The E145 Cracker Jack 1914 and 1915 sets are very similar and are two of the more iconic baseball card sets ever produced. A recent consignment of a previously unknown collection of 1914 cards put the focus back on these back-to-back sets. The ’14 set was only available in boxes of Cracker Jack while the ’15 set could be ordered through a mail-in offer.
Both sets boast the same general design and it can be difficult for collectors to tell them apart since even many of the card numbers are the same. However, the 1915 set was larger (including 32 more cards) and, as a result, boasted a few more players of significance. Here are five key players inserted into the 1915 set that weren’t included in the year before.
Chase isn’t a Hall of Famer but his cards are generally valued at Hall of Fame prices. Ironically, Chase was added in the Cracker Jack set in place of a player that is inducted in Cooperstown in Frank Chance. Chance’s No. 99 card in the 1914 set was removed for Chase, who is No. 99 in the 1915 edition.
Chase is often regarded as one of the best players in his generation and sometimes called the New York Yankees’ first true superstar. But due to his involvement in gambling scandals, he was essentially banned for life. Recently, a PSA 5 Chase card sold on eBay for just over $350.
No. 161 Edd Roush
In 18 professional seasons, Edd Roush was a career .323 hitting outfielder that was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Roush didn’t have the gaudy stats that accompanied the best players of his generation, but he was still voted into Cooperstown in 1962. Twice, he led the league in batting average and he was also a league leader in doubles and triples during his career.
Left out of the 1914 set, Roush was one of the players added in 1915 when the set expanded. One noteworthy thing about Roush’s card is that his name was misspelled as ‘Rousch.’ A PSA 9 (OC) sold not long ago for nearly $900.
While George Stallings did play the game, he is mostly known for his work as a manager. Stallings managed the Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, and New York Highlanders (Yankees) but his greatest success came at his last stop with the Boston Braves. Stallings led the ‘Miracle Braves’ to the 1914 World Series championship after taking a last place team that was 11 1/2 games out of first-place and leading them to the postseason where they swept the Philadelphia Athletics for the title.
It is difficult to imagine that Stallings’ inclusion in the 1915 set wasn’t due to winning the World Series in the previous year.
No. 166 Joe Bush
Despite coming off of a season where he was 15-6 as a pitcher, Bush didn’t make it into the 1914 Cracker Jack set. But after winning 17 games the following season, he was added for the 1915 series. Bush won 196 games in his career, but he’s largely known for his postseason work.
Bush helped three different teams win World Series championships and he wasn’t merely along for the ride, either. He had a combined 1.56 ERA across those three series’ and completed every game he started. Bush’s best regular season came in 1922 when he was a dominant 26-7, leading the league in winning percentage (.788) and finishing fourth in the Most Valuable Player Award voting.
Mid-grade Joe Bush cards can usually be found for around $400.
Griffith seemingly did it all during his life in baseball. As a player, he suited up for several teams in a 20-year career. He was primarily a pitcher but was also used all over the field. Griffith was a part-time outfielder and occasional infielder where he played a handful games at first base, second base, shortstop, and third base. He won 237 games on the mound but that was only part of his Hall of Fame career. He was a player manager and later managed solely for the Washington Senators after his playing days.
In all, he won a total of 1,491 games. Griffith then moved into the front office. After buying controlling interest of the Senators, he served as a team owner for 35 years until his death 1955. In all, he had spent time in the majors as either a player, manager, or owner, for 64 years. Despite his accomplishments, Griffith’s Cracker Jack cards are relatively inexpensive.