1930 Blue Ribbon Malt Cubs and White Sox Photos

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Blue Ribbon Malt Cubs and White Sox Photo Premiums
Year 1930
Size Varies
Images Black and White
Type Food
Number in Set

1930 Blue Ribbon Malt Cubs and White Sox Photo Premiums Overview

Totten 1930 Blue Ribbon Malt1930 Blue Ribbon Malt Cubs Hack WilsonThe 1930 Blue Ribbon Malt set included black and white premium photos distributed by the company. The fronts included the player image and replica signature. The pictures included players from the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox (the White Sox photos appear to be tougher to find). Blue Ribbon Malt was a product of the Decatur Brewing Company, which later merged with popular brand Pabst.

Interestingly enough, there’s a great backstory behind it. Blue Ribbon Malt was not being made by Pabst, the brewer associated with that name. Instead, it was being issued by another brewer, the Decatur Brewing Company, hoping to capitalize on the Pabst ‘Blue Ribbon’ brand name.

During Prohibition, breweries could not sell alcohol but they could sell the ingredients used to make them. As a result, several sold these types of ingredients and associated products, including malt. The problem is that Decatur had already been producing the product before Prohibition and, when Pabst wanted to do that with the Blue Ribbon name after Prohibition went into effect, they sued for rights to the name, ultimately losing. But it didn’t matter much as Pabst and Blue Ribbon ultimately merged shortly after that, anyway.

Numerous big names are found in the set. From the Cubs, there’s Rogers Hornsby, Hack Wilson, Gabby Hartnett, Kiki Cuyler, Ray Schalk, and more. Among others, the White Sox set included Ted Lyons and Red Faber.

The photos can be found individually or as part of an uncut poster. Some collectors may have previously believed them to have been offered only on the poster. However, they were also distributed individually and mounted to a backing. The individual photos were approximately 5″ x 7″ (approximately 6 1/8″ x 8 3/4″ with the backing) but the ones from the posters would vary by cut – more on that in a bit.

The exact mode of distribution is unclear although they appear to have been mailed from the company (we know that is likely from what are believed to be original mailing envelopes that have been found with some on occasion). How collectors secured them, however, is not entirely known. Some believe them to be part of a redemption program.

These are often confused with Blue Ribbon Malt’s 1931 issue. Those, however, included special text printed at the bottom as a brief advertisement for the company.

New Checklisted Additions

A Heritage Auction in November 2017 expanded the known White Sox checklist by 13. New players noted include: Chick Autry, Ted Blankenship, Pat Caraway, Bud Clancy, Dave Harris, Dutch Henry, Bill Hunnefield, Ivan Jeffries, Mike Kelly, Joe Klinger, Hal McKain, Jim Moore, and John Riddle.

These 13 additions more than doubled the previously known checklist and helped get it much closer in number to the known Cubs checklist.

Advertising Posters

White Sox 1930 Blue Ribbon Malt Poster

The advertising posters for this issue seemingly promoted the photos that could be received. Posters were created for both the Cubs set as well as the White Sox one. As happened to many posters such as this, however, some collectors chose to cut them up to create individual cards of a sort. That explains why you will sometimes see these images from the premiums as smaller, hand cut items.

That can also cause some confusion particularly because the images used were exactly the same as in the set of the premium photos. There are a few primary differences between the poster and the individual premiums, though.

First, while the posters used the same images, the actual pictures on them were much smaller and ranged in size so hand cut examples can vary quite a bit in size. While the premium photos were about 7″ tall, the poster cuts were more like cards and only about half of that. Second, as stated, some of the premium photos are found mounted with a backing while the poster cuts are not.

Also, while the players featured on the poster were largely the same ones that had premiums, a few exceptions are known of players from the poster not having a premium. The two lists are close, but do not exactly match up.

Finally, as another checklisting issue, Hall of Fame announcer Hal Totten, who called both Cubs and White Sox games, is included as a premium photo that was available but he was left off of both posters. In 1930, Totten was calling games for both teams so the premium can be seen as either a Cubs or White Sox item.

The posters do not give any hint to distribution but do state that they were compliments of Blue Ribbon Malt.

1930 Blue Ribbon Malt Cubs and White Sox Photo Premiums Checklist

To date, I believe this to be the most accurate checklist of confirmed subjects that have premiums in each set.

It is worth noting that many Cubs checklists state that Bobby Smith and John Schulte are part of the Cubs set. To date, however, I have not been able to verify them. And in at least one checklist I have seen, Smith is listed as a 1930 subject but his 1931 image is used. I have listed them below for now but have marked them with an asterisk.

Similarly, some checklists have referenced a total of 27 premiums in the White Sox set. However, that is the number of images shown on the poster and not necessarily the number of premiums. That number seems unlikely because some premiums exist of players not pictured on the poster. The verified number for this issue, to the best of my knowledge, is 24, after the new additions found in that aforementioned REA link. However, with new premiums still being found, a larger number is certainly possible – perhaps even probable.


  1. Clyde Beck
  2. Les Bell
  3. Clarence Blair
  4. Fred Blake
  5. Jimmy Burke
  6. Guy Bush
  7. Hal Carlson
  8. Kiki Cuyler
  9. Woody English
  10. Charlie Grimm
  11. Gabby Hartnett
  12. Cliff Heathcote
  13. Rogers Hornsby
  14. Pat Malone
  15. Joe McCarthy
  16. Malcolm Moss
  17. Lynn Nelson
  18. Bob Osborn
  19. Charlie Root
  20. Ray Schalk
  21. John Schulte*
  22. Al Shealy
  23. Bobby Smith*
  24. Riggs Stephenson
  25. Dan Taylor
  26. Zach Taylor
  27. Chuck Tolson
  28. Hack Wilson

White Sox

  1. Chick Autry
  2. Ted Blankenship
  3. Donie Bush
  4. Pat Caraway
  5. Bill Cissell
  6. Bud Clancy
  7. Red Faber
  8. Dave Harris
  9. Dutch Henry
  10. Bill Hunnefield
  11. Ivan Jeffries
  12. Smead Jolley
  13. Willie Kamm
  14. Mike Kelly
  15. Joe Klinger
  16. Ted Lyons
  17. Hal McKain
  18. Alex Metzler
  19. Jim Moore
  20. Carl Reynolds
  21. John Riddle
  22. Art Shires
  23. Tommy Thomas
  24. Johnny Watwood

Cubs/White Sox Announcer

  1. Hal Totten

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