They may have been created by artists, but photographs are what launched many of the cards in the 1933 Goudey baseball set. Just a couple of years removed from a season for the ages, Cubs star Hack Wilson took a cut for one photographer and the result became cardboard history.
Today’s Photo of the Day in conjunction with RMY Auctions is this Associated Press wire photo of Wilson, who drove in an almost incomprehensible 191 runs in 1930. The original 6 ¼” by 9 ¼” image was stamped on the back by the AP and a Cleveland media outlet but also turned into a Wilson baseball card issued by the Goudey Gum Company in 1933.
It’s currently being offered in RMY’s February auction with a $200-400 estimate.
Wilson’s short, stocky body uncorks his powerful swing while he looks upward, an image that must have played itself out on big league diamonds dozens of times during the early 30s when Wilson was one of the game’s most feared sluggers.
Wilson’s star fell as quickly as it ascended. Fighting and drinking his way out of baseball, he went through a series of jobs before a fall at his home led to pneumonia and finally, internal hemorrhaging and death in 1948. Hack Wilson, one of the game’s greatest sluggers was only 48. He died penniless.
In 20 years of collecting photographs, RMY officials say they had never seen the actual photo used to make the card, until now. The artist who created the image at Goudey removed Hack's glove from his back pocket as well as his uniform patch and then turned the image into the colorful cardboard youngsters saw come out of bubble gum packs more than 80 years ago.
The photo is strong but does have some creases and a pinhole. It’s one of hundreds of historic sports photos now up for bid at RMYAuctions.com.