These days he would have had one by the time he appeared in the major leagues. In reality, Stan Musial didn’t find himself on a bubble gum card until 1948—seven seasons after his big league debut. World War II had something to do with that, of course, but the dearth of early Musial images makes a recent pretty special.
If you love baseball history, the Vintage Photo of the Day in cooperation with RMY Auctions is better than a rookie card. The photograph shows Musial and a new teammate checking out their new big league uniforms on September 16, 1941. The posed shot of 20-year-old Stan the Man is the first taken after he was called up to the major leagues from Rochester of the International League.
The 6 ½ x 8 ½” image was filed into a newspaper archive the next day, when Musial made his debut in the second game of a doubleheader. On the back are clippings showing the photo in print that day.
Musial went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs in his debut as the Cardinals’ left fielder. He would play in 12 games during the 1941 pennant race, banging out 20 hits and impressing the Cardinals enough that he would become a regular the following season when he led St. Louis to the NL Championship.
Locating images from that first full season of 1942 are difficult. Resources were cut back as the nation focused its attention on the war and the rare photo taken just 24 hours before his first game a year earlier is a significant find that is generating strong bidder interest ahead of the Sunday night auction close.
Read more about it—and the other 300+ photos up for bid at RMYAuctions.com.