Fresh off of a second place finish in the National League standings in 1931, hopes were high for the 1932 iteration of the New York Giants. But despite a lineup that featured Hall of Famers Mel Ott, Bill Terry, Fred Lindstrom, Travis Jackson, Carl Hubbell, and Waite Hoyt, the Giants never met expectations, finishing a disappointing 72-82 under Terry and fellow Cooperstown inductee John McGraw. The Giants would become World Series champions a year later but 1932 was a year to forget in New York.
To collectors, though, the 1932 Giants were made famous through a set of team postcards. Here’s a closer look at the popular 1932 New York Giants Schedule Postcard set.
The Giants were behind this postcard series that featured players along with the team’s home schedule. Fronts carried a black and white image of a player, along with thick borders, biographical information, and some key stats for the subject from the previous season. The fronts also boasted promotional information and simple directions to the team’s stadium, as well as an offer for ladies to attend Friday games free of charge.
Also on the front was a mention that fans could receive a picture of their favorite player by merely sending a self addressed stamped envelope to Polo Grounds stadium. And while the cards don’t explicitly say this, one wonders if these postcards were what was sent. It should also be noted that a variation of these postcards also includes no mention of that offer and slightly modified text. The reason the photo offer disappeared is not entirely clear. But it is possible that a later run of the postcards was created without the offer so that the team no longer had to issue the pictures throughout the entire season.
Backs included a simple divided postcard layout with part of the portion dedicated to a recipient’s address and message. The other side included the reason for the set — a printing of the full schedule of the Giants’ home games. The cards were a standard postcard size, measuring approximately 3 1/2″ by 5 1/2″. They were printed by Minden Press, Inc. based in New York.
As mentioned, these postcards advertised that collectors could receive a picture of their favorite player on the team. And if these were indeed those pictures, they included just about everyone.
Currently, there are 22 different players featured on postcards. The lone Hall of Fame player not included in the set is pitcher Waite Hoyt. But Hoyt did not officially start playing for the Giants until July, starting the season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, so his absence is understandable. The other big name missing is manager John McGraw. But since he was not a player, it’s easy to see why he wouldn’t have been included, either, since managerial cards were not always offered in sets.
While 22 are known now, though, most of the postcards are so rare that it is possible that additional ones could surface in the future. After all, two (Clarence Mitchell and Fred Lindstrom) were not found on most hobby checklists until 2005. As it stands now, the checklist includes the following:
- Ethan Allen
- Herman Bell
- Hughie Critz
- Fred Fitzsimmons
- Chick Fullis
- Sam Gibson
- Francis Healey
- Frank Hogan
- Carl Hubbell
- Travis Jackson
- Len Koenecke
- Sam Leslie
- Freddy Lindstrom
- Adolpho Luque
- Clarence Mitchell
- Jim Mooney
- Bob O’Farrell
- Mel Ott
- Roy Parmelee
- Bill Terry
- Johnny Vergez
- Bill Walker
Carl Hubbell … and a Note About Rarity
Many collectors are not familiar with this series. However, some may know about the Carl Hubbell card found in it.
Hubbell’s card is not exactly plentiful. However, it is by far and away the easiest card to find in this set. In fact, other cards are seen so infrequently that some collectors likely believe the Hubbell to be a standalone card–at least one version of it.
The precise reason Hubbell’s card is so common compared to the others is not entirely clear. But it is obviously the most plentiful one and that is almost certainly tied to the idea that Hubbell was one of the team’s biggest stars. By 1932, Hubbell was not yet the Hall of Fame caliber player he would become. But in 1933, he led the league in wins, ERA, and shutouts while winning the Most Valuable Player award. Hubbell would repeat that sort of dominance throughout the decade and in 1936, he won his second Most Valuable Player award.
We do know there are two different types the Hubbell card. Some are printed on very thin stock that is practically paper-like. It’s by far the most common of the two. The other one is on stock that is a bit thicker in nature and more along the lines of what you’d find used for a traditional postcard. It is believed by some that the thin version was possibly used for a separate promotion but no one can say for sure. The thin stock Hubbell can be identified quickly thanks to the printing on the back, which is reversed from the card printed on thicker stock. Thanks to collector Jim Van Brunt who shares this image of the two types.
The PSA population report gives a good idea of the rarity of Hubbell’s card and that of others. To date, PSA has graded only four non-Hubbell postcards. Meanwhile, they’ve graded just over 20 of Hubbell’s postcard alone. Calling the other postcards in the set scarce is not a stretch by any means. They are very difficult to find.
Hubbell is a Hall of Famer but his card is not even worth as much as commons in the set just because it is so plentiful by comparison. If Hubbell’s card was as rare as the others in the set, it would be quite valuable. But as it stands now, it is actually one of his better bargain cards. In decent shape, Hubbell’s postcard can be found starting around $50 — sometimes even less.
Determining prices on the others, though, is not quite so easy. That is because they are so scarcely seen for sale that valuating them appropriately is not easy. But a 2005 auction for them shows that they don’t come cheap. In 2005, Robert Edward Auctions sold 19 of them for nearly $5,000, averaging about $250 per postcard.
Now, consider that group did not even include the Ott card and that the auction occurred more than 15 years ago. Given how prices of pre-war cards have soared, it is easy to expect that they would sell for even more today.
Hubbell’s card is affordable but you can expect to pay quite a bit for just about anyone else in the set. A few are usually listed on eBay.