Even nearly a century after their careers have ended, baseball Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb remain two of the game’s greatest players of all time. Through all of the changes the sport has been through, the pair are often referred to as the top two players of all time. While we’re all pretty familiar with their most popular and widely available baseball cards, each player has had his share of unusual cardboard, too. The pair is found in an oddball set of cards called the 1935 Whitman Party Stunts game.
About the 1935 Whitman Party Stunts Game
The 1935 Whitman Party Stunts game was small but could realistically be a lot of fun. The entire game consisted of only a deck of cards. In all, a total of 72 cards were in the game they were distributed in a small box.
Imagination was needed to play the game. Each card featured a cartoon image of a ‘stunt’ or action that someone playing the game then had to act out. The person then had to perform the stunt to the satisfaction of the group or suffer a ‘penalty.’ The rules of the game were extremely loose and what that penalty should be was left to the other players of the game. But the idea was that the participant had to enact the stunt in such a way that would be deemed a good job.
Winners were not specified in the instructions but would presumably be the person that performed the stunts the best.
If not for the Ruth and Cobb cards, the set would be off the radar of almost every baseball card collector. But their inclusion here has turned what should be an afterthought into a collectible issue.
Ruth and Cobb are featured on cards in the game but the pictures don’t really depict them. Instead, they are labeled as two personalities that must be emulated.
Ruth’s card, for example, requires participants to mimic the iconic slugger after striking out with the bases loaded. Cobb’s card, meanwhile, is a little more positive. On his, a participant is required to depict Cobb sliding, just beating a throw to home. It’s worth pointing out that Ruth retired after the 1935 season, technically making his one of his last contemporary cards with his name on it, even if the image isn’t his.
Cobb’s card is also a little more interesting as it is one of the Prize Cards in the set. A Prize Card enabled the recipient to then force another person at the party to do the stunt instead.
Ruth and Cobb are far and away the key cards in the set. But collectors of other sports cards might find a few others interest. Other sports-related cards in the set depict golf, boxing, and horse racing. Unlike the Ruth and Cobb cards, however, no names of famous athletes or horses were included on those cards.
A total of 72 cards are in the set. Cards had rounded corners and were printed using pink, green, and black ink. The backs had a decorative playing-card style print using blue ink.
First, PSA has graded at least some of these cards under an incorrect name. Several exist that have been encapsulated and labeled as being from the 1924 Parker Brothers Rook Game. While Rook was an actual game, cards from it generally had only numbers printed on them. These cards are not from that set.
In addition, collectors should beware of a similar set from Whitman. Instead of the Party Stunts game, that one is also from 1935 but labeled the Party Fun game. It, too, has cards, but they are only trivia questions without pictures. If looking to purchase this set, you will find it in one of a few different type of boxes. The first is black and has colored balloons on it while a second has the balloons but without the solely black background. A third, shown here, features a full-length cartoon of a party-going woman in a black and white dress. The Party Fun game, meanwhile, has a close up of a smiling woman’s face.
1935 Whitman Game Card Values
Collectors of pre-war cards have caught onto this set and have cherry-picked a lot of the Ruth and Cobb cards floating around already. However, you can occasionally find a complete set at a low price, usually from non-sports collectors or dealers.
The good news is that many found are in pretty decent shape. The rounded corners protect them from showing too much wear in those areas and because they were part of a party game, many were not used very much. Card collectors aware of the set often ask higher prices for the Ruth and Cobb card but the entire set with the box and in mid-grade condition is available for less than $50 on eBay. You can probably look for that price to increase a little as more collectors find out about this set, however.