Friday, March 27, 2009

Card Spotlight: 3-27-09

1955 Bowman #213 - George Kell

While George Kell is most associated with the Detroit Tigers, he was with the Chicago White Sox for parts of three seasons. May 23, 1954 was the date that he was traded from Boston. May 21, 1956, George was traded from the White Sox to Baltimore. In between, he was selected to one All-Star game, but did not play due to injury.

There are very few cards that show George Kell in a White Sox uniform. In fact, there are only three vintage cards that fit the criteria. 1955 Bowman, 1955 Red Man and 1956 Topps. The 1955 Bowman and the 1956 Topps are fairly common, but the 1955 Red Man is a later variation that came out after the trade to Chicago.

Each card is beautiful in its own way. The 1955 Bowman is unique because of the design. The fake television set design is instantly recognizable. This was also the last Bowman set during the golden age of baseball cards. Topps bought out its competitor in January 1956.

Bowman may be a recognizable brand in today's market, but the history is not one that every collector knows. Bowman was in danger of becoming a forgotten fringe set until Topps resurrected the brand in 1989. It's true that Topps turned Bowman into something unrecognizable. The recent sets have put an emphasis on rookie cards and draft picks. That's fine in its own right, but it doesn't resemble anything of the original product.

I can appreciate George Kell's 1955 Bowman card because it's the type of card that we will never see from Bowman again. I can imagine kids being blown away by the television design aspect in 1955. Television was still a newer medium and it was what every child wanted in their home. Bowman capitalized on that and became an immediate threat to Topps.

The designs that were in place for the 1956 set was later used in the 2003 Bowman Heritage set. The collector of today will recognize this as the knothole set. The knothole was one of the three prototypes that have seen the light of day.

With George Kell's passing this week, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for a history lesson using George as the subject. Rest in peace, George.

1 comment:

shoeboxlegends said...

It's a shame what Topps has done to Bowman...

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