The 1938 Goudey issue known as “Heads Up” was an odd release in multiple ways. For one thing, card numbering begins at 241 as if a long delayed continuation of the 240-card 1933 Goudey set. For another, each of the 24 players in the set appears twice: in the first series (241-264) with a plain background and in the second series (265-288) with a cartoon background.
This article will focus on the second series and some of its more notable cartoons.
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE CAMEOS
Two of the cards in the set may hold special interest to Pacific Coast League collectors. The cards of Frank Demaree and Bobby Doerr note their tenure with the Sacramento Senators and Hollywood Stars, respectively.
The Goudey set also offers some places, big and small, of interest to collectors of particular regions or geographies.
Buffalo buffs, particularly alumni of Fosdick-Masten High School, will want the card of Frank Pytlak.
Hank Greenberg’s scholastic bona fides also received mention.
Long before San Jose was a hotbed for dot-coms, microchips, and crypto, it earned some ink on the card of Marvin Owen.
The set also includes a “pre-rookie card” of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, not opened until the following year, though the card is hardly a cheap one! (It’s possible, however, that the phrase Hall of Fame may be intended here figuratively, as was the case on the back of Carl Hubbell’s 1933 Goudey card 230.)
Other places featured by the set include the “corn country of Iowa” (Bob Feller), the smokestacks of Pittsburgh (Julius Solters), the palm trees of Tampa (Al Lopez), and the sandlots of Cleveland (Joe Vosmik). We’ll also take a closer look at Pageland, South Carolina, toward the end of this article.
While Zeke Bonura himself has his own cards in the set, Zeke collectors (and yes, that’s a thing!) will want to note his shout-out on the card of Joe Kuhel.
Two Hall of Famers also appear in the set’s cartoons…as managers! Here are Bill Terry and Mickey Cochrane on the cards of Dick Bartell and Rudy York.
I’ll also offer, completely tongue-in-cheek, this Little Poison cameo.
Previous baseball cards had included women, dating all the way back to the 1880s. This Babe Ruth card (or others) from the previous decade may also ring a bell. But speaking of ringing a bell, here’s the 1938 Goudey card of Zeke Bonura.
More notably, 1938 Goudey is the first U.S. baseball set to include African Americans. Sadly, the depiction is just as cringeworthy as one might expect for the era.
A VERITABLE “WHO’S ZOO” OF ANIMALS
On a lighter note, a scattering of animals across the set’s cartoons comes as no surprise, particularly when we have players named Moose (Solters) and Ducky (Medwick), not to mention various Detroit Tigers. Still, how about a jackrabbit…
or Boston Bees backstop “Señor” Al Lopez as an actual bee…
or–last but not least–a freaking octopus?!
Well, that’s all, folks, at least for the moment, but ‘toon in next time for more wacky baseball card hijinks, courtesy of yours truly!