1941 Goudey Baseball Cards
After not releasing any new sets since 1938, Goudey reappeared in 1941 with a design that came in four different colors. As one of three national sets issued that year, it dovetailed nicely with a banner year that saw Joe DiMaggio run a record hitting streak, Ted Williams hit .400 and the very first Yankee/Dodger World Series.
However, the tie between the 1941 Goudey set and that year's baseball season might explain why Goudey hadn't been issuing many cards: while DiMaggio and Williams were setting records, they weren't found anywhere in the set. In fact, of the 33 cards there there would only be two eventual Hall of Fame players who made an appearance - Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell. The fact that many of the remaining players were obscure names who never managed to get on other cards might excite some team collectors, but the general hobby has shied away from it.
The design can be underwhelming, with a black-and-white player photo, a baseball graphic with Big League Gum inside it, and nothing at all on the backs. What makes 1941 Goudey cards stand out is the brightly colored solid background. Each card can be found with four different colors, making a master set of 132 cards. Yellow is the most common color, followed by blue, green and red. Many cards are found severely off-center or miscut, which affects their value. While some collectors have ventured to collect a master set, it is considered complete at 33 cards, regardless of the background color. Cards #21-25 appear to have been short-printed.
Without backs to hold biographies and statistics, player information on each card is sparse, with a name, team, position and card number. The only exception shows up on Hugh Mulcahy's card (#1), which mentions that he was the first player to enter the U.S. Army due to the draft that began before the '41 season was underway.
The Army notation points toward the next several years, where card production was largely halted when the United States entered World War II as many of the necessary supplies for cards as well as gum were needed to support the war effort. The Goudey Gum Company was still around for a short time after the soldiers came home but never released another set of baseball cards.
Key 1941 Goudey Baseball Cards:
1941 Goudey Baseball Card Checklist
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