In 1950, the Philadelphia Phillies put together a phenomenal season. Finishing with a 91-63 record, the team was first in the National League and headed to the postseason. While the Phillies would ultimately lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series that year, the “Whiz Kids” are still remembered as one of the better teams in franchise history.
That year as the season wound down, the Philadelphia Inquirer helped promote their march to the postseason. Late in the season, the newspaper issued a set of photos that are fairly difficult to come by today. Here’s a closer look at the Inquirer’s supplements of photos that recognized the individual players on the team.
1950 Philadelphia Inquirer Fightin’ Phillies
While many collectors will refer to these as the 1950 Inquirer Photos or some variation of, the photos actually have a more formal name. Printed in a lower corner of them is the inscription, “Inquirer Fightin’ Phillies Album.”
This collection included nearly 5″ x 7″ photographs of players from the 1950 Phillies team. Pictures were printed in color and, instead of larger supplements that were often presented by publications, these were smaller in size and more along the lines of traditional photographs. The set was issued in uncut panels with dotted lines for the borders. Thus, when found hand cut individually, traces of the lines are often visible.
The pictures were printed in color and included the player’s name and position at the bottom. They also featured the player’s replica signature as well as a biography. We know these were midseason issues because they include an update of how the player was faring to the point of the season when his photo was issued.
Some interesting notes are found in those season updates, by the way. Pitcher Curt Simmons, for example, was unexpectedly forced into military service during the team’s run and his photo notes that he was called in to duty for the ‘current emergency.’ The set also documents another example of the team losing a player during the season. The photograph of outfielder Bill Nicholson cites that his season was ended on September 7 due to diabetes. He would not return for the World Series. However, despite the disease, Nicholson would return to play three more years in the majors.
About the Checklist … and a Notable Omission
Some of the players included have their more formalized names printed instead of the ones by which they were commonly known. For example, Del Ellis is call ‘Delmer’ Ellis. Similar instances are noted for other players as well.
Most of the key players on the team are found in the set, including all eight position players that were starters. However, the set inexplicably did not include star reliever, Jim Konstanty. Konstanty did not have the career of Ashburn or Roberts. However, he was actually the 1950 National League Most Valuable Player and was the team’s closer. His 16 wins were third on the team while he also led the Phillies with 22 saves.
Why Konstanty didn’t make the set is anybody’s guess and he is by the far the largest omission. Perhaps he had a larger separate supplement dedicated to him but whatever the reason, he does not appear here.
- Richie Ashburn
- Jimmy Bloodworth
- Ralph Caballero
- Milo Candini
- Bubba Church
- Sylvester Donnelly
- Del Ellis
- Mike Goliat
- Granny Hamner
- Ken Heintzelman
- Stan Hollmig
- Ken Johnson
- Willie Jones
- Stan Lopata
- Russ Meyer
- Bob Miller
- Bill Nicholson
- Robin Roberts
- Andy Seminick
- Ken Silvestri
- Dick Sisler
- Curt Simmons
- Eddie Waitkus
- Dick Whitman
Finding these photographs can be a daunting task. A collector’s best bet is typically going to be on eBay or a Philadelphia-area dealer. They are difficult to locate but are seen on occasion. Despite their rarity, values for them are not steep. Typically, commons are in the $20-$30 range with stars like Ashburn and Roberts more.
Because they are not well known by collectors, prices can fluctuate significantly. Those looking for them can be led to pay more while those selling may be forced to take less if an educated buyer cannot be found.
Complete sets are not usually seen. However, in July, one sold on eBay with an asking price of $485 and a best offer accepted. In addition, this low-grade set sold for only $100 in a 2014 auction.