the use of their images than card companies could afford.
I'm fascinated by how many card images came out of a single photo. If you look at a set like 1929 Kashin you see the same artist rendered poses in 33 Goudey.

And poor Frankie Frisch, he will always be fielding that grounder between 2nd and 3rd...
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Old 09-28-2020, 08:16 AM
Ricky Ricky is offline
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Originally Posted by conor912 View Post
Given Ruth was in ‘33G and not ‘34, but then back for ‘35, the “spite for Gehrig” theory would explain that perfectly.

That brings a bigger question of why Goudey went with Gehrig in ‘34 instead of “Ruth says”. They thought enough of Ruth to put him on 4 cards the previous year and I would think he would have jumped at the chance had he been offered it...
And then Gehrig, after a successful 1934 series, disappears in 1935 and thereafter in Goudey, even though Ruth is retired. But I think, what surprises me most, is Gehrig’s absence in the large 1939 Play Ball set and especially after his emotional retirement, in the 1940 Play Ball set, given the inclusion of several retired players in that set.

Last edited by Ricky; 09-28-2020 at 08:17 AM.
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  #10  
Old 09-28-2020, 08:32 AM
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And then Gehrig, after a successful 1934 series, disappears in 1935 and thereafter in Goudey, even though Ruth is retired. But I think, what surprises me most, is Gehrig’s absence in the large 1939 Play Ball set and especially after his emotional retirement, in the 1940 Play Ball set, given the inclusion of several retired players in that set.
Odd indeed. The spite theory only explains so much. It’s not like being in a baseball card set with someone is the same as sitting next to them at Thanksgiving.
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Last edited by conor912; 09-28-2020 at 08:33 AM.
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  #11  
Old 09-28-2020, 08:42 AM
steve B steve B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecRich View Post
Both Ruth and Gehrig had many endorsement opportunities that paid better than baseball card companies did, Usually a company like Goudey would pay the team to use a photo of a player. Then a printing firm who had artists would create the card image from the photo for Goudey. The players would receive little except a bunch of cards they could give to fans and friends. Gehrig got a bigger endorsement fee from Goudey in 1934 with Lou Gehrig says and two cards. But he could do better doing less in other areas. Walsh managed both Ruth and Gehrig at the time and demanded more for the use of their images than card companies could afford.
I was thinking along those lines, the companies could afford one or the other, but not both.
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:45 AM
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I was thinking along those lines, the companies could afford one or the other, but not both.
Could be this or could be one of the other things mentioned. Interesting thoughts on the subject.

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  #13  
Old 10-01-2020, 07:52 PM
ecRich ecRich is offline
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Default Ruth-Gehrig

Interesting to note that Goudey kept costs down in 1935 by using images from their 1933 set on the four on one cards. They already paid for those (including Ruth) so cost cutting measure for sure,
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  #14  
Old 10-01-2020, 07:54 PM
Ricky Ricky is offline
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Height of the Great Depression...
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