With New Additions to 1938 Sawyer Biscuit Checklist, What Others Could Appear?
Since several 1938 Sawyer Biscuit photos have been discovered in recent years, there are some candidates that could still be out there
The checklist for the 1938 Sawyer Biscuit cabinet photos set is hardly well-defined. Sure, we’ve got a pretty good idea of who’s in this unique set of Chicago Cubs and White Sox personalities. The release consisted of photographs that were mounted into red frames and offered as a promotion for Sawyer Butter Cookies products. Notably, the set has seen some recent discoveries.
For example, Cubs pitcher Roy Johnson was just discovered a few years ago. Earlier this year, Sugar Cain, Newell Kimball, and Red Corriden were found. And while her photo has not yet surfaced, radio personality Babs Gillen should have one as well. In other words, this is still a set we’re learning about more than 80 years later.
These previous checklist omissions got me thinking — could anyone else be in the set?
From simply a balancing perspective, the answer to that could be yes. Currently, there are 23 White Sox photos as opposed to 27 for the Cubs. I’m not necessarily convinced the number for the two teams would be entirely equal. But there are some figures that could have been issued that are not currently checklisted.
Before I get started, one thing we can adequately say is that how many games a player appeared in during the year of this issue is irrelevant. We know that because pitcher Newell Kimball is in the set and he played in a grand total of one game with the Cubs in 1938. If he’s in, anybody could be in.
The second assumption here is that anyone on the Cubs and White Sox could have theoretically been available. Pay close attention to that latter word, ‘available.’ Consumers got to pick which player they wanted and it is entirely possible that anyone was able to be selected. But it is also possible that some players may never have been chosen, too. That’s similar to the Babs Gillen situation. Sawyer said that she was available but it is possible, I suppose, that no one requested her photo. Thus, it may have never been distributed.
That said, here are some somewhat notable players that have not been discovered to date.
According to Baseball-Reference, the Cubs had only two pitchers that saw action in 1938 that were not in the set. One, Kirby Higbe, was not notable, getting only two starts. Vance Page, however, saw more action.
Page’s photo has not been found in the set but it is hard to imagine he wasn’t in it. He pitched in a total of 13 games, more than Kimball and Al Epperly, who are both in the set. He was even pretty decent, going 5-4 with a 3.84 ERA with nine starts.
It’s possible he was not in the set since he was a 32-year-old rookie in 1938 but he would go on to pitch in four big league seasons and could certainly have been issued based on the timing of the release and when he pitched those games.
Another reason to think Page is in the set? He is found in the Cubs’ 1939 team-issued photo set and Cubs team photos were largely or entirely used for the Sawyer Biscuit set. For example, Corriden’s recently discovered Sawyer Biscuit photo is the same image found in the 1939 Cubs team set. Shown here is Page’s 1939 team photo and, if he were found in the set, I would suspect this is the picture that would have been used.
Three position players for the Cubs are not known to be in the set. Shortstops Steve Mesner and Bobby Mattick saw action in only three combined games. But outfielder Coaker Triplett was used a bit more, playing in a dozen.
Triplett was obviously not a star but he had a respectable .250 batting average in 36 at bats and three of his nine at bats were extra base hits.
Interestingly he was also a rookie. Thus, it’s possible that was the reason for his exclusion. But if you’re looking for the most likely position player to be there for the Cubs, it’d probably be him.
One other note here is that, like Page, Mattick is found in the 1939 Cubs team photo set as well. I am unsure if the same can be said of Triplett or Mesner.
While the Cubs only have a few players from the entire roster that don’t appear in the current checklist, the White Sox have many more.
The biggest name by a wide margin is Rip Radcliff.
Radcliff was a starting outfielder for the team and his lack of inclusion simply doesn’t make any sense. If there’s one player that I would expect to see surface in future years, it’d be him.
Radcliff played in a total of 129 games, batting a team-best .330. If he truly is not in the set, there would appear to be a disagreement between him and the company because he was clearly one of the White Sox premier players.
Like some others on this list, Meyer was only a rookie in 1938. But he played in enough contests that his inclusion could be possible, depending on when the set was issued.
Meyer played in a total of 24 games as a backup second baseman. Better still, he was quite good, hitting .296 in that role while averaging a hit per game.
He wasn’t needed too much with veterans Jackie Hayes and Jimmy Dykes ahead of him at the position. But when he got a chance to play, he was an adequate replacement.
Connors was one of two primary backup first basemen on the team that spelled starter Joe Kuhel.
Connors saw action in 24 games just like Myers and, also like Myers, he was an excellent hitter. In fact, his .355 batting average was technically best on the entire team counting players with at least ten at bats. His 62 at bats, however, wouldn’t have been enough to qualify him for any kind of a batting title.
If we’re looking for potential White Sox to fill out the checklist, he could have been one that was included as well.