The Cubs’ 108-year famine is over. The wait, however, goes on in Cleveland. Back in 1948, the franchise won its second (and most recent) World Series title. In 1949 and 1950, the Num Num snack company created a set of photographs of Indians players – most of whom were on that championship team from 1948. It represents about the only comprehensive trading card representation of the Tribe’s last World Series team. Here’s a closer look at the 1949-1950 Num Num Cleveland Indians cards.
The 1949-1950 Num Num Cleveland Indians photos were 6 1/2″ x 9″ and printed in black and white. Fans could get them directly at the team’s home ballpark, Municipal Stadium, or as part of a mail-in offer from Num Num snacks.
A total of 36 different photos were included in the set. Most of them featured players while one included the coaches and another included the stadium. The photographs were not numbered and also featured replica signatures and a thin white border around the edges. Backs were blank with the exception of printed information, which offered details to collectors the chance to obtain two additional photographs by mailing a box top and ten cents to Num Num.
In 1952, Num Num returned to produce its second and final photo set, again featuring the Tribe.
With the photographs being printed in 1949 and 1950, the set featured mostly members of the 1948 Indians championship team. The set includes many Hall of Famers and stars, led by the trio of Satchel Paige, Bob Feller, and Hank Greenberg. Other notable names include Lou Boudreau, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, and Larry Doby, the first African-American player in the American League.
Also there is team owner, Bill Veeck. Veeck is known for his outlandish promotions, such as burying the 1948 pennant when the ’49 team fell out of contention, and of course, the infamous Disco Demolition night with the White Sox in 1979. But the owner also signed Doby as the league’s first black player and also added Paige, helping to break the color barrier.
One variation exists in the set as pitcher Dick Rozek is included with two poses. Mysteriously, he is the only player in the set with more than one photo and the reason for both variations (one with his glove in front of him and one with his glove under his leg) is unknown. Ironically, his photograph can be considered a rookie of sorts as he didn’t break into the league in 1950. He is one of the few players included in the set that was not a member on that 1948 championship team.
While the 1952 Num Num photos are easier to find, the 1949-50 set much more scarce. There are a few on eBay, and prices still aren’t too high. Most commons are available for under $50 with stars commanding a bit more. In general, the Paige, Feller, and Greenberg will be more expensive. You can see them all here.
One unique item available is an advertising display used to promote the set. As you would imagine, these are rarer than the photos and don’t come up for sale much. One recently sold at auction earlier this year for just under $500.
1949-1950 Cleveland Indians Num Num Checklist
Dick Rozek (Glove in front)
Dick Rozek (Glove under leg)