About a week ago there was a bit of a tweet-around where people were posting random vintage cards, the older the better. I submitted one each from the 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, and 1910s since I’m now able to do so. I’m not sure what blows my mind more. That I have more than one card from the nineteenth century or that I have dozens that are older than 100 years old.
Anyway, a bunch of people posted cards from the 1910–1912 T218 Champions set and I did my usual thing where I admired the card and mentioned how I’ve not gotten around to acquiring one yet. There are many cards in this category and I don’t say things like that to try and get free cards. But sometimes people are in a generous mood and this time it was my co-chair Jason who offered to send me a beater.
I haven’t gotten any T218s yet because I’m incapable of spending money on a card just to get an example. I need something more, like a connection to the athlete or a particularly nice pice of artwork. In the case of the T218s, aside from obvious cases like Jack Johnson,* the cards I’ve been eyeing have been either Edward Weston** or Abe Attell.*** I’ve not encountered any of those at a price I want to pay and as a result I haven’t gotten any.
*While I already have a Johnson card, getting one from his active fighting days would indeed be cool.
**Aside from being a fun photography joke, the Weston card is simultaneously the best-looking in the set and also features a truly distinct athlete.
***Attell was a fixer for the Black Sox.
The thing is though that I’m also incapable of getting rid of any cards once I have them and can usually find something of interest no matter how random the card is. With this in mind Jason went ahead and mailed me a T218 that was so beat up that he didn’t have to waste any materials protecting it.
Yup. It’s mighty beat up. No real paper loss though so it’s basically the perfect grade for me. There’s also a bit of misregistration but nothing that interferes with the artwork. Some of the cards in this set are solid-colored backgrounds* but this one has some nicely detailed and colored background art which results in a card that still shines despite al the creases.
*Sadly, the Attell is one such card.
Frank Irons is also a great card to have if I’m going to have a random card. Yes he won the Long Jump Gold Medal in 1908 but he’s also one of the only baseball players in the T218 set. In the 1912 Olympics there was a baseball exhibition against a Swedish club. The US team was made up of track and field athletes and three of them have T218 cards.
Since the Wikipedia entry about the 1912 baseball is pretty barebones, I went poking around the internet and found a PDF of the official report of the 1912 Stockholm games. Sure enough baseball was listed in the Table of Contents. Since the PDF page numbering is messed up due to bilingual pages sharing the same page number I had to dig a bit to get to the right page. Baseball starts on page 823 but I’ve gone ahead and screenshotted them as well.
I kind of love the commentary showing baseball from the Swedish point of view. Borrowing pitchers. Marveling at the ability to throw (and hit) curveballs. And bragging about being able to play ball in Sweden until 10pm in the summer. Frank Irons is listed on the box score as a left fielder who went 1 for 2 and made one putout.
The report also has a half-dozen photos of the game. The team photo of the Swedish side is great and the other photos showing Swedish action in the game are a lot of fun too.
Sadly nothing is mentioned about the other game played at the Olympics but these five pages were a great find nonetheless. Like I said up above, I can usually find something of interest no matter how random the card is. Thanks for the sample Jason and thanks for sending me into some unexpected corners of the internet.