A few months back I saw an ad (somewhere..Twitter?) for a new Negro League set. It was produced in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League in 1920. Of course, black baseball in the Staes and the Caribean goes back to the 1860s. There are included cards of players and pioneers that reflect that.
The cards were to feature the artwork of Graig Kreindler. I love his work and the set looked promising. I ordered one and pretty much forgot about it until I got a shipping notice last week.
The set, produced by the negroleaguehistory.com site, arrived yesterday and I'm happy with it. Kreindler's art is super. The set consists of 184 cards plus a couple of unnumbered extras. There are cards for every star and multiples of many which reflect different teams they played for.
The backs give the player's vitals and contain a short write-up. When there are multiple cards of a player the write-up is different for each one as they reflect the team/career path of the player.
Included was a two-sided card that gives some background on the project. I'm showing it and any other text-heavy cards because the font is not easy to read otherwise.
Just gonna toss a few of my favorites up here. There are many of the Cuban and other Latin American players here, and some of the Negro leaguers played winter ball in those spots and have cards showing them in those unis.
Josh Gibson, as you'd expect, has a few different cards included. Beckett has the checklist and other info on their site.
There are also cards for some of the well known MLB stars that got their 'professional' start in the Negro Leagues.
When Jackie Robinson's KC Monarchs club took the field even Bob Uecker would have known where they were from.
Minnie Minoso looks like he's 40 years old here but he played for the NY Cubans in 1948 which would make him 22.
I love this card of Elston Howard in his Monarchs gear. I may pick up a single for my Howard PC.
Here's something I didn't know...Luis Tiant's father was a baseball star in Cuba. Orlando Cepeda's father has a card in the set as well.
Goose Tatum became famous for his Harlem Globetrotter success, but he played ball, too. The card mentions that his super-human 'wingspan' helped him as a first baseman but put a huge 'hole' on his swing.
Pioneers get cards including Toni Stone who played right alongside the guys.
Some of the unis that were worn were very sweet:
In a nice touch, Kreindler included a card of an 'unknown' player as a tribute to the many, many guys who played in obscurity. As noted on the reverse, teams traveled with small rosters and sometimes picked up local players to fill out lineups. Some players slipped through the cracks of the spotty recording and chronicling of teams/games and never got credited in a boxscore. Others played briefly before giving up due to the tough travel conditions and the difficulties of travel in a country where they were not welcomed everywhere.
As an 'early adopter' (i.e. I think that I ordered a set when it was still being financed) I received an extra copy of card #23 which depicts Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson signed by the artist. It was a nice surprise.
Even the box is attractive.
With the borders of the cards being a what they are I'm not wasting any time sliding the set into binder pages. And I may unfold that box and stick it in a one-pocket if I can.
EDIT: P-Town Tom was posting his thoughts on the set about the same time this went up. Check out his post here.
The set runs from $55 to $60 depending on where you purchase it. I've seen it on eBay and at the site I linked at the top. Net54 members can get it thru one of the authorized dealers who posts over there. Search for member 'buythatcard' and you'll find Howard's post about the set.
Money well spent for me.