Most all card collectors have a dream/wish list.  Many of us lack the funds to own even acceptable copies of these special cards.  What is an acceptable condition? There are few on my list which  I'd turn away, even graded in poor condition.  (Not that I'm easy...)

1910 T206 Tony Thebo
After reading Baseball on the Prairie by Kris Rutherford, I learned a bit about Tony Thebo and his years playing in the start-up Texas League.  He was never a star player but loved the game until he passed in 1966.

The card pictured is affordable and in what I'd consider poor condition.  This copy is well centered with crease in a tolerable location (as in not the face) and with good coloring and no staining. Acceptable! THE price guide lists this for $250 in VGEX(4) condition.  An acceptable card in 'poor' condition can be had for $75.  This dream card will  be added to my collection but for now resides here on this page.

1909-1911 T205 Ty Cobb

What Detroit Tigers' fan wouldn't want this card in their collection?
I collected affordable, modern Cobbs long before the Tigers became
my team. Ty still seems full of young blue-eyed innocence in this
portrait. He was an incredibly talented ball player, with spikes in his
soul.  This particular card comes with four different background colors,
with green being the most rare. The T206 set is famous for its overall beautiful lithography and the HONUS. It's possible that I could luck
upon an ungraded copy in poor condition for $600-800, but I'd better
have the moolah right then and there! It won't be on the market long.

1933 Goudey Big League Chewing Gum Baseball Cards

<---- See that fella there, upper right
corner? Yeah, Da Babe.  You have
to ask WHY I want this card?  Even in poor condition, this one would probably not be had for under $1000.  Babe Ruth, surely one of the greatest to ever play the game will likely never be a part of
my collection. I can enjoy those I see in online auctions. Sure I can, really!   And while I'm feeling all sorry for myself, might as well wallow in self pity over the Gehrig too, also a part of this beautiful set of cards.  What? There are four Babes and two Gehrigs in this set??  NOOOOO!  It isn't fair!

                                           Goudey Gum was the first well known company to add cards to gum
packs. Over sized in comparison to its tobacco predecessors, Goudey cards had plenty of room on the back for player information. Many collectors consider Goudey the first real gum cards.

While the Goudey company produced gorgeous baseball cards, they also gave us a 96 card Indian set.   (At one time, I owned half of the set in good condition. I could smack myself now for selling these in the midst  of a collecting rebellion in early 2003.)    While I'm feeling sorry for myself, let's look at this offering from 1933 Delong Gum Company.  The 24 card set was slightly overshadowed by Goudey, slightly being an understatement. Each player was featured against a smaller stadium background. Lou was a larger than life figure anyway,  and this is a great portrayal of the man. The DeLong  is considered his toughest card.  I'm not too proud to own  this in an acceptably poor condition for $1000!

Ok, who wants a sticky old Cracker Jack card?
I DO, that's who!   The Cracked Bat likes her Cracker Jacks.   They are not known to me for the prizes they've contained in the last decade or two, but for the  memories I have of the yummy popcorn, nasty peanuts and fun prizes found: decoder rings, little plastic animals, pinball games and books.  Now CJ offers dumb jokes and rub-off tattoos.  Only paper prizes. Wait, paper? Cracker Jacks baseball cards - can't get more paper than that?  With today's players demanding premium dollars for use of their images, I can't imagine finding cards in CJ boxes or cereal boxes again. My generation was a bit more fortunate. Going back a couple generations more,
and there were real treasures to be found in the little red and white boxes.

1914 Cracker Jack boxes contained one card from a 144 card set printed on thin  paper inserted in boxes with no protection of any kind. Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson, Christy Mathewson, Branch Rickey, and Walter Johnson to name only a few.  They all found their way into the sticky hands of children (and a few adults I'm sure.) Due to the delicate paper, these cards are few in number.  Truly forever a part of my dream list, I'm drawn to these cards for what they represented to kids even then.  Early paper heroes which would forever hold a memory as their owners aged and longed for days that would never be again. (Maybe I should be saving those tattoos...)


  1. Thanks for the shout out about "Baseball on the Prairie." Tony Thebo was an unheralded but fascinating character who I "got to know" through his niece I tracked down in Idaho several years ago. Pretty much forgotten in Paris, TX lore today, but in 1900, he was big news in a small town that turned out a surprising number of professional ballplayers.

    Thanks again,

    Kris Rutherford

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed Baseball on the Prairie. I have to tell you how moved I was after reading only the first pages. When Tony's wife passed leaving no one to remember...I had tears. Next month I'm planning a short trip from Dallas to visit the Thebos. The book was well researched and full of fun information. I wasn't ready to reach the last pages when it came to an end. Thanks so much for your comment Kris!