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  #1  
Old 11-02-2008, 05:37 AM
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Default MLB HOF RC ... Is it possible?

Posted By: Dan Paradis

I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this collection. Early on I realized to get a true MLB RC collection would not be likely. Mostly because of the high prices the e107's were getting.

However, I've actually been thinking that it is possible now. e107's have come way down, even Bottomley's Maple Crispette has come way down.

If you define a players RC as the 1st card for the player (not including team cards), is completing this collection possible (for me pre-war cards are usually low grade, I look for a nice image on the front and not to worried about the back)?

NOTE: I don't want to turn this thread into "what defines a players true RC"!!! Let's assume for this discussion it is their 1st card as an MLB player.
Also, I am not including managers, negro league players and pioneer's in my collection, just MLB players!

What players cards would make this impossible (or not likely)??

I can think of one off the top of my head. Cy Young's 1893 Just So Tobacco. Isn't there just one of these cards known to exist?

What about the Sporting Life Cabinets? I hardly ever see these for sale. i.e. I thought I had Ty Cobb's RC until I saw on VCP that there is a Sporting Life Cabinet card for him. There were no sales documented.

I've only been at this for a couple of years, so I'm interested in the experts opinions/advice.

Dan

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  #2  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:21 AM
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Posted By: Jeff Lichtman

Dan, I suppose your endeavor is somewhat subjective anyway; after all, who even can say with real certainty what Cobb's rookie card is?

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  #3  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:28 AM
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Posted By: Dan Paradis

Jeff, I guess what I am asking is: Let's assume (for this discussion) that RC's are a players 1st MLB card (any type of card).
Given that, how possible is it to get certain players 1st year cards?

For example:
Cy Young: 1893 Just So Tobacco, only 1 known to exist.
Ty Cobb: 1902 W600, how many exist?

Are you saying that there may be other cards not documented (or discovered) or that in some cases we are
not really sure what year the card was issued? For example, were the W600's really issued in 1902 (before e107's)?

Thanks.
Dan

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  #4  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:35 AM
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Default MLB HOF RC ... Is it possible?

Posted By: Joe D.

"who even can say with real certainty what Cobb's rookie card is?"

Jeff.....

here you go... the search is over.... cobb's rookie



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  #5  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:37 AM
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Default MLB HOF RC ... Is it possible?

Posted By: barrysloate

If you're trying to put together a rookie Hall of Famer collection, you need to be flexible. For one, there is no universal agreement on what a player's first card is. Second, some are unique or nearly so, such as the Cy Young card.

My suggestion is to go after the earliest card that is affordable to you. Using the Cy Young example, even his second card, the E107, will set you back five figures, so you may need to go after a later example.

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  #6  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:41 AM
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Posted By: david

w600's were issued over a number of years. scott is the resident expert and can give you a better idea of the exact year of issue for the cobb and scarcity. while finding a single example as a type is relatively easy finding specific players can quite difficult and very expensive. i searched for many years to find a player i was looking for come up for sale.


there are a number of 'rookie cards' which a single example is known.

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  #7  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:43 AM
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Posted By: Phil Garry

Dan:

Great question!!! Obviously, eliminating Negro Leaguers & Pioneers makes the task much more possible but you could probably still include Managers as the only two really "impossible" Rookie Card would be Frank Selee's 1904 Allegheny & John McGraw's 1894 Alpha Photo Engraving. You didn't really specify Umpires or Executives so I assume that you are not including them either. If we stick to your criteria and do not include Minor League cards or unique cabinet cards or unique RPPC's, here would be your toughest stumbling blocks:

(3) - 1894 Alpha Photo Engraving (Jennings, Keeler & J. Kelley)
(2) - 1893 Just So Tobacco (C. Young & Burkett)
1927 Middy Bread Die-Cuts (Hafey)
(2) - 1948 Philadelphia Bulletin (Ashburn & R. Roberts)
1925 Universal Toy (H. Wilson)
(6) - 1886 N167 (Keefe, Welch, Connor, Ewing, Ward & O'Rourke)
(2) - 1946 Sears Cardinals P/C (Musial & Schoendienst)
1908 American Publishing P/C (Marquard)
1948 Safe-T-Card (Wynn)

So to answer your question "is it possible", I would say no but the fun is getting as close as you can!!!

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  #8  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:43 AM
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Posted By: Bruce Dorskind



Dan

To the best of our knowledge there is no known individual 19th century
card of the legendary pitcher Candy Cummings.

We believe he can be found on several team cabinet photographs.

The best source for identifying cabinet photos of Cummings is
Mark Rucker who has the premier baseball photography archive.
Believe it can be googled under Transcendental Graphics

Mark's company is based in Vancouver, British Columbia

Whilst we are 99% certain there is no card of Cummings, you might
also want to check with Barry Sloate and Rob Lifson of Robert
Edward Auctions.


By the way, about 65% of the Negro League players can be found
on Cuban sets or on real player post cards.


Good luck in your quest.

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  #9  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:47 AM
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Posted By: Zinn

The W600 Cobb cannot be 1902. He started his major league career in 1905. I'm pretty sure his "rookie" is the 1906 Sporting Life postcard.

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  #10  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:50 AM
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Posted By: Jeff Lichtman

Well, Don, keep in mind that Cobb's career started well after 1902; the W600s were issued from 1902 through 1911. Jerry Spillman wrote a great article in OC which helps narrow down the approximate dates in which each W600 was issued. Cobb's was not issued probably until 1907 at the earliest -- which allows for other of his cards to be viewed as his first. Joe's Wolverine I thought was issued in 1908 (along with the other Wolverine pose, below). There is also speculation that the W555s were issued around 1907 or 1908 (below). And what about the Dietche cards (below) and the HM Taylor card (below)? I guess the point is, without steering this thread into a discussion about Cobb's rookie card, is that so many of the HOFers could have multiple "first" cards -- though I agree that Cy Young, unfortunately, does not.

1907 Wolverine News PC 773-3 Batting

1907 W555

1907 AC Dietsche PC 765-1-1 Batting

1907 AC Dietsche PC 765-1-1 Fielding

1907-09 HM Taylor Postcard PC 773-2

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  #11  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:52 AM
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Posted By: Phil Garry

Scott, please correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the first year of issue for the W600 Cobb was 1907.

The 1906 Sporting Life P/C does not meet Dan's Rookie Card "definition" (no team cards) but here is what it looks like..........


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  #12  
Old 11-02-2008, 06:52 AM
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Posted By: Jeff Lichtman

Zinn, but isn't that a composite with the whole team?

Edited to add: Phil -- exactly!

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  #13  
Old 11-02-2008, 07:00 AM
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Posted By: Phil Garry

There actually is an alternative to the Just So Young. I have seen a Young individual cabinet card that SGC has encapsulated and dated to the early 1890's. The same holds true for Willie Keeler & a c1906 Eddie Collins as well.

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  #14  
Old 11-02-2008, 07:23 AM
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Posted By: Dan Paradis

Thanks everyone, this is exactly the type of information I'm looking for.

Using Cobb as an example, it is easy to find that his 1st year playing MLB was 1905.
What I didn't know is that the cabinet cards were issues over many years.
So I guess I could argue that my Cobb 07-09 Dietsche (card #3) is his RC.

However, I could not do the same for Cy Young. I have his 1904 Fan Craze.
It may be the best I can find/afford at this time, but I couldn't argue it is his RC.

I'm trying to update my spreadsheet to include the players "real RC" and estimated cost (even if it is impossible to find or very expensive).
I can't just look at the 1st year shown in VCP because it is not necessarily the year that particular player was on that brand of card.
Looking through 2008 SCD catalog would take forever to figure this out!

Phil, thanks for your response. I guess your book is the best starting point.

Dan

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  #15  
Old 11-02-2008, 07:27 AM
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Posted By: barrysloate

Bruce- there is in fact a CdV known of Candy Cummings, and one of our board's esteemed members owns it.

There is a large display of the 1873 Baltimore club that is comprised of a circle of CdVs attached to a large mount. Among the players are Candy Cummings and Lipman Pike.

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  #16  
Old 11-02-2008, 08:07 AM
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Posted By: Cat

The N167s are a big problem, unless you want to spend big dollars.

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Old 11-02-2008, 08:21 AM
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Posted By: Jodi Birkholm

This type of collection sounds like a combination of exhilaration and aggravation. Personally, the most bothersome aspect would be spending all kinds of money on the super-elusive examples in an effort to complete the set, only to see my "rookie cards" devalued whenever an earlier example was found. For all you rookie set collectors, how often has this happened to you, and, in the long run, do you find that this type of set is (even slightly) disadvantageous from a monetary standpoint?

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Old 11-02-2008, 08:59 AM
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Posted By: Phil Garry

Jodi:

In general, I have not found that a new card discovery which pre-dates a previously considered "Rookie Card" has significantly lowered the value of that card. For example, I own a 1915 Babe Ruth RPPC and have posted it on Net 54 a number of times. This postcard does not seem to have negatively impacted the value of the M101-4 Ruth Rookie Cards.

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  #19  
Old 11-02-2008, 09:04 AM
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Posted By: Jodi Birkholm

I see.

Here's another hypothetical situation:

When a new "earlier" RC is discovered/proven to be the true version, does that lead to several collectors selling the "old" RC, as it no longer fits in their collections? If so, I would assume that there might be a slight dip in value.

Do you hang on to the "old" RC until you have tracked down an example of the "new" one?

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  #20  
Old 11-02-2008, 09:24 AM
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Posted By: Phil Garry

Jodi:

My way of doing it is just as you mentioned. I always seek out the earliest "card" that I can find and when I get one that pre-dates the one that I alraedy own, I sell the other one. Depending on the popularity and scarcity of the card that I am looking to sell, many times I get more for it than the "card" that I just picked up. Of course, each individual scenario is different so it is probably best to stick with what you like and try to keep your focus on whatever your ultimate goal is.

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  #21  
Old 11-02-2008, 09:28 AM
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Posted By: Phil Garry

Dan:

I oiginally put my book together using the information in the Standard Catalogue of Basseball Cards and supplementing it with auction catalogues, ebay, etc. over the past few years. It did take me a whole summer just to do the research from the SCBC. If you want, I have a spreadsheet with my current collection lited and I can e-mail it to you.

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  #22  
Old 11-02-2008, 09:32 AM
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Posted By: Dan Paradis

Jodi: you are right about "exhilaration and aggravation". What I love about collecting HOF RC's is you get to learn a little about many different sets.

Jodi: yes I keep the early card and usually sell it when I get a card closer to the true RC. There are some players (i.e. Ruth, Cobb, etc.) where I also keep both cards because I have a display of 3000 hit, 500 HR club, HOF RC and I need cards for each.

Bruce: thanks for the info on Negro league players. However, MLB HOF RC's is overwhelming enough (and costly). For now, I'll stick to the plan.
However, I did purchase a Carmelo-Dep Dandridge awhile back, but I'm not looking for all of them yet.

Cat: You're right about the N167's. I didn't even realize there were 6 HOF'ers in that set until today. Oh well!

Jeff: Nice Cobb cards! It took me 3 years to finally get one Cobb Dietsche!

Recently there seems to be more rare RC's showing up and more reasonable prices. So, I started thinking this might be possible. I'm prepared to pay for some of the higher priced cards. In the beginning when I needed every card, it didn't seem to make sense to pay over $10k for one card when I could get 20-30 HOF RC's for that price. Now that I have at least one early card for almost every MLB HOF'er I'll consider some of the more expensive cards (the reason for this post).

Thanks again.
Dan


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  #23  
Old 11-02-2008, 09:34 AM
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Posted By: Dan Paradis

Phil, I'd love to have a copy of the spreadsheet. Thanks!

Dan

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  #24  
Old 11-02-2008, 09:36 AM
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Posted By: Cat

Rookie HOF collecting is more than a bit tricky. I try not to get to worked up about some of the issues. Every rule I have I break since there is so much gray area.

I really don't want postcards (although I have Gehrigs 1925 since it's such a sweet pose).

I collect rookies but I have a bunch of prookies (I like Zeenuts).

My only Cobb card is the T206 Green back. Not many would consider it his rookie, but I like it.

I collect HOFers but I do have Joe Jackson's e90-1 (and a National Game since I hate the e90-1 pose) and a Pete Rose rookie. I also have a Dave Kingman rookie but that's primarily in my collection so people scratch their head and ask "why's that there?"

I generally don't have cards of HOFers who are in becuase of executive/coaching status, but yet I have a Harry Wright N172 (I think he was more important than just any 'ole executive).

In the end, you have to make up your own rules. To me a rookie card is a card issued during his rookie year or before his second year. Many many players do not have such a card. To me, it then becomes less important if the card was issued during his 5th year or 7th year.

My collection makes perfect sense to me, but I am sure no one else.

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  #25  
Old 11-02-2008, 09:50 AM
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Posted By: Dan Paradis

Cat, I guess your RC collection and mine are good examples of what everyone is talking about!

1. I like postcards, many times they show a great image of the player.
2. I don't like Zeenuts (or any prookie cards).
3. I guess a T206 Cobb is probably more expensive than most of his real RC's (and nicer). I'd like to get one someday.
4. I also collect future HOF'ers (and have just about everyone who has a chance to get in). However, Kingman was not on my list. LOL!
I also have a Rose RC and for some reason believe that after his death he will get in (let his family who suffered with this jerk get some financial reward).
5. For me, getting cards of executives/pioneers/owners/umpires seems weird. I never enjoyed watching any of them!


Thanks for the response.

Dan

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  #26  
Old 11-02-2008, 09:59 AM
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Posted By: Rhett Yeakley

Jeff, Wolverine PC's as well as the H. M. Taylor postcards of Cobb (and teammates) have been found with 1907 Cancellations so those items were definitely 1907 in origin (along with the 1st series Dietsche PC's), although they may have been issued the following year as well.
-Rhett

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  #27  
Old 11-02-2008, 11:00 AM
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Posted By: davidcycleback

You can get the earliest/best practically possible card, then upgrade later if desirable. Many set collectors do the same thing with grade.

You could also call it a HOF rookie & early card collection, having one of the player's early cards when the rookie is not obtainable.

No one can complete a full HOF RC set, so that should not be worry. Even T. Boone Pickens would have to make some allowances and do some fudging if this was his collecting focus.

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  #28  
Old 11-02-2008, 11:34 AM
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Posted By: Jeff Lichtman

Rhett, thanks, that's good to know. So I guess there are any number of postcards that could be considered Cobb's first card (along with the W555 and W600). As for his first traditional 'baseball' card...that's another story I suppose (E102, E95).

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  #29  
Old 11-02-2008, 12:15 PM
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Posted By: davidcycleback

A problem in collecting old rookie cards is rookie card is a modern idea applied retroactively. The term and concept probably didn't exist in the days of T206s and Goudeys.

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  #30  
Old 11-02-2008, 12:20 PM
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Posted By: Preece1

These were issued in 1886, so they are also rookie cards (Ewing, Connor, Ward, Keefe, O'Rourke)

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  #31  
Old 11-02-2008, 01:02 PM
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Posted By: Cat

Dan:

"I don't like Zeenuts"

That's good news for me. Some of these were extremely tough to come by - even in the conditions shown below:







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  #32  
Old 11-02-2008, 01:11 PM
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Posted By: Wesley

Darren, That is a very impressive display. Love the DiMaggio and Bancroft cards!

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  #33  
Old 11-02-2008, 01:40 PM
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Posted By: Brian T.

Not to poo-poo such a quest, but like many, I too started off trying to collect the HOF RC, but soon realized that it was not as enjoyable as I thought it would be. I figured that it would, if nothing else, be a good way to learn about many of the older sets and types and it was. I began making rules due to the nature of the beast, but soon discovered that I would have to spend beaucoup money for very expensive cards of players that I did not know much about or cared little about. It wouldn't bother me to spend a lot on Ruth's M101 card as that would be somewhat expected, but to supercede that number for older, lousier conditioned cards of lesser-known players just ended up not being my cup of tea. My brief foray helped me to focus on what vintage sets I enjoy the most. I am still collecting some HOF's RC (and added Pete Rose's because I like him and he should be in the HOF as a player). I guess I am saying that I don't mind spending the money on a card that I can see holds value or means something to me. You don't have to explain to a layman why you have a Ruth RC and spent some coin on it, but spending similar money on the RC of <insert less known and older HOF here>, was much harder to justify and was less rewarding. I suspect there are others who, like me, allowed the HOF RC quest to mold their collecting to the enjoyable and expensive hobby that it is.

For me, I have started to put together all the HOF cards from the 1933 Goudey set in SGC 80 or better. There are many HOFs in there so I can enjoy this chase, enjoy the set, and not kill myself spending so much for relatively obscure (minor) HOFs. After that, I do enjoy the T204 Ramlys and will probably chase those next. If I get bored and rich, I could chase the E107 HOFs. Above all, enjoy this incredibly addictive and expensive hobby!

(edited for spelling)

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  #34  
Old 11-02-2008, 01:41 PM
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Posted By: Matt

Darren - great stuff!

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Old 11-02-2008, 02:32 PM
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Posted By: Joe D.

important to note in this thread......

here is Jackie Robinson's rookie.....





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  #36  
Old 11-02-2008, 02:37 PM
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Posted By: Dan Paradis

Joe D - Is the 49 Bowman Jackie Robinson's 1st card? Was it issued before the 48-49 Leaf (probably same year).
How about the 47 Bond Bread's?

Dan

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  #37  
Old 11-02-2008, 02:40 PM
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Posted By: Cat

Lesser known HOFers. That's a complete discussion in itself. I started out just collecting those elected to the HOF by the baseball writers and not the veterans committee. Do I leave out Cap Anson because of this collecting format? Heck no! None of the players who spent their entire careers in the Negro League were elected by the BB writers. So I had to fudge on the baseball writers criteria. It just didn't make sense.

I think it does take some research to focus the collection. Some of that research can be fun or informative. On the surface, one might pass on having Dazzy Vance or Sam Rice in their collection. But, they both have such incredible stories that it becomes clear how great they were under very tough circumstances. Deciding who to leave out of my collection is part of the fun and thought process.

I try not to get frustrated by what I don't have and enjoy what I do have.

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  #38  
Old 11-02-2008, 02:57 PM
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Posted By: barrysloate

I know Joe loves that Jackie card, and I share his passion, but the Leaf was in fact released before the Bowman, by a couple of months.

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  #39  
Old 11-02-2008, 03:03 PM
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Posted By: Jeff Lichtman

Joe, that card is weak. Kind of off-centered too. Here's one of Jackie's true rookies:

1947 Bond Bread Portrait

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  #40  
Old 11-02-2008, 03:11 PM
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Posted By: barrysloate

Jeff- that is Jackie's very first major league card, but because it was only distributed in Brooklyn it doesn't quite fit the true definition of a rookie.

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  #41  
Old 11-02-2008, 03:29 PM
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Posted By: Rob D.

And here we go ...

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  #42  
Old 11-02-2008, 03:32 PM
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Posted By: Joe D.

"I know Joe loves that Jackie card, and I share his passion, but the Leaf was in fact released before the Bowman, by a couple of months."


Barry.....

two things (with some parts).....

1) do we know that Leaf was 'in fact' released before Bowman? I mean do we have physical distribution records? Or are we going by a recollection by someone?

2) does a couple of month's difference mean anything at all? Do we look at topps, upperdeck, and whoever else is still out there and say 'Topps came out on Monday, and Upper Deck came out on Tuesday - - so Topps is the real rookie'? If both were issued the same year / baseball season.... I would think the couple of months does not matter.


Jeff.....
Those bread cards do not count because.....
1) They were a regional issue
2) They are strong evidence against my position.



And.....
I go by the card Jackie Robinson kept to his dying day. The one that was found in his estate (the 1949 Bowman).
I figure if we have to ordain a 'rookie card' where there is some ambiguity.... why not give Jackie Robinson a vote?


edit: grammar

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Old 11-02-2008, 03:36 PM
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Posted By: Joe D.

btw....

more on topic here.....

my point with Ty Cobb and Jackie Robinson is....
a MLB Rookie card collection is going to have to be littered with your own preferences and opinions.
but - thats what makes collecting fun.

so - go for it... and choose the cards you like most within the issue year that would be a rookie.

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Old 11-02-2008, 03:42 PM
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Posted By: Jim VB

Joe D.,

<<Those bread cards do not count because.....

2) They are strong evidence against my position.>>


Very nicely done! I use this argument often with my teens. I'm sure it will slip right by everyone on this board.

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Old 11-02-2008, 03:59 PM
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Posted By: Phil Garry

Darren:

Thanks for posting scans of all of your Zeenuts. Now I know where the Bancroft and other Heilmann cards went in the latest 19th Century Only Auction. Congrats!!!

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Old 11-02-2008, 04:10 PM
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Posted By: Jeff Lichtman

Joe, I just laughed out loud at your 2).

However, I suppose you were not aware of the letter Jackie wrote to Pee Wee Reese right before he died. In the letter he discussed their mutual love of rookie baseball card collecting -- and Jackie's firm belief that the Leaf and/or the Bond Bread cards were his true rookies. I have a copy of the letter which I will share with you at the next NY Dinner Thread Dinner. By the way, the card below was actually buried with Jackie. Some ghoul was kind enough to somehow get his hands on it, have it graded, and sell it to me.

1948-49 Leaf

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Old 11-02-2008, 04:10 PM
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Posted By: barrysloate

Because both the Bowman and Leaf Jackie Robinsons were issued in 1949, either one can be considered a rookie. But my understanding is that the Leafs were released a few months before the Bowmans.

How do I know this? From Ted Z.'s recollection of it. I suppose that is not scientific but hopefully Ted will read this thread and chime in.

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Old 11-02-2008, 04:18 PM
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Posted By: Joe D.

Jeff....

I have to admit - the Leaf is growing on me.

I may have to buy Jackie's second best card one day.

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Old 11-02-2008, 04:26 PM
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Posted By: Jeff Lichtman

Joe, I am quoting from Jackie's letter to Pee Wee:

"I sold off most of my collection due to financial difficulties; I received a lot of money for my rookie Leaf card but kept the ugly red one because it's not worth all that much. I suppose if I live long enough some fool will think it's my rookie. When that day comes I'll sell it for a premium."

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Old 11-02-2008, 04:36 PM
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Posted By: Rob D.

Jeff,

Could you post a scan of that letter so everyone and their brother can weigh in on whether Jackie's signature is authentic?

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