Friday, September 12, 2008

1934 Goudey #6, Dizzy Dean

This classic Hall-of-Famer made it off of eBay and into my collection last week. The famously-named Dizzy Dean served as the strikeout ace of a St. Louis staff for their depression era team, the "Gashouse Gang." Most of their players came from blue collar backgrounds and sensibilities. Prior to the widespread use of oil, "gas houses" refined coal for fuel and people who worked in them smelled predictably bad. According to contemporaries, the Cardinals often played in unwashed uniforms to give their opponents a similarly imposing snootful on the field.

So what's been done to the card? A lot that I can see, probably starting with being folded in half and used as a bookmark. One thing that didn't happen to the card is hurricane Gustav. Its previous owner had to evacuate Louisiana prior to the storm's recent landfall and let me know the mail would take a few extra days. It arrived safely yesterday with no complaints from me. The 1934 card might not be the "key" that his 1933 rookie is, but fills a big hole in the set nonetheless. (The crosshatch oddity around Dean's pants isn't on the card, just the scan. I left it in place to simulate a week of sweaty funk, gas house style.)

The 1934 Goudey set updated its look somewhat from 1933 by adding a baseball diamond to the background and a banner endorsement from Lou Gehrig (in blue) or Chuck Klein (in red) along the bottom edge. It's not clear why they went with two players instead of one, though I've read a contract snafu played a role. Another eccentricity is the lack of Babe Ruth, who played for the Yankees in both 1933 and 1934, but doesn't appear in this set after chalking up four different cards the previous year.

Dizzy's card back retells the origin of his nickname, one that naturally flowed into his second career as a hickish, language-challenged sportscaster. He received flak for chopping words and fumbling meanings, but also turned out gems at a regular pace.

"Sure I eat what I advertise. Sure I eat Wheaties for breakfast. A good bowl of Wheaties with bourbon can't be beat."

See the "official site" of Ol' Diz for more potent quotables.

1 comment:

--David said...

Man, what a find! Great stuff!