Saturday, January 26, 2013

Red Sox changed pix pack lineup mid-1950

One of my challenges as a cataloger with the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards for 20+ years was sorting out the contents of souvenir picture packs issued by many teams from the 1920s through the 1970s.

Many teams issued these picture packs early in the season and then updated them from time to time as players came and went. 

One prolific issuer of these picture packs in the 1940s and 1950s was the Boston Red Sox.

Massachusetts collector Bill Atkinson, who was a valued contributor to the Standard Catalog, recently forwarded information and photocopies on an updated version of the 1950 Red Sox picture pack.

Bill has two complete versions of that year's issue. Both are in the 6-1/2" x 9-1/4" format. Twenty of the 25 players and staff were the same in both sets, but five different pictures were exclusive to one or the other.

The five updated pictures are not included in that set's listing in the SCBC and are recorded here for the first time. 

Bill speculates that the first version of the picture pack was issued to coincide with the start of the 1950 season.

The five pictures in that set that were later replaced are:

  • Manager Joe McCarthy, replaced as skipper after the June 18 game.
  • Earl Johnson, pitcher, was sent down to minors after June 30 game
  • Ken Keltner, infielder, signed as free agent April 18, released June 6
  • Al Papai, pitcher, waived to St. Louis Cardinals, July 5
  • Charley Schanz, pitcher, waived to St. Louis Browns, July 5.


The five pictures that were added to the updated picture pack were:

  • Manager Steve O'Neill, took over June 20
  • Dick Littlefield, pitcher, debuted July 7
  • Willard Nixon, pitcher, also debuted July 7
  • Clyde Vollmer, outfielder, traded by Senators, May 8
  • George Susce, coach


Looking at the timing of the roster changes, it would seem the changeover came about the time of the All-Star break. It's also possible, though less likely, that the new pictures replaced the old in dribs and drabs over the course of the season.

The hobby owes Bill a tip of the cap for making this addition to the information base.

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