1934 Goudey

Goudey’s 1934 Big League Gum set consists of 96 cards and continued the trendsetting Golden Age for collectibles. Goudey retained the cards’ 2-3/8" by 2-7/8" size, sturdy construction, painted images and blazing color that had set a modern standard in terms of eye-appeal. Minor tweaks to the cardfront included discreet line-drawing graphics of ball-playing figures in action, and a showcase of one of the game’s most prominent heroes. The bottom one-fifth areas of 1934 Goudey's cardfront player depictions, in the majority of the series' subjects, are devoted to a blue strip holding a small likeness of Yankees immortal Lou Gehrig, along with the legend "Lou Gehrig says ... " Statements ostensibly authored by Lou appeared on the backs of the cards and constituted the entirety of the items' descriptive texts. (To achieve balance between rival leagues, Chicago Cubs slugger Chuck Klein performed the same role, with his photo presented in a red strip at the lower edge, on most of the set's high-numbered cards.)

The lowest numbers in the 1934 Goudey set are packed full of superstars and future Cooperstown honorees. The flagship entry - the #1 card - pictures slugger Jimmie Foxx; he and Mickey Cochrane, Dizzy Dean, Leo Durocher and Chuck Klein are all found within the issue's first ten numbers, followed by the likes of Paul Waner, Frank Frisch, Carl Hubbell and Lefty Grove. Lesser stars take over midway through the set's lineup, but the rookie card of Hank Greenberg (#62) and a high-numbered keepsake of KiKi Cuyler (#90) merit special mention. Unlike its 1933 series, Goudey's 1934 issue avoided multiple portrayals of the same player, with only Gehrig (#s 37 and 61) afforded more than one card. The 1934 Goudey set's "High Number" series (#s 73-96, and, to a lesser extent, #s 49-72) are among the toughest entries. The most glaring absence is that of Babe Ruth, who was, at the time, in his last year with the Yankees.

After single-handedly reinventing and invigorating the gum card market in 1933, the Goudey Gum Company was on track for a satisfying encore performance the following year. Its clientele's expectations were high and the Bostonbased confectioner delivered the goods.

The 1934 edition of Goudey's "Big League Chewing Gum" reflected the best choice its maker could possibly have selected in terms of basic premise, namely, it kept all of its glowing and trend-setting 1933 innovations intact. Such top-quality pieces as the 1933 Goudey cards must have required much more expense to produce than the smaller, less-impressive collectibles that had come before - and which were doubtless mentioned at some point by those in charge of Goudey's finances - but the company still held true to the vision established by its spectacular 1933 effort. The 1934s retained their predecessors' large size, sturdy construction, painted images and blazing color, and one can easily imagine that a buyer's excitement at first sight of the new 1934 cards was mixed with relief that the items were, once again, superb in character.

In 1934, Goudey managed to satisfy the truly difficult goal faced by every manufacturer of products that require annual revision - improving upon a concept without diluting its essence - in fine style. Goudey didn't subject its cardfronts to a drastic redesign, but it improved them. Where solid colors had been employed as many of the 1933s' backgrounds, 1934s added discreet line-drawing graphics of ballplaying figures in action. And, where 1933s offered straightforward company name blocks in the caption areas of most entries, 1934s took pains to showcase one of the game's most prominent heroes.

The bottom one-fifth areas of 1934 Goudey's cardfront player depictions, in the majority of the series' subjects, are devoted to a blue strip holding a small likeness of Yankees immortal Lou Gehrig, along with the legend "Lou Gehrig says ... " Statements ostensibly authored by Lou appeared on the backs of of the cards and constituted the entirety of the items' descriptive texts. This was a gimmick that highlighted an explicit endorsement of the cards by one of the game's finest! To achieve balance between rival leagues, Chicago Cubs slugger Chuck Klein performed the same role, with his photo presented in a red strip at the lower edge, on most of the set's high-numbered cards. Interestingly, both men's appearances, as noted on each cardback, were arranged by Christy Walsh, the time's famously relentless promoter who is widely acknowledged as the first "sports agent."

Composition - The 1934 Goudey release is complete at 96 cards. Perhaps more were planned for later issue, but the series' roster of just eight dozen subjects reveals a thoroughness in player selection that should have inspired thrills in even the most demanding fan.

The lowest numbers in the 1934 Goudey set are packed full of superstars and future Cooperstown honorees. The flagship entry - the #1 card - pictures charismatic slugger Jimmie Foxx; he and Mickey Cochrane, Dizzy Dean, Leo Durocher and Chuck Klein are all found within the issue's first ten numbers! Following in rapid order are Paul Waner, Frank Frisch, Carl Hubbell, Lefty Grove and others. Lesser stars take over midway through the set's lineup, but the rookie card of Hank Greenberg (#62) and a high-numbered keepsake of KiKi Cuyler (#90) merit special mention.

Unlike its 1933 series, Goudey's 1934 issue avoided multiple portrayals of the same player. Only Lou Gehrig (#s 37 and 61) is afforded more than one card. The majority of enthusiasts, if questioned, would indicate he deserved the distinction and, in any case, both of Gehrig's cards display attributes of beauty that place the pieces among the most attractive and cherished of all 1930s gum cards

Omissions? The most glaring shortcoming in 1934 Goudey would seem to be the absence of Babe Ruth, who was, at the time, toiling in his last year with Gehrig's Yankees. The set's noteworthy lack of a Ruth card is a mysterious circumstance. Perhaps, 1934 was seen as Gehrig's turn to shine, and Walsh didn't want the Iron Horse to share the spotlight with another larger-than-life client. Since the Babe was featured in Goudey's 1934 Premium issue (known today as R309-1, and consisting of just four subjects presented in an eye-catching 5 ½" by 8 13/16" format), it's possible that this large piece was regarded as Ruth's 1934 Goudey card. Regardless, the treatment given to the majority of the sport's most important contemporary figures is sufficiently special that even the Bambino is barely missed.

Key Features and Rarities - The 1934 Goudey set's "High Number" series (including #s 73-96, and, to a lesser extent, #s 49-72) are much tougher than the foregoing entries. Owing to the concentration of stars among the lower numbers, however, this situation might not have caused too much consternation during the time of 1934 Goudey's original distribution. (The same can't be said for modern collectors, many of whom encounter monumental frustration in attempting to assemble the "Highs!") The set was produced on four 24-card press sheets; on one of these, the famous 1933 Goudey #106 Napoleon Lajoie - complete with its 1933-style reverse -shares space with 23 "Lou Gehrig says..." and "Chuck Klein says..." cards for 1934.

Bottom Line - The 1934 release seemed to herald more great things for Goudey's future, with the abridged nature of the 96-card set acting as the only possible cause for alarm to those who noticed it. Indisputably a treasured issue that merits "all-time" accolades, 1934 Goudey receives the highest marks for its artwork, content and overall substance ... it would be quite a few years before the hobby saw another production that could have been described even remotely as its equal! .

POPULAR CARDS

# CARD NAME
1 Jimmy Foxx
2 Mickey Cochrane
3 Charlie Grimm
4 Woody English
5 Ed Brandt
6 Dizzy Dean
7 Leo Durocher
8 Tony Piet
9 Ben Chapman
10 Chuck Klein
11 Paul Waner
12 Carl Hubbell
13 Frank Frisch
14 Willie Kamm
15 Alvin Crowder
16 Joe Kuhel
17 Hugh Critz
18 Heinie Manush
19 Lefty Grove
20 Frank Hogan
21 Bill Terry
22 Floyd Vaughan
23 Charley Gehringer
24 Ray Benge
25 Roger Cramer
26 Gerald Walker
27 Luke Appling
28 Ed Coleman
29 Larry French
30 Julius Solters
31 Baxter Jordan
32 Blondy Ryan
33 Don Hurst
34 Chick Hafey
35 Ernie Lombardi
36 Huck Betts
37 Lou Gehrig
38 Oral Hildebrand
39 Fred Walker
40 John Stone
41 George Earnshaw
42 John Allen
43 Dick Porter
44 Tom Bridges
45 Oscar Melillo
46 Joe Stripp
47 John Frederick
48 Tex Carleton
49 Sam Leslie
50 Walter Beck
51 Rip Collins
52 Herman Bell
53 George Watkins
54 Wesley Schulmerich
55 Ed Holley
56 Mark Koenig
57 Bill Swift
58 Earl Grace
59 Joe Mowry
60 Lynn Nelson
61 Lou Gehrig
62 Hank Greenberg
63 Minter Hayes
64 Frank Grube
65 Cliff Bolton
66 Mel Harder
67 Bob Weiland
68 Bob Johnson
69 John Marcum
70 Pete Fox
71 Lyle Tinning
72 Arndt Jorgens
73 Ed Wells
74 Bob Boken
75 Bill Werber
76 Hal Trosky
77 Joe Vosmik
78 Pinkey Higgins
79 Eddie Durham
80 Marty McManus
81 Bob Brown
82 Bill Hallahan
83 Jim Mooney
84 Paul Derringer
85 Adam Comorosky
86 Lloyd Johnson
87 George Darrow
88 Homer Peel
89 Linus Frey
90 Ki Ki Cuyler
91 Dolph Camilli
92 Steve Larkin
93 Fred Ostermueller
94 Red Rolfe
95 Myril Hoag
96 Jim DeShong