1940 Play Ball Baseball Cards

1940 Play Ball Baseball Cards



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After a successful debut in 1939, Gum, Inc. brought back its Play Ball baseball card set in 1940 (designated as R335 in the American Card Catalog). Featuring a noticeably improved design, and larger checklist that included legendary players from the past, the 1940 Play Ball Baseball card set was once overlooked but gained popularity with pre-war collectors in the last several years. The set ended up having a total of 240 cards, which matched 1933 Goudey as the largest, single-year, gum card set issued to that point in time.

Although the images were still black-and-white photographs, several elements were added to the design of the card fronts making them infinitely more eye appealing than the previous year's version.  A banner featuring the player's name (and nickname, if he had one) was added to the bottom. The banner is adorned with a glove, bat and catcher's mask, and a frame is placed around the picture. The card backs are very similar to the ones found in the 1939 set with a biographical write-up, except for a 1940 copyright date and different ad copy at the bottom.

Key players active that year anchoring the set include Joe DiMaggio (card #1), and Ted Williams (card #27). Loaded with Hall of Fame players, other notable cards include those of Jimmie Foxx (card #133), Hank Greenberg (card #40) and Mel Ott (card #88).

Measuring in at 2-1/2" X 3-1/8" the cards were printed and distributed in two series. The first, being card numbers 1-144 and the second, being 145-240. Some cards in the high number series provide a preview of Superman Gum, a future release by the company.

In addition to being much more difficult to locate, one other feature of the high-numbered series was the inclusion of cards celebrating retired stars. At the time, the Hall of Fame was still relatively new and the legends helped fill out the number of cards needed for the final series. Today, retired stars are regularly inserted into sets but this was a new development in 1940. Older hobby guides indicate that collectors generally frowned upon cards featuring retired players, but that has changed over time. Since the retired legends are part of the scarcer high-numbered series, they are already receive a premium in terms of value, however, cards of Shoeless Joe Jackson and Christy Mathewson have become key cards over the years, commanding top-dollar at auction. Other noteworthy, retired greats appearing in the high number series include Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner, Tris Speaker, and Napoleon Lajoie.

The 1940 Play Ball set is notorious for a specific condition issue that is inconsistent with those of the 1939 or 1941 sets. For whatever the reason, the set suffers from noticeable issues related to border toning. Colors can range from a sepia tone to yellowish-brown. It can be very challenging to find cards without this discoloration. Over the years, the hobby has begrudgingly accepted, this unfortunate characteristic and has settled on finding cards with even toning across all borders.

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1940 Play Ball 194 Sam Chapman RC EX-MT #D141458
$71.25
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1940 Play Ball 195 Dee Miles RC EX-MT #D141459
$71.25
2011083268824040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball 14 Rabbit McNair EX-MT #D141446
$21.25
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1940 Play Ball 28 Gene Desautels EX-MT #D141447
$21.25
1814380316924040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball 44 Dizzy Trout EX-MT #D141448
$26.25
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1940 Play Ball 73 Bucky Walters EX-MT #D141452
$26.25
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1940 Play Ball 79 Harry Craft EX-MT #D141453
$26.25
1912142602934040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball 100 Hersh Martin EX-MT #D141454
$21.25
1912142603304040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball 116 Al Schacht EX-MT #D141456
$26.25
1912142603804040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball 163 Spud Davis EX-MT #D141457
$21.25
1912142871954040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball 199 Pinky Higgins POOR #D145260
$8.75
3706955904244040 1 Image
1940 PLAY BALL BASEBALL CARD John Walter Cooney Outfielder Boston Bees #60
$19.99
1912145167604040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball 158 Travis Jackson POOR #D174395
$10.75
1814382145404040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball 199 Pinky Higgins POOR #D174397
$8.75
1814382146504040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball 207 Gus Mancuso POOR #D174398
$8.75
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1940 Play Ball #60 John Cooney VG
$12.00
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Set Checklist

1940 Play Ball Baseball Set Checklist

Base Set Checklist

Featuring 240 cards

 1 Joe DiMaggio
 2 Art Jorgens
 3 Babe Dahlgren
 4 Tommy Henrich
 5 Monte Pearson
 6 Lefty Gomez
 7 Bill Dickey
 8 George Selkirk
 9 Charlie Keller
 10 Red Ruffing
 11 Jake Powell
 12 Johnny Schulte
 13 Jack Knott
 14 Eric McNair
 15 George Case
 16 Cecil Travis
 17 Buddy Myer
 18 Charlie Gelbert
 19 Ken Chase
 20 Buddy Lewis
 21 Rick Ferrell
 22 Sam West
 23 Dutch Leonard
 24 Frankie Hayes
 25 Bob Johnson
 26 Wally Moses
 27 Ted Williams
 28 Gene Desautels
 29 Doc Cramer
 30 Moe Berg
 31 Jack Wilson
 32 Jim Bagby
 33 Fritz Ostermueller
 34 John Peacock
 35 Joe Heving
 36 Jim Tabor
 37 Emerson Dickman
 38 Bobby Doerr
 39 Tom Carey
 40 Hank Greenberg
 41 Charlie Gehringer
 42 Bud Thomas
 43 Pete Fox
 44 Dizzy Trout
 45 Red Kress
 46 Earl Averill
 47 Ossie Vitt RC
 48 Luke Sewell
 49 Roy Weatherly
 50 Hal Trosky
 51 Don Heffner
 52 Myril Hoag
 53 George McQuinn
 54 Bill Trotter
 55 Slick Coffman
 56 Eddie Miller RC
 57 Max West
 58 Bill Posedel
 59 Rabbit Warstler
 60 Johnny Cooney
 61 Tony Cuccinello
 62 Buddy Hassett
 63 Pete Cascarart
 64 Van Mungo
 65 Freddie Fitzsimmons
 66 Babe Phelps
 67 Whit Wyatt
 68 Dolph Camilli
 69 Cookie Lavagetto
 70 Luke Hamlin
 71 Mel Almada
 72 Chuck Dressen RC
 73 Bucky Walters
 74 Duke Derringer
 75 Buck McCormick
 76 Lonny Frey
 77 Bill Hershberger
 78 Lew Riggs
 79 Harry Craft
 80 Bill Myers
 81 Wally Berger
 82 Hank Gowdy CO
 83 Cliff Melton
 84 Jo-Jo Moore
 85 Hal Schumacher
 86 Harry Gumbert
 87 Carl Hubbell
 88 Mel Ott
 89 Billy Jurges
 90 Frank Demaree
 91 Bob Seeds
 92 Burgess Whitehead
 93 Harry Danning
 94 Gus Suhr
 95 Hugh Mulcahy
 96 Heinie Mueller
 97 Morrie Arnovich
 98 Pinky May
 99 Syl Johnson
 100 Hersh Martin
 101 Del Young
 102 Chuck Klein
 103 Elbie Fletcher
 104 Paul Waner
 105 Lloyd Waner
 106 Pep Young
 107 Arky Vaughan
 108 Johnny Rizzo
 109 Don Padgett
 110 Tom Sunkel
 111 Mickey Owen
 112 Jimmy Brown
 113 Mort Cooper
 114 Lon Warneke
 115 Mike Gonzales CO
 116 Al Schacht
 117 Dolly Stark UMP
 118 Waite Hoyt
 119 Ol Pete Alexander
 120 Walter Johnson
 121 Atley Donald RC
 122 Sandy Sundra RC
 123 Oral Hildebrand
 124 Earle Combs
 125 Art Fletcher RC
 126 Moose Solters
 127 Muddy Ruel
 128 Pete Appleton
 129 Bucky Harris RC MG
 130 Clyde Milan RC
 131 Zeke Bonura
 132 Connie Mack RC MG
 133 Jimmie Foxx
 134 Joe Cronin
 135 Lynn Nelson
 136 Cotton Pippen
 137 Bing Miller
 138 Beau Bell
 139 Elden Auker
 140 Dick Coffman
 141 Casey Stengel RC MG
 142 George Kelly RC
 143 Gene Moore
 144 Joe Vosmik
 145 Vito Tamulis
 146 Tot Pressnell
 147 Johnny Hudson
 148 Hugh Casey
 149 Milburn Shoffner
 150 Whitey Moore
 151 Eddie Joost
 152 Jimmie Wilson
 153 Bill McKechnie RC MG
 154 Jumbo Brown
 155 Ray Hayworth
 156 Daffy Dean
 157 Lou Chiozza
 158 Stonewall Jackson
 159 Pancho Snyder RC
 160 Hans Lobert CO
 161 Debs Garms
 162 Joe Bowman
 163 Spud Davis
 164 Ray Berres
 165 Bob Klinger
 166 Bill Brubaker
 167 Frankie Frisch MG
 168 Honus Wagner CO
 169 Gabby Street
 170 Tris Speaker
 171 Harry Heilmann
 172 Chief Bender
 173 Nap Lajoie
 174 Johnny Evers
 175 Christy Mathewson
 176 Heinie Manush
 177 Frank Baker
 178 Max Carey
 179 George Sisler
 180 Mickey Cochrane
 181 Spud Chandler RC
 182 Bill Knickerbocker RC
 183 Marvin Breuer RC
 184 Mule Haas
 185 Joe Kuhel
 186 Taft Wright RC
 187 Jimmie Dykes MG
 188 Joe Krakauskas RC
 189 Jimmy Bloodworth RC
 190 Charlie Berry
 191 Johnny Babich RC
 192 Dick Seibert RC
 193 Chubby Dean RC
 194 Sam Chapman RC
 195 Dee Miles RC
 196 Nonny Nonnenkamp RC
 197 Lou Finney RC
 198 Denny Galehouse RC
 199 Pinky Higgins
 200 Soupy Campbell RC
 201 Barney McCosky RC
 202 Al Milnar RC
 203 Odell Hale RC
 204 Harry Eisenstat RC
 205 Rollie Hemsley RC
 206 Chet Laabs RC
 207 Gus Mancuso
 208 Lee Gamble RC
 209 Hy Vandenberg RC
 210 Bill Lohrman RC
 211 Pop Joiner RC
 212 Babe Young RC
 213 John Rucker RC
 214 Ken O'Dea RC
 215 Johnny McCarthy RC
 216 Joe Marty RC
 217 Walter Beck
 218 Wally Millies RC
 219 Russ Bauers RC
 220 Mace Brown RC
 221 Lee Handley RC
 222 Max Butcher RC
 223 Hughie Jennings
 224 Pie Traynor
 225 Shoeless Joe Jackson
 226 Harry Hooper
 227 Jesse Haines
 228 Charlie Grimm
 229 Buck Herzog
 230 Red Faber
 231 Dolf Luque
 232 Goose Goslin
 233 George Earnshaw
 234 Frank Chance
 235 John J. McGraw
 236 Jim Bottomley
 237 Willie Keeler
 238 Tony Lazzeri
 239 George Uhle
 240 Bill Atwood RC
1940 Play Ball Shoeless Joe Jackson 235x300 Image

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Frank Homerun Baker 1940 Play Ball Baseball Card #177 - SGC VG EX +
$79.00
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1940 Play Ball, #28 "Gene" Desautels, Red Sox, SGC 88 NMMT
$107.99
2011240879894040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball #10 Red Ruffing HOF SGC 70 baseball card BV $85
$64.99
3609623875774040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball Bill Dickey #7 PSA NM-MT 8 (OC)
$595.00
2312777036804040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball Burgess “Whitey” Whitehead #92 PSA 3 VG
$17.95
1613377903094040 1 Image
Joe DiMaggio 1940 Play Ball Baseball Card #1 - PSA Graded 4 (VG-EX)
$1,099.00
1114062268834040 1 Image
1940 PLAY BALL TED WILLIAMS #27 PSA EX-MT 6 HALL OF FAME
$969.00
3609827324394040 1 Image
1940 Playball Play Ball #38 Bobby Doerr Boston Red Sox HOF BVG 5 EXCELLENT
$38.00
3609827737394040 1 Image
1940 Playball Play Ball #225 Shoeless Joe Jackson White Sox SGC 10 POOR 1 High#
$260.88
3809454097474040 1 Image
1940 Playball #1 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees HOF BVG 1.5 Fair Play Ball
$68.00
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1940 Play Ball #35 Joe Heving - Red Sox PSA 5
$25.00
1312165882814040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball #165 Bob Klinger - Pirates PSA 6
$33.00
3809289994084040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball #45 Red Kress - Tigers PSA 6
$33.00
3809289994164040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball #31 Jack Wilson - Red Sox PSA 5
$25.00
3109323843134040 1 Image
1940 Play Ball 116 Al Schacht PSA 1 (8855)
$24.00
3010713122934040 1 Image
PSA 6 1940 PLAY BALL BASEBALL #86 HARRY GUMBERT
$39.99
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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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