View Full Version : Homemade Vintage Cards - Intersting Obits

02-01-2013, 03:52 AM
Of the 500+ cards in the set, 14 indicated the player's death on the back, and of those, these four stood out. This set has been an immersion course in baseball history. I've learned so much in the last week from the ~50 odd player cards I've researched so far. This is going to be a year-long personal project.

Please share any stories, history, factoids, links so I can learn more about these players !!


Bill Donovan
William "Wild Bill" Edward Donovan
“Killed in train wreck Dec 1922”
Lengthy bio on SABR (http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/55c38ae8)

Ray Chapman
Raymond Johnson Chapman
“Killed by a pitched ball in the summer of 1920. Ball pitched by Carl May of the New York Club”
Great biographical article in the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/sports/year_in_sports/08.17.html), another in SABR (http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/c2ed02f9)

Walt Lerian
Walter "Peck" Irvin Lerian
“Killed by accident after the season of 1929”
Bio on SABR (http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/2ac96f45)

Tony Boeckel
Norman Doxie Boeckel
“Killed in automobile accident in February 1924”
The first active major leaguer to die in an automobile accident
Baseball Reference (http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Tony_Boeckel) Bio, NY Times (http://www.thedeadballera.com/Obits/Obits_B/Boeckel.Tony.Obit.html) Obit

02-01-2013, 09:58 AM
Those are so cool. Maybe I missed it earlier, but could you share with us the story of how you found these cards?

I Only Smoke 4 the Cards
02-01-2013, 09:12 PM
Those are so cool. Maybe I missed it earlier, but could you share with us the story of how you found these cards?

I am interested to hear this story too!

02-01-2013, 09:21 PM
Sounds very interesting. You mentioned scanning some of them, but I have been unable to locate any of the scans. Could you please point us to them? Thanks.

02-02-2013, 12:57 AM
Lets see if I did this correctly -- here is the link to a DropBox (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tc1vao89uly9spd/lGjk-6zKHB) folder with the card scans.

02-02-2013, 09:48 AM
Hi Paula-

Welcome to the board !!

These cards are very interesting. It sounds like a great research project. I have the same question as the others~ where did these come from? I'd love to hear the story of the find of these homemade cards. Please tell us :)

Sincerely, Clayton

02-02-2013, 11:40 AM
These homemade cards are neat. I wonder if these pictures were from the Spalding Guides? I have a set of homemade cards of the Greenville minor league team, date unknown, maybe the twenties. These are really tiny, much smaller than yours, and they were all made to fit into this vintage Big League matchstick box.

02-02-2013, 05:43 PM
Neat, your matchbox cards look to be about the same sizes as mine – which measure approximately 1 1/4” x 2”. I had wondered why this collector made ‘em so small, and now it all makes sense.


The "story" of how I acquired the cards....
I found these cards at a neighbor’s estate sale. Her grandparents lived in the house since it was built, sometime in the late 1930s. Her grandmother passed away last year just weeks after celebrating her 100th birthday. From its lovely, Spanish Revival exterior, you’d never know the house would be filled with thousands of antique dolls. The dolls were stored in every room in giant display cabinets and many were staged throughout the house having mock-team parties, and in other scenes. Our new neighbor felt uncomfortable being in the house with thousands of eyes always upon her, so she held an estate sale to get rid of the dolls, antique furniture, and mismatched china. I happened to spot a dusty old shoebox stacked between dozens of worn out dress shoes, this one caught my attention because the words “Robbins, Giants and Yankees” were scribbled on the side of the box. As I peered into the box, my neighbor explained that her grandfather was born in upper Brooklyn and would tell her stories from his youth, sneaking into Ebbets Field to watch ballgames. He grew up in a large family on a rather modest income, so he and his brothers made their own baseball cards. She figured the handmade cards were worthless, yellowing from the glue used to attach player photos (cut out rather haphazardly from the newspaper) to the scrap cardboard, with player names and notes scribbled in a child’s hand. She gave me the box of cards in exchange for helping her with the estate sale. I WISH it were that interesting, but that’s really not how it came to be. So now, "the rest of the story…."

While the neighbor who inherited her grandmother’s house full of dolls is true, there were no baseball cards to be found at the estate sale. I found the cards listed on ETSY (listing) (http://www.etsy.com/listing/67988984/folk-art-vintage-home-made-baseball)of all places, while I was searching for “homemade baseball cards” last year. You see, I’ve always wanted to create my own set of baseball cards and was looking to see if anyone else did this sort of thing. I was intrigued with this set, but the original listing had the collection priced at $999. Months later, I looked at the listing again, the price had been reduced to $450. I contacted the seller in late October to gauge how low she was willing to negotiate for the cards. She was based on the east coast and asked to postpone our negotiations until after Sandy had passed. She was without power, and didn’t get back to me several weeks later. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, I didn’t get think about the cards again until a few weeks ago and saw the price had dropped again, this time down to $399. I offered her a much lower-bid , she accepted and voila, I bought the cards which arrived here last week. Not very interesting, but that's how it went down. I expect I"ll be busy playing with this set for some time to come, and won't get to my original project to create my OWN set of cards for a while. But I love the cards, and all the interesting biographical stories I've read in the last week. I am hooked !

02-02-2013, 09:46 PM
I got to say these are some of the neatest things I've ever seen! When I was a kid I always dreamed of making my own cards of the players I wanted instead of buying what a company put out. This kid did just that and I really like the home-made quaintness of them.

02-03-2013, 02:43 AM

You should make some cards. Bob Lemke makes cards and there is a guy on ebay who sells his homemade cards for good prices, especially cards of players who did not have many regular issues......


02-03-2013, 03:11 AM
Great story and great cards !! Thanks Paula.

They're like pre war baseball folk art, very cool. I also agree that you should go for it and make some cards yourself. Sounds like a fun project, and it sounds like you are enjoying the research. Thanks for posting !! :)

Sincerely, Clayton