Monday, June 1, 2020

TCMA Cardinals, 40s Version

Last week I posted the oddball Gashouse Gang TCMA set from 1974 that was given to me by a dealer a few years back at the hotel show I attend frequently. The majority of the cards in my 'brown bag gift' were also from a Cardinals-related set issued by TCMA. This one was done originally in 1975 and it commemorates the Cardinals club from 1942 through 1946.

St. Louis was the toast of the National League during that span. They took home four league titles and won World Series championships over the Yankees in '42 and Red Sox in 1946.

Their rosters back then were dotted with stars and Hall of Famers, particularly among their everyday players. The '75 TCMA set is much larger than the Gashouse Gang edition, both in terms of card size and checklist size. These (mostly) black and white cards are standard size. I was wrong...they are slightly 'taller' than standard card size. See the follow-up post for more. The checklist stands at 61 plus a couple of variations which we will deal with in a bit.

The Stan Musial card at the top is my favorite of the bunch. I always like bat rack photos used on cards and, well, it's Stan The Man! Next up is shortstop Marty Marion, a four-time All-Star and 1944's MVP. Marion and I share the nickname, 'Slats'. I don't know how Marion earned it and I'm sure not telling how I did.

The regular, single-player cards have the same style of typewritten stat backs as was seen in the '74 set. These carry four seasons of basic numbers for players who were with the Cards for all four seasons. Players have no stats for the years they were elsewhere.

Another fun card is that of infielder Frank Angelo Joseph Crespi, aka 'Creepy' Crespi. That is one of the great names in baseball history. Crespi is an interesting guy. He was the Cards' starting second baseman in 1941 but lost his job to Jimmy Brown in '42. He still got into over 90 games and scored a run in the '42 Series.

Crespi declined a military deferment that he was entitled to as sole supporter of his elderly mother. He said, "I don't think I'm too good to fight for the things I've always enjoyed." Crespi entered the Army in '43 and ended up breaking his leg three(!) times during his military service (though not in combat). The first break came while playing on an Army ball club in Kansas. The second break came as a result of a training accident. The third, well, he apparently was racing other patients in his wheelchair and wrecked. 😧

He never returned to baseball. After numerous attempts to qualify for a big-league pension, he finally gave up and continued his post-baseball work in the financial offices at McDonald-Douglas. Many years later it was determined that Crespi had never officially retired and was credited with time on the DL. He got his pension.

Terry Moore roamed center for the Cards when he wasn't serving with Uncle Sam. He was a four-time All-Star.

Joe Garagiola played was platoon catcher for the Cards and a hometown favorite. He debuted in 1946.

Harry 'The Hat' Walker was familiar to me from his days as the manager of the Astros.

Red Schoendienst spent almost seven decades in baseball in one capacity or another before he passed at the age of 95 a few years back.

Pepper Martin had been an integral part of the cards of the 30s and returned to the team in 1944 as a stopgap infielder due to the shortage of players during WWII. He hit pretty well that year at the age of 40 but didn't get into the Series.

Enos Slaughter was another long time baseball guy who won four titles, two in St. Louis and two with the Yankees. He was known for his hustle and for scoring the winning run in the last game of the '46 Series. He was also (allegedly, and along with Terry Moore) behind an attempt to keep Jackie Robinson off major league diamonds.

Like the previous set, there are oversized cards, two in this case. One shows the team in 1942.

The back has the story of their exploits.

The other shows old Sportsman's Park and has a list of the players who were members of the Cards in this era who were not included among the cards.

Four multi-player cards are part of the set. All have World Series notes on the back. Musial is shown on two similar cards. Here is one of them.

Notice anything odd about that last card? It's the inked red cardinal on Johnny Beazley's jersey. There is another version which shows the bird without the red coloring. I'm lacking that one.

The other 'red bird' variation' is Kem Burkhart's card. His 'normal' card is headed my way at some point from COMC.

There is another variation which I haven't seen. It is a 'missing name' Lon Warneke. I haven't seen it available anywhere but It's listed on the checklist at the Trading Card Database site.

The last 'variation' is supposedly one involving Ernie White's card. 

The 'variation' is listed simply as just that, 'variation'. I've looked at a bunch of White cards over the last month or so and I'll be damned if I can figure out what the notation is supposed to indicate. The  best I can figure is a difference in how the name/team/position is situated in relationship to the photo. To tell the truth, I think I'm probably just imagining that.

This is really a more fun set than the Gashouse Gang issue. 'Fun' as in 'easier to figure out' and keep straight. I have, or will have some time in the near future, the thing finished except for the three variations I've noted. So the bottom line is I have every card.

Oh, I forgot to mention one detail. This set was 're-issued' by TCMA in 1983. Since there are no telltale markings or even cardboard color differences in the ones I have I really don't know if any I own are from the reprints. One eBay seller had his listed as '75s and '83s, but they looked identical down to the amount of wear and in every other way. If TCMA just rolled the presses in 1983 using the same original 1975 sheets there wouldn't be any difference anyway.

UPDATE--A few '83 'remakes' have arrived, and they have several significant differences. I'll get them posted in a follow-up to this soon.


  1. Kind of love those red bird variants.

  2. Cool. How different for a set to point out the players they are not showing. Imagine if Topps did that.

  3. Hope you'll share the "Slats" story with us one day ;)