Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Hobby in 1910 Part 4

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
It's 1910 in Philadelphia. You're 9 years old and you're in a hurry.

Your brother and you have been assigned to hock papers near 20th Street and Lehigh Avenue, which happens to be the address of your sanctuary.

Good ol' Shibe Park. Or perhaps it should be "Good new Shibe Park". Since the arena was built last year, this has become the hottest corner in town for selling papers during the summer. Your brother is a bit younger, so people seem to buy from him first. You can hear the crack of the bat as the players warm up. You're down to your last paper. "Mister!" you holler at a gentlemen walking buy. "Mister, I'll trade you my last paper here for the picture card in you cigarette pack." "Ah, a fine deal my boy." The man hands you the card which you shove in your pocket. You grab a few pennies and head for the ticket window.

The view inside is breathtaking. You've been to a few games at the Baker Bowl, but this is the first Athletics home game you've ever attended. You can't believe how many people are here! "There he is!" your brother says as he tugs on your pant leg. It's the talk of the world, the one and only Homerun Baker!

You know today is going to be great. You reach into your pocket and find the cigarette card. It features a funny looking Indian, but you don't mind.

Welcome back to 2014. Indian Medicine Man is one of the more iconic cards in the T73 "Indian Life in the '60's" set by Hassan Tobacco. A wise Indian in a cutoff buffalo hide shirt is holding some sort of ball on a stick. A sick child lays near by in a dearskin sleeping bag (safe for use down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit according to the tag). A well wrapped woman tries not to suffocate on the smoke. Ladies and gents, these folks are hotboxing the teepee. 

Oh, it's a medicine rattle. Nevermind that most everyone in the world thought illnesses came from evil spirits up until the last couple hundred of years. This card is another example of the beautiful artwork that only the T73 set provided at the time. I can't harp enough on how incredible it is that after 104 years the color used on these cards has held up so well. These were meant to be tossed away, not held on to. If your 2014 Bowman Jose Abreu RC still looks this good in 2118, then I'll eat my hat.


  1. Very cool. I love seeing old baseball photos. Looking at the stadium, that's a lot of hats.

  2. I like the old photos and the old cards. Are the photos from the Library of Congress online repository?

    1. A couple have been. I've used some from Shorpy, the rest just come from google searches.

  3. This is still one of my favorite series on the blogosphere. Keep 'em comin'!