In the fall of 1934, an American baseball team headlined by Babe Ruth made a scheduled trip to Japan to play in a series of exhibitions. This wasn’t a weekend trip like it might be today. Back then, this was a month-long stay where the team toured Japan, playing a total of 18 games in various cities. The U.S. team was called the All Americans and they had a logo resembling the U.S. flag in the shape of a shield that was worn on their uniforms and accessories. You can see a picture of the Jimmie Foxx’s uniform (which was auctioned off) here.
Ruth was clearly the highlight but he was flanked by a team of Hall of Famers and stars. In addition to Ruth, the team featured eventual Cooperstown inductees Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Charlie Gehringer, and Earl Averill, among other big names. Moe Berg was also on the team, which was interesting as he would later become a U.S. spy.
As you would expect with such talent, the Americans weren’t really challenged. The U.S. won every game, usually in blowouts. But to help promote the games, at least three baseball card sets were produced.
Termed today as JBR 48, this set included a total of 20 cards. Ten players were Americans and ten were Japanese players.
Any card is desirable, obviously, as these cards are not easy to find. But the release was highlighted by Ruth, Foxx, Gomez, and Connie Mack, who accompanied the team on the trip. Mack’s card was slightly unique as others featured players in uniforms and his pictured him in a suit.
JBR 72 Babe Ruth Bromides
This issue is called the Babe Ruth Bromides. It includes a total of eight cards, which are approximately the size of a postcard. The cards are sepia (as opposed to the JBR 48 issue, which was black and white) and each one features Ruth.