Combining a memorable design with a large number of superstars, 1933 DeLong Baseball is a home run of a baseball card set. Unfortunately, it was also the only one the company ever issued. Competing head-to-head with the first Goudey release, issued the same year, the colorful tandem offers a palate-pleasing array of choices for young collectors. Designated in the American Card Catalog as R333, the DeLongs are now the rarest and most revered gum sets of the 1930's.
The cards measure 1-15/16” by 2-15/16”, which is slightly smaller than today's standard baseball card, but they were taller than most of the other gum sets in the 1930s. Not only do they stand out physically, the 1933 DeLong Baseball design features a black-and-white action photo of the player, die-cut against a colorful stadium backdrop. Furthermore, the positioning of the player in the card's foreground and placed inside a surrounding miniature ballpark gives the illusion that the player was larger than life.
Many collectors consider this one of the most attractive sets of the era. Most 1933 DeLong Baseball cards are vertically oriented, but two players (Pepper Martin and Lefty Grove) are featured horizontally, which make their cards appear panoramic.
1933 DeLong Baseball card backs feature a playing tip by Boston-area sportswriter Austen Lake. In addition, backs include the card number and an ad for DeLong Gum. A very small set by today's standards at just 24 total cards, what makes the set even more unique is that over half the players in the checklist would go on to become Hall of Fame members. As a result, the cards are very appealing to collectors.
The biggest star included on the checklist is, by far, Lou Gehrig, whose card accounts for a majority of the set's total value. Joining him on the 1933 DeLong Baseball checklist are such greats as Jimmie Foxx, Kiki Cuyler, and Pie Traynor, to name a few. One might think that with just 24 cards, it would be a relatively simple set to complete. However, you'd be wrong. Goudey clearly won the game battle that year and, as a result, are much easier to find in comparison, even to this day. Finding cards in any condition is difficult, let alone cards displaying collectible condition higher than a grade of five.
As is often the case with popular early tobacco, gum and caramel issues whose original versions are much too pricey for most collectors, a 1933 DeLong Baseball reprint set is available and can serve as a nice representation. While obviously not holding any substantial monetary value from a collectibles standpoint, adding one to your collection won't break the bank and may provide the only way of actually holding anything resembling an authentic issue.
Key 1933 Delong Baseball Cards
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1933 Delong Baseball Set Checklist
2 Al Simmons - Chicago White Sox
3 Oscar Melillo - St. Louis Browns
4 William (Bill) Terry - Mgr. New York Giants
5 Charlie Gehringer - Detroit Tigers
6 Gordon (Mickey) Cochrane - Philadelphis Athletics
7 Lou Gehrig - New York Yankees
8 Hazen S. (Kiki) Cuyler - Chicago Cubs
9 Bill Urbanski - Boston Braves
10 Frank (Lefty) O'Doul - Brooklyn Dodgers
11 Freddie Lindstrom - Pittsburgh Pirates
12 Harold (Pie) Traynor - Pittsburgh Pirates
14 Vernon "Lefty" Gomez - New York Yankees
15 Riggs Stephenson - Chicago Cubs
16 Lou Warneke - Chicago Cubs
17 Pepper Martin - St. Louis Cardinals
18 Jimmy Dykes - Chicago White Sox
19 Chuck Hafey - Cincinnati Reds
20 Joe Vosmik - Cleveland Indians
21 Jimmy Foxx - Philadelphia Athletics
22 Charles (Chuck) Klein - Philadelphia Nationals
23 Robert (Lefty) Grove - Philadelphia Athletics
24 "Goose" Goslin - Washington Senators