1938 Goudey Baseball Cards

1938 Goudey Baseball Cards

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Before the Hobby had parallel cards or retro issues, there was 1938 Goudey. After putting out two undeniable classic baseball sets in 1933 and '34, they let the quality slip a bit. In 1935, they fit four players on each card and the next year all the color was gone. In 1937, they never even bothered to release a set at all. When it came time to release a set in 1938, Goudey decided to look back, even continuing the numbering at #241 (where that 1933 set stopped).

In essence, 1938 Goudey is made up of two separate parallel sets, each having 24 cards. They feature an artist-colored player's head with a cartoon-like body drawn underneath. Since the head is so much larger than the body, collectors call it the "Heads Up" set. While the first 24 cards show a blank background behind the player's image, the second series features cartoons and comments that have been added, giving them the look of a cartoon from a newspaper's sports page. Those last 24 cards feature the same players - in the same order - as the first, only with different card numbers. For all cards, the image is located in a solid-colored box that includes the name of the player and his team.

In keeping with the back to basics approach, the card backs are nearly identical to the ones found in the 1933 Goudey set. The biggest difference was that there is a line of statistics from 1937 added below the career summary. The first 24 cards mention a 288-card issue, while the last 24 indicate 312 cards in all. Since there were no cards beyond #288, Goudey apparently scrapped any plans for further series. The backs are printed in green ink; there have been reprints of the set over the years that used blue and black ink.

Ernie Lombardi's non-cartoon card (#246) features an additional black baseball in the box below his picture. When the card was printed, Goudey mistakenly named the Red Sox as his team. The baseball was placed over the team name to correctly identify him as being with the Reds. This baseball does not appear on his cartoon card (#270).

Early cards of Hall of Fame legends Joe DiMaggio and Bob Feller appear in the set, and despite being the first national issue to include them, both had been included in premium card sets before 1938, which makes a handful of collectors debate whether they are truly rookie cards. However, Bobby Doerr was a rookie in 1937, so more collectors agree that his card here conforms more to what we now consider to be a rookie card.

Key 1938 Goudey Baseball Cards:


ebaysmalllogo Image

3504836200604040 1 Image
1938 Goudey Heads Up #270 Ernie Lombardi GD-VG Reds
2716076630564040 1 Image
1938 Goudey Heads Up #287 Marvin Owen SGC 5 S2383
4007736077764040 1 Image
1938 Goudey Heads Up #262 Joe Ducky Medwick PSA 2 S7315
1908329872504040 1 Image
1938 Goudey 283 Bill Werber PSA 1.5 (7624)
3106618450844040 1 Image
1938 Goudey 281 Al Lopez PSA 3 (4215)
3106618450994040 1 Image
1938 Goudey 272 Dick Bartell PSA 1 (9439)
3106618454454040 1 Image
1938 Goudey 271 Joe Vosmik PSA 1 (9438)
1911496747214040 1 Image
1938 Goudey 250 Joe DiMaggio PSA 3 (1574)

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Chris is an avid vintage sports card collector who is The Cardboard Connection's resident expert of all things vintage.

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