Napoleon Lajoie - 1933 Goudey

This card, much like the T206 Honus Wagner, is one of the great rarities and it features one of the best players from the first half of the 20th Century. Napoleon Lajoie was a three-time batting champion, finishing with 3,242 total hits and a .338 average. He was also considered the best defensive second baseman of the era. The card, which has always been one of the true symbols of the hobby, was not included in the original 1933 Goudey set. Instead, in 1934, collectors had to acquire the card direct from the manufacturer in order to complete their set. The missing card was sent through the mail to the collectors who contacted the Goudey company. Many of the examples were mailed with a paper clip affixed to it, leaving impressions on the surface of the card. As a result, you will encounter some examples that exhibit spider wrinkles along the front or back of the card. That said, and considering the overall rarity of the card, there are some highgrade examples in the marketplace. This is best explained by the fact that the card was never subject to insertion into packs, avoiding some of the traditional handling.

Napoleon Lajoie (1874-1959) is widely considered one of the greatest second basemen of all-time, on both sides of the ball, and ranked 29th on The Sporting News’ list of the “100 Greatest Baseball Players” in 1999. Napoleon attended only eight months of schooling before having to forego his education to work and help provide for his family after his father’s premature death. In his teens and 20s, Lajoie worked for a local textile mill in Rhode Island and eventually joined the teamsters, following in his father’s footsteps. While working as a cab driver, Nap also began making a name for himself on the local semi-pro diamonds and developed into a hired gun for New England teams, charging them between $2-5 per game, plus round-trip carfare, for his services. Lajoie soon caught the eye of the Philadelphia Phillies and began playing for them in 1896, spending five seasons with the National League club (1896-1900). In 1900, after a contract dispute with Phils ownership, Napoleon jumped ship and headed across town to play for the Philadelphia Athletics of the newly formed American League. Though Phillies owner, John Rogers, eventually blocked the move, Lajoie was able to play the 1901 seasons with the A’s, and what a season he had. Taking advantage of the diluted talents of American League teams, Napoleon led the AL in nearly every offensive category including runs (145), hits (232), doubles (48), home runs (14), RBI (125), on-base percentage (.463) and slugging percentage (643), while posting the highest batting average of the 20th Century at .426, a record that remains today. Despite his success, due to his defection, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Napoleon could not play in Pennsylvania unless it was for the Phillies. Lajoie, in turn, signed with the Cleveland Broncos and skipped games against the Athletics during his time in Cleveland.

Fans and management in Cleveland fell in love with Napoleon and one year after his arrival renamed the team the Naps in honor of the oversized, yet extremely talented second baseman. Also known as Larry, Lajoie spent 13 years in a Cleveland uniform (1902-1914) and won four bating titles, including the controversial 1910 crown over Detroit Tigers centerfielder Ty Cobb. With Cobb leading the race on the final day of the season, as the Naps faced the St. Louis Browns, Brown manager Jack O’Connor, who despised Cobb ordered his rookie third baseman (Red Corriden) to play deep throughout the Browns-Naps doubleheader. Lajoie needed to reach base on virtually every at-bat in order to snatch the title from Cobb. As a result of Corriden playing so deep, Lajoie reached base on seven bunt singles to edge Cobb. O’Connor was immediately fired and Major League Baseball Commissioner Ban Johnson overturned the result and named Cobb the official winner one week later. Lajoie hits better than .300 in 16 seasons and topped the .350-mark ten times. He led the league in Doubles five times, batting average and hits four times, RBI and slugging percentage three times and twice in on-base percentage and also captured baseball’s Triple Crown in 1901 with 14 home runs, 125 RBI and a .426 batting average. During Nap’s electric 1901 season, he became the first Major League player to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded in order to minimize the damage. Defensively, Napoleon led the league five times in putouts and three times in assists. When Larry Lajoie left Cleveland to return to Philadelphia and play for Connie Mack and the A’s once more in 1915, the teamed was renamed the Indians, which remains today. Larry retired with a career batting average of .339, had 3,252 hits and 82 home runs while also stealing 380 bases. He also served as player/manager from 1905 to 1909 and posted a 377-309 record in 700 games. Napoleon Lajoie was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.



Condition Census (Explain)

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MINT 9
1 MINT 9
1 MINT 9
1 MINT 9
1 MINT 9
1 MINT 9
1 MINT 9
1 MINT 9
1 MINT 9
2 NM-MT+ 8.5

AUCTION PRICES REALIZED

Date Price Grade Lot # Auction House Auction/Seller Type Cert
11/06/2006 $123,488 9 204 SCP Auctions SCP Auctions November 2006 Internet Auction Auction 02043348
06/10/2010 $113,938 9 108 SCP Auctions SCP Auctions Spring 2010 Internet Auction Auction 14809280
12/21/2012 $103,137 9 283 Lelands Fall 2012 Catalog Auction Auction 02024708
11/05/2016 $228,000 9 11 Goldin Auctions Inaugural Great American Trading Card Auction- Closing October 1 Auction 02002301
02/26/2017 $204,000 9 80030 Heritage Auctions Heritage Platinum Night Sports Coll. February 25-26, 2017 Auction 02024708
11/18/2017 $144,000 9 80417 Heritage Auctions Heritage November 16-18, 2017 Auction 02024708
11/27/2010 $43,880 8 370 Mile High Card Company November 2010 Auction 05044461
07/31/2015 $71,700 8 80014 Heritage Auctions 2015 July 30 - 31 Sports Collectibles Platinum N... Jul 31, 2015 Auction 08000760
11/16/2015 $74,090 8 912 Goldin Auctions October Legends and Americana Ending November 14th Auction 01124239
04/14/2016 $119,500 8 80106 Heritage Auctions April 14 2016 1933 Goudey PSA Set Registry Catal... Apr 14, 2016 Auction 02107630
10/26/2007 $33,460 7 19115 Heritage Auctions 2007 October Signature Sports Collectibles Aucti... Oct 26, 2007 Auction 03731095
11/10/2010 $38,588 7 838 SCP Auctions SCP Auctions November 2010 Internet Auction Auction 01000596
04/14/2014 $41,475 7 11 Robert Edward Auctions 2014 Spring Auction 02062406
07/31/2015 $43,740 7 54 Goldin Auctions Summer Premium and Catalog Auction July 31 and Aug 8 Auction 04089428
08/09/2009 $25,200 6 13 Greg Bussineau Auctions Summer 2009 Vintage Trading Cards and Memorabilia Auction Auction 12255404
03/20/2015 $26,760 6 22 Mile High Card Company March 2015 Auction Auction 15385995
01/17/2017 $43,776 6 1 Memory Lane, Inc. 2016 Winter Rarities Auction Auction 01625667
09/21/2017 $38,400 6 50106 Heritage Auctions September 2017 1933 Goudey PSA Auction Auction 01625667
01/01/2018 $43,730 6 12 Memory Lane, Inc. High Grade Card Auction and a Few Surprises Auction 09037938
01/01/2018 $29,375 6 6 Memory Lane, Inc. Historical Classic Rarities Auction Auction 12255404
01/09/2009 $28,297 5 38 SCP Auctions SCP Auctions January 2009 Internet Auction Auction 15636476
02/01/2016 $31,070 5 679 Goldin Auctions Winter Auction 2016 Closing January 30th Auction 01124223
01/01/2009 $23,500 4 471 Robert Edward Auctions 2009 Auction Auction 15087344
02/09/2009 $29,711 4 2 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XX Auction 90065343
12/16/2012 $19,130 4 31 Memory Lane, Inc. The Find Winter 2012 Auction 20024009
01/01/2013 $20,145 4 453 Robert Edward Auctions 2013 Auction Auction 20024009
10/30/2017 $42,000 4 722 Robert Edward Auctions 2017 Fall Auction 19619790
12/08/2017 $38,752 4 11 Mile High Card Company December 2017 Auction 03142925
12/03/2016 $22,140 3.5 4 Love of the Game Auctions Fall, 2016 Premier Auction - Closes November 19 Auction 26026592
10/29/2005 $10,158 3 19470 Heritage Auctions 2005 October (HSC) Signature Auction Oct 29, 2005 Auction 06007393
06/22/2018 $29,575 3 2 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons LXXV Auction 50081764
05/06/2006 $8,963 2 19547 Heritage Auctions 2006 May (HSC) Signature Auction May 6, 2006 Auction 31467176
12/15/2006 $11,717 2 26 Memory Lane, Inc. Holy Grail Fall 2006 Auction 06510158
08/28/2016 $23,900 2 80160 Heritage Auctions 2016 August 27-28 Sports Collectibles Platinum A... Aug 28, 2016 Auction 04235299
06/29/2017 $33,600 2 80126 Heritage Auctions 2017 June 29 Premium Sportscard Catalog Auction - Dallas Ended Jun 29th Auction 27220770
01/01/2018 $13,767 2 26 Memory Lane, Inc. Holy Grail Auction Auction 06510158
01/01/2006 $22,040 Auth 303 Robert Edward Auctions 2006 Auction Auction 90428311
01/01/2013 $22,515 Auth 449 Robert Edward Auctions 2013 Auction Auction 19199984