The famous T206 white border set included not only most of the major stars of the day, but also multiple cards of numerous players. While the T205 set that came after it was a star-studded release as well, there was a little room for improvement. Part of the reason for some omissions was due to the smaller nature of the set since it had only 208 cards (not counting the errors that have since been discovered) as opposed to the 524 found in ‘The Monster.’
Still, even a few more big names would have improved the set dramatically. Here are five cards that would have made it even better.
Jackson cards are scarce as it is with his playing career ending at the young age of 32. One of the all-time greats, Jackson batted .356 before his career was abruptly ended in 1920 due to the White Sox scandal in the 1919 World Series. Jackson maintained innocence but was one of eight players on the team banished from Major League Baseball.
Jackson is one of the few stars that did not appear in the American Tobacco Company’s (ATC) T205, T206, or T207 sets. His addition here, perhaps more than anyone else, would have been a welcome one.
The story of the T206 Wagner card is known by even non-collectors these days. Wagner’s likeness was used before he gave his permission and his cards were quickly pulled from production. Some made it into the packs of cigarettes, however, and today, the card is the most valuable in the hobby, selling for seven figures and sometimes higher. Wagner did later appear in tobacco products but did not make it into the T205 set.
One of the greatest players of his generation, his absence is a significant one. A card of the Flying Dutchman would instantly provide a major boost to the already popular set.
A Hall of Fame pitcher, Plank won 326 games with Philadelphia and St. Louis during his 17-year career. His card is one of the ‘Big 4’ cards in the T206 set due to its tremendous scarcity and even though he appears there, most collectors will never have the opportunity to acquire that card.
If Plank’s T206 card had regular production in that set, his omission here may not be quite as glaring. But with such a rare opportunity to secure his T206 card and no presence in the T207 set, his omission in the ATC’s middle T205 set is even more glaring.
Smoky Joe Wood
Up until 1912, Wood had only been slightly better than a .500 pitcher in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox. In that season, however, he put it all together to have one of the most dominant campaigns of all time. In 1912, Wood was an amazing 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA and pitching 35 complete games with ten strikeouts. He would go on to win three games for the Red Sox in the World Series at the end of the season.
Oddly enough, Wood did appear in the T202 Hassan Triple Folders set, that used the same artwork from the T205 set. But he was one of only two players in that T202 issue that was left out of the T205 release. Suffice to say, if Wood was included in the T205 set, it would be even more popular than it already is. Wood, who was also bypassed in the earlier T206 set, managed to squeeze into the T207 issue a year later in 1912.
I know, I get it. “But Ty Cobb is already in the T205 set!” This much is true, but hear me out. Cobb had a total of four cards in the T206 set, short of only Hal Chase, who managed five cards in the release. Aside from the Big 4 and perhaps the scarce Demmitt/O’Hara St. Louis variations, the four Cobb cards are the highlights of the set. And aside from a few ultra scarce error cards in the T205 set, his card is king there, too.
Cobb was perhaps the game’s biggest star at the time and would go on to one of the finest careers in the entire sport. So while it might be nice to capitalize with another Hall of Famer left out from the T206 set such as Willie Keeler, Nap Lajoie, or Sam Crawford, I’ll take another Cobb card instead.