1907 Cracker Jack Bears Postcard Predates Other Baseball Cards
An early 1900s postcard may be the first baseball issue created by Cracker Jack
When most collectors talk about Cracker Jack baseball cards, they typically refer to the sets of major leaguers with the bright red backgrounds that were created first in 1914 and then in 1915. I recently wrote about the rarity of those two sets and they remain some of the most popular baseball cards of all time.
That said, if you’re looking for the first baseball card of any kind released by Cracker Jack, those aren’t it.
In 1907, Cracker Jack distributed a set of postcards called the Cracker Jack Bears. B.E. Moreland is credited as the artist for the set. The cards are mostly of a non-sports variety featuring the ‘Cracker Jack Bears’ as anthropomorphic beings doing a variety of things. However, a baseball card actually found its way into the set. I am not positive that this is the very first Cracker Jack baseball card, per se. But I have not seen an earlier one to date and it definitely predates the cards of major leaguers that were issued in the following decade.
The baseball card, shown here, features a batter and catcher, along with a short poem.
We’re a great success upon the field
And with effect the bat can wield
But playing ball grows rather slack
When we can eat good Cracker Jack
The set has a total of 16 cards and the baseball card is No. 12. As indicated on the backs, a complete set was sent to anyone in exchange for the sides off of ten Cracker Jack packages. A set could also be purchased for ten cents in silver or stamps along with the side of one Cracker Jack package.
Notably, backs also have the name Rueckheim Bros. and Eckstein printed on them. That was actually the current name of the company making the product before the Cracker Jack name was officially adopted in 1922.
Today, these cards are pretty affordable, generally starting around $20 in low-grade condition.