Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another alternate Indians picture pack. 1949?

On May 23 we presented a 1950 Cleveland Indians picture pack that differed from the long-cataloged picture pack in that instead of "facsimile autographs" the players were identified by a relatively thcik black or white script name.

The pictures otherwise followed the format used by the Tribe for its souvenir picture packs between 1947-1956. The pictures are blank-backed, 6-1/2" x 9" with players represented in either portrait or posed action photos.

We now learn, from veteran vintage collector and Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards contributor Rhett Yeakley that this type of alternative photo pack was also issued earlier, probably in 1949.

That dating is empirically based on the player photos in his possession. Yeakley has 15 pictures of what would typically be 25-30 in a contemporary Indians' picture pack. His line-up is:

  • Gene Bearden
  • Ray Boone
  • Lou Boudreau
  • Allie Clark
  • Bob Feller
  • Mike Garcia
  • Joe Gordon
  • Steve Gromek
  • Jim Hegan
  • Dale Mitchell
  • Frank Papish
  • Satchel Paige
  • Thurman Tucker
  • Mickey Vernon
  • Sam Zoldak
Papish and Vernon were not with the Indians in 1948, so if this group represents a single issue -- and differences in picture stock on some of the players make that a big "if" -- the date of issue narrows to 1949.

Yeakley notes that two of his pictures are on paper stock that it thinner and not textured, whereas the other 13 pix are on the thicker, textured paper associated with many of the Indians' other photo pack efforts in the 1940s and 1950s. The two outliers are Mike Garcia and Ray Boone.

Yeakley also notes that the picture of Gene Bearden in this "set" is a portrait, while the Bearden photo that was pictured in our article about the 1950 set was an action pose.

Since it is likely that the pictures in Yeakley's possession share at least some of their poses with the earlier-identified 1950 set it will be hard to pin down a checklist for a specific 1949 sisue unless a complete-with-envelope set is brought to our attention. It is, however, good to know that the Cleveland "wide pen" team-issued photo packs were more than a one-year phenomenon.

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