In 1952 and 1953, west coast-based Mother’s Cookies issued two sets of baseball cards as a spring and summer promotion for their products. Here’s a closer look at these unique sets of minor league players.
1950s Mother’s Cookies Basics
While the brand may not have been familiar to most consumers east of the Rockies, Mother’s Cookies issued bakery products from 1914 until 2008. While modern day collectors came to know them through a long-running series of sets in the 1980s and 90s, those were actually modern remixes of a style the company unveiled decades earlier.
The company partnered with the Pacific Coast League in the early 1950s to create cards as a promotion for their packages of goodies. The partnership made sense as Mother’s Cookies was local to the territory. With the exception of their five-cent packages, one of these baseball cards was distributed with every package of their products.
The cards were certainly different than the standard baseball issues produced by Topps and Bowman. While those cards had borders and sharp corners, the Mother’s Cookies cards were borderless with a full bleed (allowing the pictures to extend all the way to the edge) and had rounded corners.
In each year of the cards’ production, they had full, vibrant color pictures of players on the front. The fronts varied slightly in that the 1953 cards have replica signatures of the players while the 1952 cards do not. But in general, they look similar. The fronts also include the player’s name along with his team name. In all, the 1952 set included a total of 64 cards while 63 were found in the 1953 set. Both sets are cataloged as D357 — the 1952 issue is cataloged as D357-1 while the 1953 set is D357-2. Shown here are examples of cards for Lefty O’Doul from each set.
Backs of the cards were also similar but slightly different. The two backs shared a similar layout with the player’s name, a card number, and some statistics at the top. But they varied with different sponsorship messages on the backs. 1952 cards included an offer for 200 foreign postage stamps (for only ten cents and two Mother’s Cookies labels). 1953 cards, however, had an offer for collectors to receive an album to hold the complete 1953 baseball card set. That album was also personalized to include the collector’s name. It was available for the grand sum of only twenty-five cents and two Mother’s Cookies labels.
Finally, some variations are also known as well. A handful of cards, for example, are found with schedules printed on the backs instead of the standard advertising backs. Cards with the schedule backs are significantly rarer than those with the advertising backs.
Mother’s Cookies Stars
As these are both minor league baseball sets, several of the players in it will not be familiar to even experienced collectors. The sets include many names of players that never turned into successful big leaguers or ones that had modest careers. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t recognizable names in it.
The 1952 Mother’s Cookies set includes several players that would become major leaguers. Keys to that set include some players that had already had established careers, though. Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Joe Gordon were managers, as was star Lefty O’Doul. Their cards are among the most desirable in the entire set.
That 1952 Mother’s Cookies set also includes a key card of Chuck Connors. Connors was also a basketball player and a famous actor, starring in The Rifleman. While Connors did not have much of a baseball career, he did reach the major leagues. In all, he played a total of 67 games with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs (66 of those contests were with the Cubs). And because of his notoriety as an actor, his card is quite valuable. Connors’ card, shown here, depicts him as a member of the Los Angeles Angels.
More stars surfaced in 1953, though to a lesser degree. That set also included O’Doul as a manager, as well as some other players, including major league all-stars Augie Galan and Stan Hack, who had also become managers.
Rarity and Pricing
Cards from both of the Mother’s Cookies sets are somewhat rare by comparison, but most are not scarce. Some perceived shortprints in the set are tough finds, however. To date, PSA has only graded a little more than 1,000 of the 1952 Mother’s Cookies cards while grading about 1,900 cards from the 1953 set. SGC had examined and rated 82 cards from the ’52 and 69 from the ’53.
Prices for these cards, as with any set, are dependent upon the card’s condition and the player shown. But mid-grade commons from the sets generally start around $15-$25. Stars, such as Ott, O’Doul, and Gordon are more. The card for the aforementioned Connors, which would otherwise be a common if not for his acting and basketball career, sells for several hundred dollars.
Click here to see cards from both the 1952 and 1953 sets on eBay.