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1938 Goudey Baseball Cards

1938 Goudey Baseball Cards

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Although the cartoonish quality of 1938 Goudey Baseball might appear to diminish the appeal of this 1930s release, the set is highly respected in the hobby. The unique deign and quality checklist guarantees that 1938 Goudey will remain a vintage staple for years to come.

Before the collecting world had parallel cards or retro issues, there was 1938 Goudey Baseball. After putting out two undeniable classic baseball sets in 1933 and 19334, Goudey let the quality slip a bit. In 1935, they crammed four players on each card and all the color was gone the following year. In 1937, Goudey elected not to release a set at all. When it came time to produce a set in 1938, Goudey decided to take a page from the past.

1938 Goudey Baseball Cards 1

Picking up the card numbering from 1933 Goudey (#241), 1938 Goudey Baseball is made up of two similar subsets, each having 24 cards. The 2-1/2" by 3" cards are officially known as R323 and are fairly scarce.

1938 Goudey Baseball card fronts feature caricatures of some of the best baseball players of the time. An artist-colored headshot image with a cartoon body drawn underneath acts as the primary feature of the card. Given that the head is so much larger than the body, the set was marketed as the "Heads Up" set and still goes by that name.

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While the first 24 cards show a blank background behind the player's image, the second series adds images and comments, giving them the look of a newspaper cartoon. Those last 24 cards feature the same players and the same order as the first, only with different card numbers. For all cards, the image is located in a solid-colored box that also contaings the name of the player and team.

In keeping with the back-to-basics approach, the card backs are nearly identical to the 1933 Goudey set. The main difference is 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.

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Since there were no cards beyond #288, Goudey apparently scrapped any plans for further series. Just like 1933, the backs are printed in green ink. Collectors should note that there have been reprints of the set over the years which showcase blue and black ink.

Ernie Lombardi's first series 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).

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Headlining the release, early cards for Hall of Fame legends Joe DiMaggio and Bob Feller appear in the set. Although neither is viewed as an official rookie card, and each player has previous card releases, both carry additional interest as key early cards for the two stars. Ten of the 24 subjects in 1938 Goudey are Hall of Fame inductees.

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Key Cards

Key 1938 Goudey Baseball Cards

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#250,274 Joe DiMaggio

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#264,288 Bob Feller

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#249,273 Jimmie Foxx

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#253,277  Hank Greenberg

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Set Checklist

1938 Goudey Baseball Set Checklist

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Series 1
241 Charlie Gehringer
242 Ervin Fox
243 Joe Kuhel
244 Frank Demaree
245 Frank Pytlak
246 Ernie Lombardi
247 Joe Vosmick
248 Dick Bartell
249 Jimmy Foxx
250 Joe DiMaggio
251 Bump Hadley
252 Zeke Bonura
253 Hank Greenberg
254 Van Lingle Mungo
255 Julius Solters
256 Vernon Kennedy
257 Al Lopez
258 Bobby Doerr
259 Bill Werber
260 Rudy York
261 Rip Radcliff
262 Joe Ducky Medwick
263 Marvin Owen
264 Bob Feller
Series 2
265 Charlie Gehringer
266 Ervin Fox
267 Joe Kuhel
268 Frank Demaree
269 Frank Pytlak
270 Ernie Lombardi
271 Joe Vosmick
272 Dick Bartell
273 Jimmy Foxx
274 Joe DiMaggio
275 Bump Hadley
276 Zeke Bonura
277 Hank Greenberg
278 Van Lingle Mungo
279 Julius Solters
280 Vernon Kennedy
281 Al Lopez
282 Bobby Doerr
283 Bill Werber
284 Rudy York
285 Rip Radcliff
286 Joe Ducky Medwick
287 Marvin Owen
288 Bob Feller

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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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