1913 Tom Barker Game Set (WG6)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title WG6 Tom Barker Game Cards / Fenway Breweries Overprints
Year 1913 (overprinted later)
Size 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Images Black and White
Type Game Cards
Number in Set

1913 WG6 Tom Barker Overview

WG6 Barker GameThe 1913 WG6 Tom Barker Game set is a collection of 52 playing cards (plus an instructions card and score card). 43 are cards of specific players and the others are action shots from games. The game was developed by the National Baseball Playing Card Company, Inc. of Boston, Massachusetts.

The set was packaged in a standard playing card box with one of the action shots (running looking behind) on the front. Also in the set was an scorecard and rules sheet. Cost of the game was $.50.

Cards were similar to the WG5 National Game set in terms of look. The fronts had a similar look but the backs did have a slightly different design. The backs were also printed in red ink as the WG5 National Game cards were but the WG6 cards had a different design. The WG6 cards had a picture of a generic batter as well as the Tom Barker name printed on them.

The checklist of between the two sets is nearly identical as well. However, a few different players are substituted in each issue. That, subsequently, has helped to distinguish the two. As mentioned here, Hal Chase is included in both sets but has a New York card in the National Game set and a Chicago card in the Barker Game set. Chase was first with New York and then joined Chicago during the 1913 season. As a result, we can conclude that the National Game set was printed first.

I previously thought the Barker Game could have been produced in 1914 as many old newspapers referenced needing salesmen for it in that year. But 1913 newspaper advertisements show it was for sale as early as September of that year.

Unlike most other baseball games which typically geared their product to men/boys, Barker Game advertisements specifically targeted women and girls as well, mentioning that the game could be learned in only five minutes. This was somewhat unique as most advertisements for other games often specifically addressed a male audience.

Fenway Breweries Overprint

WG6 Barker Game Fenway BreweriesOne interesting development is that these cards were also used as a trade card of sorts by at least one company. The Fenway Breweries Company in Boston, Massachusetts used these same issues and had a unique overprint added to one of them. The fact that a Boston brewery used these specific cards is understandable because the game’s creator, the National Baseball Playing Card Company, Inc. (as mentioned above) was a Boston organization.

It isn’t clear how they used the cards but there is no mention of a promotion that they were inserted in certain products. Instead, the overprint is a basic ad for the company. Printed in red ink, the overprint reads:

“Fenway – The beer without a substitute”
Fenway Breweries Co., Boston, Mass.

To date, the overprint is only known on the Home Run Baker card and the scorecard. Why the Baker card was chosen is a mystery. It is one of the first cards in the set but not the first, if taken alphabetically – that distinction belongs to Cleveland Alexander. The lone link to Boston seems to be that Baker’s Athletics team played the Boston Braves in the 1914 World Series. A full set of the cards was apparently issued and even came in a display box. However, the only card known with the stamp is the Baker.

One interesting note is that Fenway Breweries Company apparently did not open for business until 1915. And according to this page, they operated until only 1918. So while this set was produced in 1913, the overprint was not likely added until at least two years later. The result is that even though the WG6 set is known as a 1913 issue, the Fenway Breweries overprinted cards could be considered by some to be technically a later card.

Two Ty Cobb Cards

Ty Cobb 1913 National Game CardMost players are featured only once in the set but the legendary Ty Cobb is seen twice.

Cobb’s most popular card would be his ‘base’ card, featuring a half portrait of him. But Cobb is also seen on one of the unnamed action cards as a sliding baserunner.

Cobb is not named but it is a picture of him. The card has increased in value over the years but is still not quite as valuable as Cobb’s primary card with a closeup of him and with his name printed on it.

This card has gained quite a bit of traction as one of Cobb’s more affordable cards.

WG6 Tom Barker Game Play

13TB 00 Rules Card.jpgThe game could be played with as many as eight people and required an even number of players. One person and their team (just one person if only two people are playing) would each receive six cards. Each player or team would play their six cards and record either strikes, foul balls, hits, sacrifices, steals, or home runs. Meanwhile, the opposing player or side would respond with one of their cards (reading, double play, triple play, caught stealing, out, one, two, or three).

For example, a player/team on offense could play a steals card to attempt to steal a base. The other player/team would need an ‘out’ or ‘caught stealing’ card to stop him from doing so.

The defense’s ‘one’, ‘two’, and ‘three’ cards are key here. If the player/team does not have an out card and cannot play a double or triple play card, they need to minimize the damage. So if the offensive/player team plays a ‘hit’ card, ideally the defense would want to play a ‘one’ to limit that batter to only one base in the event that they cannot record an out.

Additional six-card distributions would continue to be made until three outs were recorded. When three outs were recorded, the other player/team would then go to bat.

WG6 Tom Barker Game Checklist

  1. Grover Alexander
  2. Home Run Baker
  3. Chief Bender
  4. Bob Bescher
  5. Joe Birmingham
  6. Roger Bresnahan
  7. Nixey Callahan
  8. Bill Carrigan
  9. Frank Chance
  10. Hal Chase
  11. Fred Clarke
  12. Ty Cobb
  13. Sam Crawford
  14. Jake Daubert
  15. Red Dooin
  16. Johnny Evers
  17. Vean Gregg
  18. Clark Griffith
  19. Dick Hoblitzell
  20. Miller Huggins
  21. Joe Jackson
  22. Hughie Jennings
  23. Walter Johnson
  24. Ed Konetchy
  25. Nap Lajoie
  26. Connie Mack
  27. Rube Marquard
  28. Christy Mathewson
  29. John McGraw
  30. Chief Meyers
  31. Clyde Milan
  32. Marty O’Toole
  33. Nap Rucker
  34. Tris Speaker
  35. George Stallings
  36. Bill Sweeney
  37. Joe Tinker
  38. Honus Wagner
  39. Ed Walsh
  40. Zack Wheat
  41. Ivy Wingo
  42. Smoky Joe Wood
  43. Cy Young
  44. Batter Swinging, Looking Forward
  45. Batter Swinging, Looking Back
  46. Play at Home, Runner Standing
  47. Runner Looking Backwards
  48. Runner Sliding, Fielder at Bag
  49. Runner Sliding, Hugging Base
  50. Runner Sliding, Umpire Behind
  51. Sliding into Home, Umpire at Left
  52. Sliding into Home, Umpire at Right
  53. Rules Card
  54. Score Card

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