Uncommon commons: In more than 30 years in sportscards publishing I have thrown hundreds of notes into files about the players – usually non-star players – who made up the majority of the baseball and football cards I collected as a kid. Today, I keep adding to those files as I peruse microfilms of The Sporting News from the 1880s through the 1960s. I found these tidbits brought some life to the player pictures on those cards. I figure that if I enjoyed them, you might too.
As a collector, you have to wonder what became of the baseball memorabilia collection of former shortstop Dick Bartell, who played 18 years in the major leagues between 1927-46.
In the Jan. 30, 1941, issue of The Sporting News, an un-bylined article ran under the headline, “Bartell’s B.B. Museum”.
It’s reproduced here in its entirely.
SAN FRANCISCO, Cal.—Next to the reliquary at Cooperstown, N.Y., Dick Bartell, shortstop of the Detroit Tigers, is believed to have the most varied museum of baseball trophies at his home in Alameda.
The Bartell household is equipped with a private den for Dick and a rumpus room in the basement for guests. The walls and shelves are adorned with a collection of autographed pictures of big leaguers, bats that won World’s Series and baseballs that made many historical outs. He even has sound movies of critical series in the majors to entertain guests. Bartell saves everything, like a fussy housewife who collects pins and bits of string, and as a result, if he were commercial-minded, he could turn his home into a museum and charge the public 25 cents admission.
Instead Dick takes pride in showing his souvenirs and frequently entertains his friends and visiting notables there.
Fred Stein has authored a comprehensive baseball biography of Bartell for the SABR biography project. You can find it at . . .http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/0d787b12 .