Quick, think. Name a 1933 baseball card issue from the Boston area. Well, it's Goudey, of course! Hey, not so fast! Another company, DeLong, also put out a pioneering effort in the same year, and also in Beantown! History has relegated the DeLong set to the shadows, as it pales in size to the monstrous 240 card (including card #106, which came out in 1934) set of Goudeys issued the same year, but the set of DeLongs stands proudly with it's 24 colorful and informative cards.
The DeLong set has several appealing features. The most immediate is the attractiveness of the cards themselves. Each card shows a "Giant" sized action pose of the featured player inside a stadium setting. The predominant colors used on the cards are pastels, with red, yellow, and baby blue most commonly seen.
Equally impressive are the cards' reverses, which feature specific "inside" tips on how to better play the game. These are amazingly insightful and show us modern fans that the game was quite advanced as long ago as the 1930's. For instance, Lefty Grove's card talks about how the final snap of his wrist as he releases his fastball creates backspin, which causes the ball to rise as it reaches the batter, consequently often making him undercut the ball and pop it up.
The back of the "Rabbit" Maranville card is also extremely interesting, as it covers the evolution of hitting from the choke hold "spray" hitters of the teens and early 1920's to the "free swingers" of the present day, (1933). I guess that we could make a similar commentary on our modern game!
Another element of this set that creates desire is the scarcity. Obviously not nearly as well or widely distributed as its Goudey counterpart, the DeLongs have sporadically turned up in small groups throughout the East and Midwest, usually in 5 or 10 card groupings and in beat-up condition. The Summer 2000 PSA Population Report shows that they have graded a total of 387 DeLongs, with only 90 examples grading the straight 8 or 9. That's an average of less than 4 copies of each card in true investment grade! Wow! Certain cards, like those of KiKi Cuyler, Riggs Stephenson, Lon Warneke, and Goose Goslin are so rare in high grade that either 0 or 1 copies have been graded Nm-Mt 8 or higher! Even the set's key card, that of the Iron Horse himself, Lou Gehrig, shows a mere 3 examples graded 8, with none higher!
The final piece of the puzzle is player selection. The 1933 Goudey set includes 240 cards, with 64 of them picturing Hall of Famers, or 26.7% of the set. The DeLong set, with 24 cards, features an astounding 15 HOF'ers, or 62.5% of the set! Several collectors out there love to acquire cards and learn the history of baseball's Hall of Fame performers, with the so-called common players not nearly as appealing. This is the type of set for a collector of that nature!
Overlooked, but not forgotten, the 1933 DeLongs are truly a "Larger than Life" set! If you're up to a great challenge, you should look to accumulate the set, in any condition, for all of the reasons stated here and many more!
Enjoy your hobby!