While they’re best known as a set issued by The Sporting News, the 1916 M101-4 baseball cards were distributed in several different ways by several different companies. Clothing stores that sold boys apparel were one popular outlet. We’ve seen ads for Gimbel’s in Milwaukee, which offered groups of cards from the 200-card issue over a period of time.
The M101 -4/5 series is best known for being the set that contains Babe Ruth’s rookie card but Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson and other greats are found there, too.
Here’s an ad recently turned up by baseball researcher Tom Shieber: a full-page ad in the El Paso (TX) Times in April of 1916. It seems like Everybody’s Department Store spared little expense in its efforts to drive some young customers (and their parents) into its fourth floor location. You have to love the advertising lingo of the day. They used a lot of words.
It looks like any kid who stopped by could have one free card or buy the first 20 cards in the set for a dime. Collecting the whole set would have cost $1 but the store said it would refund that money if a boys suit was purchased.
Here’s the building (it’s still there) that housed the department store.
Other ads that have been discovered over the years indicated the store gave away a series of 20 at one point. That could indicate the promotion wasn’t working real well, but the week after that first ad on April 22, the store bragged about the turnout for the initial giveaway. Here’s what the backs looked like, although there are some slight variations in the style of text used:
The Everbody’s backs are hard to find today–another indicator that maybe youngsters didn’t exactly flock to the store to buy a suit.