Major League Rookie Card of Chick Gandil Highlights the E90-3 American Caramel Set

The rookie card of Black Sox ‘middleman’ Chick Gandil is the key to American Caramel’s E90-3 release

Chick Gandil was one of eight players effectively banned from major league baseball after involvement to help fix the 1919 World Series. That historical landmark has only created a surge of demand for the cards of the players and, as a result, cards of Gandil are quite desirable. Gandil, in particular, was a key figure in the scandal. He was viewed as the middleman between gamblers paying the players and had a very large profile in the grand scheme of things.

While Gandil is found in a good number of sets, arguably his top card is his E90-3 American Caramel.

While not likely intentional, each of American Caramel’s 1909-11 cards designated as E90 have a key card. In E90-1, it’s the major league rookie card of Shoeless Joe Jackson. E90-2, a Pittsburgh Pirates team set, has the Honus Wagner card. And while there are some other stars in the E90-3 set, which featured only White Sox and Cubs players, it’s the Gandil card that is the clear standout.

Gandil is found earlier on baseball cards. Notably, he is in the 1909 Obak minor league set, for example. That card, however, is more like a pre-rookie because Gandil did not begin playing in the majors until 1910.

I’ve got both Gandil’s Obak and his E90-3 cards. Both are very tough cards (PSA has graded fewer than 15 of each to date) but I’d say the Obak is probably seen less. However, of the two, it is difficult to deny the overarching appeal of Gandil’s E90-3 card.

That issue has a wonderful sky blue background and has Gandil in a terrific fielding pose. But even beyond the aesthetics, one thing I love about it that it depicts him as a member of the White Sox. That is unique because, while Gandil began his career with Chicago, he played only about half a season there, appearing in 77 games in 1910. His .193 batting average certainly didn’t impress so he spent 1911 and part of 1912 in the minors before heading to the Washington Senators. He stayed there through 1915 then suited up for Cleveland in 1916. Only in 1917 did he return to the White Sox to take part in the 1919 scandal. So seeing him pictured as a member of the White Sox as a rookie just is a bit more special to me than his minor league Obak card.

It should be noted that Gandil’s T206 card is also considered a rookie issue. That card features Gandil in a classic baseball sweater and, aesthetically, I think it has even more appeal than his E90-3 issue. It’s just a fantastic looking card. But aside from extremely rare backs, it’s also much more common, unfortunately, and not anywhere in the same ballpark in terms of price or rarity.

Outside of beater territory, low-grade E90-3 Gandil cards typically start around $900-1,000.

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