‘It’s In The Details’
|Size||5 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ (card size)
|Number in Set
||90 (181 or 198 with variations)
B18 Blankets Overview
These were thin square pieces of fabric featuring various baseball players. In addition to a player image, his team, and name, some pennants and pieces of baseball equipment are also featured. Backs are blank but the fabric colors and images are seen through them.
A total of 90 different players were included, nine from a total of ten different teams. Six teams, the White Sox, Red Sox, Phillies, Athletics, Reds, and Cubs, did not have any players included, for whatever reason. Some checklists cite 91 players, but one is only a misspelling (Marty Cavanaugh of the Detroit Tigers should be spelled as ‘Kavanagh’) and not a different player. In reality, there are 90 different players in the set with one spelling error. With a few exceptions, each player has two different color variations.
As this site indicates, these were folded and placed inside of packages of Egyptienne Straights Cigarettes. As shown in the picture, it is easy to see these were folded. Many that you find will still be seen with the remnants of the folding even though they are more than 100 years old.
Even though many are missing from the teams that were left out, the set includes numerous stars and Hall of Famers. That, coupled with all of the variations (see below in the checklist area), makes this release difficult to complete.
The blankets aren’t necessarily all that expensive (you can find some stars for as little as $20-$25, in fact) but with all of the variations, it makes completing a true master set a little difficult.
Red Infield Blankets
While 181 is the number most commonly cited for a full set, it should be noted that 17 additional blankets with red infields exist. Even though 181 is often considered a complete set, in actuality, there are at least 198 different blankets if you include the scarce red infield ones.
Not all players have red infield variations. In fact, this specific variation is limited to only players from the Red Sox and Tigers.
The red infield blankets have, as you would expect, red-colored infields. These are quite rare and very expensive, generally selling for a few thousand dollars. The most expensive red infield blanket is the one featuring Ty Cobb and his has sold for nearly $10,000.
Collectors unfamiliar with this set should be careful when looking for red infield blankets. Many blankets have red basepaths (the rectangular areas outside of the playing field surface). However, the truly scarce red infield versions have a red background behind the player as shown on the one presented here.
B18 Blankets Checklist
The B18 blanket checklist is a confusing one. In all, there are 90 players (nine each from the ten major league teams) that make up the 1914 B18 Blanket set. However, with variations, the total number of issues 181 that comprise an accepted complete set.
Red infield cards are not always considered to be true variations, however. Some believe that they are a result of a printing flaw and, thus, not really a variation. Depending on the collector, the number of this complete checklist could be either 181 or 198.
Here is a link to a B18 Blanket checklist, including all of the variations.