The T201 Mecca Double Folders set was interactive, long before the term came into vogue. Each card featured two players with a long vertical image of one on one side and the top of of a second on the other. The cards had a factory ‘fold’ and when the top half was folded down, the second player’s upper body would be displayed against the same lower body of the player on the other side.
The set isn’t for everybody and it’s odd dimensions present for some problematic storage (or, more importantly, viewing) issues. But it’s a legitimate tobacco card set that is relatively affordable with many mid-to-lower grade cards selling on eBay for under $25.
A total of 50 cards are found in the set so there are an even 100 players featured. But while that’s quite a few, several notable stars are missing in action. With all due respect to several other potential players, here are five of them.
Young is possibly the biggest name missing from the T201 set, which is kind of a shame. 1911, the year these cards were produced, was his final year in the majors. He was still active at the time and did find his way into other sets that late, such as the T205 gold border release.
Now, with a 7-9 record and a equally pedestrian 3.78 ERA, Young was well past his prime. This wasn’t the same pitcher as in his heyday and 1911 was, statistically, his worst year. But he was still a genuine legend and, as evidenced by the fact that he remained in plenty of other sets in his final years, he was certainly still a draw.
Seeing Young in this set would have been a nice improvement and given collectors another chance at an affordable tobacco card of a Hall of Famer.
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Right there with Young in terms of name recognition is Shoeless Joe Jackson.
Jackson, too, is not in the T201 set. But while Young was near the end of his career, Jackson’s was only just beginning. Now, Jackson did play in the majors in 1908, 1909, and 1910, but only sparingly. He appeared in only 30 total games over that three-year stretch and the bulk of that was in 1910 when he saw action in 20 games.
Jackson had bounced around quite a bit between the majors and minor leagues early in his career. It took him some time to really get playing time and that happened in 1911 when he hit .408 that year and led the league with a .468 on base percentage.
But assuming the cards were printed prior to the start of the season, there was no way to know Jackson would have the kind of year he did. As a result, leaving him out made sense at the time.
With only two players per T201 card, someone from the famous Tinker / Evers / Chance trio was bound to be left out. That turned out to be Joe Tinker.
All three are Hall of Famers and all three are often mentioned in the same breath, forming a legendary double play unit. But with only two players per card, there was simply no room for a third on the same card and Tinker was the casualty.
Now, of the group, Tinker was probably the least heralded. He never won a major award and was a career .264 hitter. Meanwhile, Evers won a Most Valuable Player Award and Chance was a much better batsman. But the set still seems lacking with both of those players in it and Tinker on the outside.
Typically these lists are filled with big names. But while Schulte isn’t really a household name by today’s standards, he would have been a great addition to the T201 set. Simply put, at the time of production, he was a star player.
Schulte led the league in home runs in 1910 and 1911. And while he did so on a pedestrian level by today’s standards, his 31 combined homers were still tops at the time. But the real reason he deserved to be in this set was because he was the 1911 National League Most Valuable Player. That year, Schulte hit an even .300 while also leading the league in RBI, slugging percentage, and total bases.
The same rule sort of applies as it did to Jackson in that, if the cards were produced prior to the season, it would be impossible to tell he’d have that kind of year. But as the defending home run champion from 1910, you can still make the case he belonged.
Wagner is the missing piece in most tobacco card sets and T201 is no different. He appeared only as a shortprint in the American Tobacco Company’s T206 set, which began production in 1909. With that card assumed to have been printed without his permission, it is no surprise he did not find his way into this ATC set or the company’s 1912 T207 release.
Wagner needs no introduction by me and it should go without saying that he was one of the top players of his era. And as his Pittsburgh Pirates won the 1909 World Series, he was a sought after figure in card sets. He was inducted into Cooperstown and almost all of his cards are generally on the pricey side.
No Wagner card here is certainly something that diminishes the quality of the set.