‘Average Joe’ Baseball Cards are Buried in the 1925 Dominion Chocolate Set
The popular multi-sport Canadian set is home to two obscure baseball players
The 1925 Dominion Chocolate Athletic Stars set has a little bit of everything. It’s one of several multi-sport issues in the pre-war era and is one of the more popular ones, despite being a Canadian issue.
The set is not as popular as the similar 1924 Willards Chocolate set that boasted cards of American players such as Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. But it does have quite a range of athletes, including some hockey legends and the famous Edmonton Grads women’s basketball team.
Buried in the set are two baseball cards that barely get noticed.
For years, the only baseball card attributed to the set was one for a player named Joe Spring. If you’re looking for Spring on Baseball-Reference, let me save you the trouble — he isn’t there.
Spring never played major league baseball. Rather, he was a star on a a famous amateur team called the Toronto Oslers. The Oslers eventually turned into a semi-pro squad. Spring didn’t make the big leagues and later worked for a sporting goods store.
He is pictured in his Oslers uniform and the back mentions his ability in a brief bio. Spring, like others in the set, played more than one sport. In addition to baseball, he is credited as a rugby player.
This type of thing is found in other sets, too. For example, the rare 1938 Gallaher Island Sporting Personalities set includes numerous athletes that are cited as playing several sports.
But while Spring is often called the only baseball player in the set, that isn’t true. Another Oslers player is buried in the set named Joe Breen.
Breen is easy to miss. His first sport on the back is listed as rugby and football/rugby is what he’s known for. He starred in football and is even inducted in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. But Breen was every bit the baseball player Spring was, also suiting up for the Oslers. The back of his card also references him as a baseball player and, more importantly, he is actually pictured wearing a baseball jersey.
Unlike Spring, Breen isn’t sporting an Oslers jersey, though. Instead the jersey is from a team for Hillcrest, a Toronto neighborhood. According to the folks from the At the Plate website, Breen played for Hillcrest in 1923.
You might notice the Spring and Breen cards pictured here are a little different. All Dominion Chocolate cards were printed with coupons on the bottom. But many, as in the case of my Breen shown here, were cut off to be redeemed for an unknown prize. Cards with the coupon intact are, of course, worth more.
The two cards in the set don’t represent star American players. But both were excellent athletes from Canada and are two of the players that make this such as interesting release.