W515 Strip Cards Memorialized the “Tygers”
Turns out that a weird spelling for the Detroit Tigers isn’t a typo
The legendary Ty Cobb has a lot of great looking baseball cards. Unfortunately, he’s got some pretty rotten ones, too.
Those include his W515 strip card. Now, lots of strip cards look awful but the W515 card of The Georgia Peach takes things a step further. Cobb looks a lot less mythical and a lot more ‘Get off my lawn’ old man.
One of the weird things I’d noticed before was that Cobb’s W515 card listed his team as the Detroit ‘Tygers.’ That’s often assumed to be a typo and, not knowing any better, that was my assumption, too.
In reality, though, it was a play on words and, more notably, a nickname given to the Tigers when Cobb was the team’s player/manager, according to this article that a reader pointed out to me. The Tygers name, of course, was not the official name of the team. Rather, just one they became to be known by as a nickname because of Ty managing them.
The W515 set is one of those I’m passively working on. I’ll pick them up when I find them cheap enough, but it’s not a high priority for me. I took a stroll through mine and noticed that teammate Harry Heilmann, another Detroit Tiger in the set, also has the Tygers spelling. Heilmann is the only other Tigers player in the set, actually.
How long did the Tygers name last? Well, that aforementioned link says the Tigers were known as the Tygers while Cobb was the manager — that was from 1921 through 1926.
That got me to wondering how many other cards have the Tygers name. Unfortunately, many of the cards I looked up during that stretch simply referred to the Tigers as the Detroit Americans since, back then, that was how a lot of teams were listed on cards — Americans for American League teams and Nationals for National League teams. Others in that era, like the E120 American Caramel set from 1922, used the more formal Tigers name on the back.
Other Tygers cards could certainly exist but in my brief searches, I didn’t stumble upon any others, only seeing the reference on photographs. I’ll have to do more digging but, if nothing else, these appear to be, at most, among the few references to the Tygers found on baseball cards during that span.
Pretty unique fact about a team and the W515 strip cards from the pre-war era.