Goudey ruled baseball cards in the 1930s but plenty of other sets made their mark and remain popular even today. One of those is the Diamond Stars set.
These cards had an art deco feel and were issued from 1934 through 1936. After the Goudey sets of the 1930s, these cards are some of the more popular ones from the 1930s.
Minus variations, the set includes a healthy 108 cards. But while it includes many of the big names from the era, a few are noticeably absent. While that helps to keep its cost down, it also provides a bit of a disappointment for collectors. Here are five missing players that could have improved the set.
Ruth is without a doubt the key missing player in the set. He was technically done as a major leaguer after the 1935 season but he was still playing when these cards were first released and easily could have been included.
Interestingly enough, Ruth was also left out of the 1934 Goudey set that Lou Gehrig headlined. But for whatever reason, his absence here is also unexplained. His career was certainly winding down by the time production began on this set. But he was also still a beloved figure and found his way into many sets, even after his career ended.
Ruth is the clear headliner not found in the set and his credentials as a player speak for themselves. But there are several others that could have been considered, too.
DiMaggio’s absence here is far more understood than Ruth’s. In 1936, after all, he was only a rookie and that was the final year these cards were issued. But he did appear in other 1936 sets so a few companies at least saw the potential importance for him being offered.
Simply put, DiMaggio would go on to become one of the best players in history. His brilliance was seen immediately as he started for the Yankees in his rookie year, batted .323, clubbed 29 home runs, and even led the league with 15 triples.
A DiMaggio rookie card in this set would no doubt be an expensive addition. But if he was added, his card could have been the most popular one in the entire release.
Gehrig is, of course, another major omission in this popular set. Given how important he was to the Yankees, it is tough to determine why he was not included.
Gehrig was one of baseball’s best players in the years when this set was released. He led the league in home runs in both 1934 and 1936, hitting 49 each year. He also led the league in a slew of other categories from 1934-36 and was the Most Valuable Player in 1936.
His contract with Goudey could have had something to do with his omission since he was the set’s headliner in 1934. But Gehrig did not appear in Goudey’s 1935 and 1936 sets, so it seems his availability to appear elsewhere at least in those years would not have been an issue.
Whatever the reason, his absence here is not a welcome one.
Dizzy Dean was one of baseball’s best pitchers in the 1930s and given that his dominance coincided perfectly with the release of this set, it is difficult to wonder why he didn’t make an appearance in it.
Dean’s career was abundantly short but it can be argued that no pitcher was better from 1934-36. Pitching with the St. Louis Cardinals, Dean led the league in wins in both 1934 and 1935, combining for 58 victories in those two seasons. He won the 1934 Most Valuable Player Award and finished second in both 1935 and 1936.
Unfortunately, his career was halted with injury issues. That meant he didn’t appear in as many sets as he probably should have. Given that, it’s a shame he wasn’t included in this one.
Like DiMaggio, Feller’s absence is a bit more explainable than the veterans on this list. Feller was only a rookie in 1936 and he didn’t make his first appearance until July of that year.
But even though he was only 17 at time, he immediately showed flashes of brilliance. In limited action as a starting pitcher, Feller was a modest 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA. But he pitched five complete games and also struck out batters at a ridiculous rate (76 whiffs in only 62 innings pitched) considering he wasn’t even technically an adult.
Feller’s inclusion may not have been possible given that artwork was needed and that he did appear until later in the year. But a true Feller rookie card would have been a strong addition to a set missing some other key stars.