1926 / 1936 Babe Ruth’s Baseball Game Cards Set and Checklist

It’s In The Details’

Title Babe Ruth’s Baseball Game Cards
Year 1926 / 1936
Size 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Images Black and White
Type Game Cards
Number in Set
85

Babe Ruth’s Baseball Game Cards Overview

These cards were part of a game produced by Milton Bradley with it often cited as a 1926 or 1936 issue featuring the legendary Babe Ruth.

As you would expect, Ruth headlined his fair share of promotional products. One was a later Babe Ruth game produced in the 1940s by the Toy Town Corporation. That is interesting from a collector standpoint because baseball cards with Toy Town stamps on them have been a subject of confusion in the past.

The game included a playing board and 12 wooden pieces (six red and six blue) to serve as de facto baserunners. Obviously, not that many would have been needed as only three baserunners would have been required at the most. Likely, they were simply extras in case some pieces went missing. 85 cards were included with the board game and were used to dictate play.

 

Box and Variation

Babe Ruth Milton Bradley Baseball Game.jpg

The box is still a collector’s item to this day. It features the ‘Babe Ruth’s Baseball Game’ name in large red letters at the top as well as a large cartoon drawing of a batter and catcher.

A real picture of Ruth himself was also included as was his replica signature. Ruth’s signature was actually scattered all over the box on the sides. On the long side panel, it inexplicably has the print with Ruth’s signature “My own authorized Baseball Game.” The box also indicates that the game was made in the U.S. by arrangement with the Christy Walsh Syndicate and also has the Milton Bradley name on it, identifying the popular game company by name.

Instructions and a box score that could be used by the game’s players was printed on the inside of the box lid. A cartoon baseball field was printed on the inside of the bottom of the box. The box was in stark contrast to the cards. While the box was colorful, the cards had simple black-font type printed on them with specific actions to dictate the game play.

Of note here is that there are actually two variations of the box. The more common one is pictured here on this page but a second version exists as well as seen at this REA link. That version is significantly rarer with only a few known copies. Instead of a batter and catcher, a sliding base runner is shown with an umpire. REA states that variant was a cover design changed early in the game’s process, which makes sense given its rarity. And this site claims it is a prototype from around 1929.

That is an interesting note as there are some dating discrepancies with this game as well.

Dating

This game has been cited as both a 1926 and a 1936 issue. Some sellers are also less certain on the date, calling it a 1920s or 1930s game.

While it is often called a 1936 game, there is reason to believe it could be older since Ruth’s affiliation with the company began before that. That is evident from a 1932 check endorsed by Ruth from the Milton Bradley Company that was auctioned in the spring of 2018 by SCP Auctions. The check was for Ruth’s ‘share of Milton Bradley Company” and was $64.77 and clearly shows he was involved with the company prior to that date.

Babe Ruth’s Baseball Game Cards Checklist

Because the cards feature only written actions, a checklist has not been provided.

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