Hank Greenberg - 1934 Goudey

This card features one of the most prolific sluggers in baseball history and it is his most visually appealing issue. Hank Greenberg had some incredible seasons for the Detroit Tigers and, despite missing nearly four years to military service, he left a permanent mark on the game. Greenberg posted career-highs of 183 RBI in 1937 and 58 homers in 1938, numbers that put him amongst the greatest sluggers in the game. In only nine full seasons, Greenberg amassed 331 homers and 1,276 RBI. He was named MVP twice, once in 1935 and again in 1940, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956. You will notice that Greenberg shares the front of the card with another great slugger of the era, Lou Gehrig, who appears on every card in the set. In an interesting twist, Greenberg almost ended up with the Bronx Bombers over in New York. He was offered a contract to join the team but they wanted him to play somewhere other than first base. They already had Gehrig in that slot, so Greenberg decided to sign on with Detroit. Both first basemen went on to terrorize pitchers throughout the league and make history in the process.

Henry Benjamin “Hank” Greenberg (January 1, 1911 - September 4, 1986) was one of the most feared right-handed hitters in the history of Major League Baseball, knocking out 331 career home runs in a mere 1,394 career games, an average of one home run for every 15.7 at-bats. Hammerin’ Hank posted extraordinary numbers despite losing four years to military service during World War II. Greenberg grew up in New York City where he graduated from James Monroe High School. The 6’4” gangly teen was somewhat awkward, but showed power at the plate, and worked hard on his fielding and base running to become a great fielder. Originally wooed by the New York Giants, the New York Yankees and the Washington Senators, Hank signed with the Detroit Tigers in 1929 considering Bill Terry, Lou Gehrig and up-and-comer Joe Kuhel were firmly entrenched at first base with these respective clubs. After a few seasons of minor league ball, including 1932 when he hit 39 home runs and 131 RBI for the Beaumont Exporters and won the Texas League’s MVP award, the Hebrew Hammer was called up in 1933. That rookie campaign, he appeared in 117 games and hit .301 with 135 hits, 12 homers and 85 RBI. In 1934, Greenberg bettered those numbers with a .339 batting average and a league leading 63 doubles as he led the Tigers to the American League pennant and World Series before they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. In 1935, Greenberg led the AL in home runs (36), total bases (389) and RBI (168) – setting a still unbroken record of 103 RBI by the All-Star break, and captured his first of two AL MVP awards. That year, he took Detroit back to the AL pennant and World Series, this time facing the Chicago Cubs. The Tigers beat the Cubs in six games to win the first World Series title in franchise history, but Hank suffered a broken wrist in Game 2 and was forced to watch the action from the bench.

Early in 1936, Hank broke his wrist second time and missed much of the season, but in 1937 he was back on track as he paced the American League with 184 RBI, third most in Major League history and was named to his first of four consecutive AL All-Star teams. In 1938, he tied Philadelphia’s Jimmie Foxx for most home runs by a right-handed batter (58) as he attempted to eclipse Babe Ruth’s long-standing home run record of 60 set in 1927. Speculation surrounding his assault on the record alleged that he was deprived of topping Ruth, being walked more than usual, because of anti-Semitism – a claim he vehemently refuted. But in 1939, Detroit management asked Hank to switch to left field in order to make room for the power hitting first baseman Rudy York who was quickly rising through the Tigers minor league system. In 1940, at 30 years old and playing in unfamiliar territory, Greenberg led the AL in doubles (50), home runs (41), RBI (150), slugging percentage (.671) and total bases (384). He also led al American League left fielders in putouts (297) and assists (14) while posting a .954 fielding percentage in left field to win his second AL MVP Award. He became the first player in history to win the league’s top trophy playing two different positions. After registering for the peacetime draft, Greenberg played only 19 games in 1941 before serving six months in the United States Army, discharged on December 5, 1941 – two days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Hank re-upped in February 1942 and spent the next four years serving his country during World War II. Discharged a second time on June 14, 1945, Greenberg homered in his first game back in a Detroit uniform and was a key factor in the Tigers’ return to the World Series in 1945. On the final day of the season, with darkness falling on the field as the Tigers faced the St. Louis Browns at Sportsman’s Park, umpire George Pipgras (a former player) nearly called the game due to darkness in the ninth inning. But Greenberg insisted he could see the ball as he approached home plate and proceeded to drive a grand slam into the bleachers and the Tigers to the AL pennant.

Greenberg and the Tigers won their second World Series title with Hank in the lineup that year. In 1946, he led the AL in home runs (44) and RBI (127) for the fourth time in his career in each category, but after refusing to accept a pay cut for the 1947 season, Hank was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. At 36, Greenberg’s numbers dipped considerably, but he was able to help mentor an up-and-coming star Ralph Kiner in the Pirates system. He was also compassionate and empathetic toward Brooklyn Dodgers rookie Jackie Robinson and welcomed the future Hall of Famer with open arms – one of the first players to extend a hand. Hank Greenberg retired after the 1947 season having amassed 1,628 hits including 379 doubles and 331 home runs, 1,046 runs scored, 1,274 RBI and a .313 career batting average in an astonishing 1,394 Major League games. In 13 seasons with Detroit (1930, 1933-1941, 1945-1946) and Pittsburgh (1947), he also posted a .990 fielding percentage. Following his playing days, he was hired as the director of the Cleveland Indians farm system and shortly thereafter became the club’s general manager. In 1959, he partnered with Bill Veeck to purchase the Chicago White Sox, where he again served as general manager and helped guide them their first American League pennant since 1919. He left the White Sox in 1961. Hank Greenberg was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956.



Condition Census (Explain)

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 GEM MT 10
2 MINT 9
2 MINT 9
2 MINT 9
3 NM-MT 8 (27)

AUCTION PRICES REALIZED

Date Price Grade Lot # Auction House Auction/Seller Type Cert
12/15/2006 $5,541 8 236 Memory Lane, Inc. Holy Grail Auction Auction 08119448
04/13/2007 $4,573 8 143 Memory Lane, Inc. Spring 2007 Auction Auction 06291893
01/01/2008 $2,644 8 553 Robert Edward Auctions 2008 Auction Auction 06191676
03/08/2008 $3,191 8 359 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XIV Auction 31519474
05/02/2008 $3,107 8 19093 Heritage Auctions 2008 May Signature Sports Collectibles Auction S... May 2, 2008 Auction 14948934
03/26/2009 $2,747 8 447 Mile High Card Company March 2009 Auction Auction 02076409
08/09/2009 $3,120 8 166 Greg Bussineau Auctions Summer 2009 Vintage Trading Cards and Memorabilia Auction Auction 10958748
08/15/2010 $3,163 8 180 Memory Lane, Inc. Sizzling Summer 2010 Treasures Auction Auction 02044238
07/26/2012 $3,240 8 125 Greg Bussineau Auctions Summer 2012 Vintage Trading Cards and Memorabilia Auction Auction 06191676
08/24/2014 $7,248 8 56 Memory Lane, Inc. 2014 Summer Rarities Auction Auction 04094194
07/10/2015 $5,191 8 28 Mile High Card Company July 2015 Auction Auction 02076409
11/08/2016 $4,805 8 351892085967 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 02085956
12/21/2016 $4,711 8 401241266947 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 02085956
11/19/2017 $10,000 8 263231136314 eBay sports-cards-forever Best Offer 02076409
01/13/2018 $10,082 8 370 Memory Lane, Inc. Historical Rarities Winter Auction Auction 06191676
02/25/2018 $9,000 8 80198 Heritage Auctions 2018 February 24 - 25 Platinum Night Sports Auction 02041541
01/22/2010 $1,799 7.5 398 Mile High Card Company January 2010 Auction Auction 14714250
03/19/2017 $2,125 7.5 361925698844 eBay partnerone Auction 14714250
02/25/2018 $2,024 7 323072837253 eBay markkali Auction 08119438
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05/06/2018 $1,320 5.5 986 Robert Edward Auctions 2018 Spring Auction 28972418
12/20/2018 $1,110 5.5 132884514340 eBay gregmorriscards Auction 24986321
07/08/2008 $514 5 169 SCP Auctions SCP Auctions July 2008 Internet Auction Auction 11956141
12/18/2011 $389 5 263 Memory Lane, Inc. Winter 2011 Auction 30100965
09/07/2016 $517 5 401178458838 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 17189601
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04/15/2019 $1,107 5 644 Love of the Game Auctions Spring, 2019 Premier Auction Auction 42344297
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09/11/2017 $338 4 142494468058 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 27526975
10/30/2018 $840 4 830 Robert Edward Auctions 2018 Fall Auction 26671938
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10/11/2019 $1,038 4 635 Mile High Card Company October 2019 Auction Auction 28482093
06/13/2016 $336 3 643 Love of the Game Auctions Spring, 2016 Premier Auction - Closes June 11, 2016 Auction 31836465
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01/21/2018 $90 1 (MK) 124 Lelands Monthly 1-18 Auction 28315823
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