The 1936 Goudey set is often a popular target for collectors breaking into pre-war card collecting. It’s cost-effective and, at only 25 cards, is an incredibly short set that can be easily assembled. All told, it’s one of the easier pre-war sets that can be built.
One of the reasons it’s such an easy venture is because of the affordability aspect. And, to be honest, it’s affordable because it’s lacking stars. A lot of them. The set does give collectors big time players such as Hank Greenberg and Mickey Cochrane. But it also left out many of the game’s heavy hitters. Here are five other players that should have been included.
Gehrig is probably the biggest absence. He routinely led the league in all sorts of categories, had won the 1927 Most Valuable Player Award, and was one of the best players in the game.
Adding some insult to injury here, Gehrig would go on to win the 1936 Most Valuable Player Award for his play that season. Leaving an MVP off of a checklist is a glaring omission, to say the least. His inclusion would have bolstered what some collectors consider to be a pretty dull set.
Ruth finished his career in 1935 so most collectors have probably come to accept his absence here. At the age of 40, Ruth hit a paltry .181 in his final major league season playing in only 28 games with the Boston Braves.
While Ruth was out of the league in 1936, that has hardly stopped card companies from including retired players in their sets. Ruth would go on to appear in many other sets well after his retirement and is still seen in sets even today. I have to believe the idea of a tribute card commemorative Ruth’s career would have been a big hit.
While Ruth’s career had just ended, the career of another Yankee Hall of Famer was about to begin. After impressing in the minor leagues, Joe DiMaggio debuted in 1936.
It didn’t take long for DiMaggio to become a star. He batted .323 as a rookie that year, was an all-star, and even led the league in triples. Now, adding DiMaggio to the set would have probably required some foresight. However, it should be noted that other releases found room for him, including the 1936 World Wide Gum set. A DiMaggio rookie card would have single-handedly made this a much more expensive and prestigious issue.
There are certainly bigger names than Carl Hubbell when it comes to players not included in the 1936 Goudey set. But Hubbell certainly belongs, in my opinion.
A Hall of Famer, Hubbell was twice named Most Valuable Player and was a nine-time All-Star. The reason I’d include him over others in the 1936 set is because that was the year he won the second of his MVP awards. With a 26-6 record (and 25 complete games, to boot) and a 2.31 ERA, Hubbell had one of his greatest seasons of all time. Similar to Gehrig, it’s never a great thing when a set doesn’t even include the best player from a particular year.
Dean’s another player I would have loved to see land a spot in the set for a couple of reasons.
For one thing, he was at the height of his playing career when the set was released. Dean won the 1934 Most Valuable Player award in the National League after he won 30 games and recorded a league-best seven shutouts and 195 strikeouts. He continued that dominance in 1935 just before this set was released, leading the league in wins (28) and, for a fourth straight year, strikeouts (190). At the time, he was arguably the game’s top hurler.
Another reason his inclusion would have been welcome is that he wouldn’t last much longer in the majors. Dean injured his arm in 1937 and was limited after that. At the age of only 31, Dean was out of baseball after the 1941 season. As a result, he doesn’t appear on a ton of cards and it would have been nice to see him in a few other releases, such as this one.