Baseball cards are still giving up their secrets.
There is what seems to be a newly-discovered error to report in the 1936 Goudey and Goudey Wide Pen sets. The player identified as Bill Brubaker of the Pirates in both sets is actually Dave Barbee, who hadn’t been an active player since 1932.
Tom Shieber, senior curator at the Baseball Hall of Fame and an avid researcher, made the identification after collector Jeff Katz posted a note on Twitter about the armband being worn by “Brubaker” in the Wide Pen card photo. The Pirates wore black armbands on their left sleeves in 1932 to honor former owner Barney Dreyfuss who had passed away.
So yes, the photo Goudey used to create both cards was four years old– and it wasn’t even the right player.
While it’s possible the error has been noticed somewhere along the line, it’s not referenced in catalogs and guides, nor is there any discussion elsewhere online.
Barbee was a Pirates regular for much of the ’32 season, driving in 60 runs, but lost his job and went back to the minors. He never returned to the big leagues.
It was apparently out of sight, out of mind for Goudey, which may have been oblivious to what Brubaker really looked like(not really surprising considering the limited availability of close up images of most players at the time). It’s also possible the Pirates misidentified the photo when it was passed on to Goudey.
Brubaker had a breakout year in ’36 but didn’t look much like Barbee. His career would soon begin to wind down, too. However, he did hang around long enough to appear on Play Ball’s 1940 set–and the folks there managed to get the right photo on the card.