Beyond Ruth, Gehrig, Lajoie: Other Gems in the 1933 Goudey Set
There are seven keys in the 1933 Goudey set but other gems are there, too
The 1933 Goudey set is known for any number of things. But in terms of actual cards, seven of them for three players stand out among the rest.
At the top of the mountain is the rare shortprint of Nap Lajoie. After that are four cards of the legendary Babe Ruth. Finally, there are two Lou Gehrig cards.
Honestly, beyond those seven cards, the rest of the set is pretty manageable with some time. The cost of the Ruth cards has sort of gotten out of control and has made building a full set minus the Lajoie difficult. But other than those guys, the other 233 cards are really not too bad. Really, it’s the sheer volume of cards more than anything that makes it tough. None of the other 233 are wildly expensive in lesser condition.
Still, there are some hidden gems there beyond those seven cards that make the set special. Here’s a look at some of them.
All of Those Other Hall of Famers
Ruth, Gehrig, and Lajoie are three big names, obviously. But the set is so mammoth and contains so many other Hall of Famers.
Like other sets, some of those guys show up more than once. For example, there are two cards of Mel Ott. There are also two cards of Jimmie Foxx. The legendary Rogers Hornsby does, too, as do others. Those sorts of things drive the price for set completion up but they also make it a very special release.
Then there are a slew of other big names like Mickey Cochrane, Dizzy Dean, Lefty Grove, Hack Wilson, and so many more.
None of the values for those cards reach the heights of the cards for Ruth and Gehrig, obviously. But when you’ve got such a large set with about 1/4 of the cards consisting of Hall of Famers, it’s very special.
One of the keys after those seven cards is a card of Moe Berg.
Berg was nothing special as a player. He was good enough to last 15 years in the majors bur never made an all-star team, was a career .243 hitter, and mostly relegated to backup duty. Of his 15 seasons, he only played in at least 50 games four times.
Now the image of Berg on his card is a pretty nice one. But it’s not that or his playing career that makes his card special. This card, like other Berg cards, is desirable because of his post-baseball career.
After his baseball career ended, Berg became a spy for the U.S. government. This unique career path has made his cards extremely desirable. He would otherwise be a common in the set but, even in low-grade condition, it’s a hard card to find for under $250.
In a set so large, Goudey had to pull out a few surprises to keep things interesting and keep the strength of the checklist up. One way they did that was, as mentioned, include more than one card of, many players. Another way was to slip in a few retired players.
The most notable card of a retired player, obviously, is the shortprinted Lajoie. But some others are there, too.
One is a card for Hall of Famer Tris Speaker. Speaker had actually retired after the 1928 season, five years before this set was released. Another card was printed for a different Hall of Famer in Eddie Collins. Collins is pictured with his last team, the Philadelphia Athletics. But the back of his card talked about then being the vice president and business manager for the Boston Red Sox.
Here’s a closer look on the retired players in the set.
A Single Known Error/Correction
While 240 is the number typically associated with the amount of cards in the set, that’s not entirely true. Granted, you won’t find a No. 241 card in the issue but there actually 241 different cards.
Card No. 6 features Jimmy Dykes. Dykes is kind of an underappreciated player. He was a two-time all-star, a career .280 hitter, and won two World Series. He lasted in the majors for 22 years, playing with the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox. In his first World Series appearance in 1929 with the Athletics, he led the team with a .421 batting average, topping even Hall of Famers Mickey Cochrane (.400), Jimmie Foxx (.350), and Al Simmons (.300) in that category. Dykes is not a Hall of Famer by hardly anyone’s definition of the word but was a very good player.
Dykes is the only known player in the set to have a card with an error and also a correction. While other cards may have errors, Dykes’ card is unique in that Goudey corrected the mistake.
On some cards, he is incorrectly identified as being 26 years old. However, on others, his correct age of 36 is given.
Here’s more on the Dykes cards.
Many collectors would be surprised to know that the set includes minor league players as well.
It isn’t surprising, necessarily, that minor leaguers were included in a mostly major league set. That occurred in other sets, including T205 and T206. The minor leaguers in T205 even got their own design.
But while the minor leaguers in those sets are often discussed, they are less talked about in the 1933 Goudey set.
Most of the minor leaguers are not big names and the players did not have Hall of Fame careers. But one minor leauger in a sense was the aforementioned Tris Speaker. Speaker is included in the set and is mentioned as a part owner of the Kansas City Blues. That is the team name actually listed on his card on the back above his biography.
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