Friday, April 8, 2011

Card Spotlight: 4-8-11

1948 Kellogg's Pep Celebrities - Orval Grove

It's always amazing to me to see White Sox cards from the forties. There's a five year period (1942 - 46) where there is no record of any White Sox card being released. At least this is my present knowledge. There may be White Sox card from this five year period out there, they just haven't been cataloged in the SCD (as recently as the 17th edition) or discovered by me yet.

Perhaps there is a WWII era regional set, yet to be discovered or a team issue that hasn't been properly identified. It's certainly a unique time frame to try to collect cards. Companies have tried to fill in those wartime gaps, but it's not quite the same. It's better than nothing though.

One of the most interesting periods for me, as a collector, is 1939 to 1951. Card issues were sporadic, mostly due to the war effort. Topps had two baseball related issues during this time (1948 & 1951), but both are not celebrated by the company. The last gasp of Goudey was during this time as was the Play Ball issue. Towards the end of that period, Bowman, Leaf and Topps would emerge. Baseball would have many regional food issue sets that would pop up. It is a frustrating era to document, but an exciting one.

Kellogg's even got into the act. In 1937, they came out with a series of Pep stamps. It wasn't until 1948 that they would try their hand at another baseball related set. Kellogg's came out with a set of Cuban baseball postcards in 1948, which were only issued in Cuba. In the United States, Kellogg's released a set of Pep Celebrities. These small cards had 18 athletes in the set, five of which are baseball players. All five baseball players are from teams in the Illinois and Michigan areas.

Orval Grove is an interesting choice. In 1948, he was in his ninth season with the White Sox, which would end up being his second to last. Grove was still pitching decently up to that point. His record suffered by being on average to below average teams. 1948 saw his ERA skyrocket and his season record would be 2-10. Orval saw his transition from starter to reliever complete in this season. At this time in baseball, being put in the bullpen usually meant that you couldn't cut it as a starter anymore.

It's nice to see a card from a set that isn't bombarded by Yankees, Dodgers or Giants from 1948. In fact, only the White Sox, Tigers and Cubs have baseball cards in the set. It's an enjoyable little artifact from an era in baseball cards that we are just now starting to appreciate.

1 comment:

Ryan G said...

The main reason there were no White Sox cards released for those five years was the war - everything ended up being used for the war effort, it seems. Only 36 known baseball card sets in total were issued those years, almost exclusively team issues or team sets released by local companies. It was a dead era for cards, not seen since the 1910s. Compare that to this year: the base series 1 Topps set itself is comprised of 51 sets.

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