1948-49 Leaf Baseball Cards

1948-49 Leaf Baseball Cards

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Led by rookie cards for Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and many other Hall of Fame players, 1948-49 Leaf Baseball is a noteworthy vintage release.

The loaded checklist is further enhanced by short prints that occupy almost half the set.

1948-49 Leaf Baseball Set Details

1948-49 Leaf Baseball is significant because it was the first post-World War II set to feature color pictures on them. Virtually no sets were produced in the years previous due to wartime restrictions on ink, cardboard and many supplies needed to make gum. As a result, the set features several key Hall of Fame rookie cards.

Measuring 2-3/8" by 2-7/8", the set's design is relatively basic. Each card front features a player against a vividly colored background that is either solid or two-tone. The player's name appears below a picture in a solid-colored box. 1948-49 Leaf Baseball card backs have the player's biographical info and a brief write-up, which was pretty standard for gum cards before Topps came along. As was customary for the era, an ad for All-Star Baseball Gum appears at the bottom, along with an offer for one of three wrapper redemption premiums.

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While rookie cards fill a huge percentage of the set, key veterans include Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. One of the more interesting cards in 1948-49 Leaf Baseball is that of Honus Wagner (#70), who, at the time, was a coach for the Pirates. On the card, he's shown stuffing chewing tobacco into his mouth, an interesting revelation for hobbyists who thought his famed T206 card was withdrawn due to an anti-tobacco stance.

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Hobbyists have long argued specifics about 1948-49 Leaf Baseball . Since the cards contain both 1948 and 1949 copyright dates on them, they can be seen as a two-year issue. Some collectors, however, contend that they are a 1949 issue since nearly all have info about the 1948 season on them. What is certain is that the cards have long been debated in the hobby. As late as 1960, collectors were still trying to figure out how many cards the set contained.

Eventually, after much internal hobby debate, it was determined that 98 cards complete the basic 1948-49 Leaf Baseball set. A few factors made things less clear for collectors. First, the cards are skip-numbered from 1-168. Secondly, a premium offer found on some of the card backs references an album that would hold 168 cards. Finally, exactly half of the cards were severely short-printed, to the point that it is incredibly difficult to piece the set together without a lot of patience, time and money.

It's not known why 1948-49 Leaf Baseball was skip-numbered, but it has been speculated that Leaf was hoping to get kids to keep spending their pennies and nickels on cards that weren't in existence. It's also possible that future series were planned but scrapped when Bowman came along and signed players to exclusive contracts.

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In addition, a handful of acknowledged variations bring the master set size up to 101 total cards. Gene Hermanski can be found with and without the last 'i' in his name. Cliff Aberson has two different sleeve lengths. Finally, Kent Peterson has him wearing either a red cap or a dark one. Since the 1948-49 Leaf Baseball cards themselves were crudely colored, they are often found with coloring variations and registration issues.

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Key Cards

Key 1948-49 Leaf Baseball Cards

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#8 Satchel Paige (LeRoy Paige) RC

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#93 Bob Feller RC

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#4 Stan Musial

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#79 Jackie Robinson RC

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#1 Joe DiMaggio

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#3 Babe Ruth

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#32 Warren Spahn

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#76 Ted Williams

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#120 George Kell RC

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#158 Harry Brecheen RC

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Set Checklist

1948-49 Leaf Baseball Checklist

Base Set Checklist

98 cards. Short prints (SP) noted.
The set is skip-numbered.

1 Joe DiMaggio - New York Yankees
3 Babe Ruth - New York Yankees
4 Stan Musial - St. Louis Cardinals
5 Virgil Trucks - Detroit Tigers RC SP
8 Satchel Paige - Cleveland Indians RC SP
10 Paul Trout - Detroit Tigers
11 Phil Rizzuto - New York Yankees RC
13 Casimer Michaels - Chicago White Sox RC SP
14 Billy Johnson - New York Yankees
17 Frank Overmire - Detroit Tigers RC
19 John Wyrostek - Cincinnati Reds SP
20 Hank Sauer - Cincinnati Reds SP
22 Al Evans - Washington Senators RC
26 Sam Chapman - Philadelphia Athletics
27 Mickey Harris - Boston Red Sox RC
28 Jim Hegan - Cleveland Indians RC
29 Elmer Valo - Philadelphia Athletics RC
30 Bill Goodman - Boston Red Sox RC SP
31 Lou Brissie - Philadelphia Athletics RC
32 Warren Spahn - Boston Braves
33 Harry Lowrey - Chicago Cubs RC SP
36 Al Zarilla - St. Louis Browns SP
38 Ted Kluszewski - Cincinnati Reds RC
39 Ewell Blackwell - Cincinnati Reds RC
42 Kent Peterson - Cincinnati Reds RC
43 Eddie Stevens - Pittsburgh Pirates RC SP
45 Ken Keltner - Cleveland Indians RC SP
46 Johnny Mize - New York Giants RC
47 George Vico - Detroit Tigers RC
48 Johnny Schmitz - Chicago Cubs RC SP
49 Del Ennis - Philadelphia Phillies RC
50 Dick Wakefield - Detroit Tigers RC
51 Alvin Dark - Boston Braves RC SP
53 John Vander Meer - Cincinnati Reds
54 Bobby Adams - Cincinnati Reds RC SP
55 Tommy Henrich - New York Yankees SP
56 Larry Jansen - New York Giants
57 Bob McCall - Chicago Cubs RC
59 Lucius Appling - Chicago White Sox
61 Jake Early - Washington Senators RC
62 Eddie Joost - Philadelphia Athletics SP
63 Barney McCosky - Philadelphia Athletics SP
65 Bob Elliott - Boston Braves RC
66 Orval Grove - Chicago White Sox RC SP
68 Ed Miller - Philadelphia Phillies SP
70 John Wagner - Pittsburgh Pirates
72 Hank Edwards - Cleveland Indians RC
73 Pat Seerey - Chicago White Sox RC
75 Dom DiMaggio - Boston Red Sox SP
76 Ted Williams - Boston Red Sox
77 Roy Smalley - Chicago Cubs RC
78 Walter Evers - Detroit Tigers RC SP
79 Jackie Robinson - Brooklyn Dodgers RC
81 George Kurowski - St. Louis Cardinals RC SP
82 Johnny Lindell - New York Yankees RC
83 Bobby Doerr - Boston Red Sox
84 Sid Hudson - Washington Senators
85 Dave Philley - Chicago White Sox RC SP
86 Ralph Weigel - Chicago White Sox RC
88 Frank Gustine - Chicago Cubs RC SP
91 Ralph Kiner - Pittsburgh Pirates RC
93 Bob Feller - Cleveland Indians RC SP
95 George Stirnweiss - New York Yankees
97 Marty Marion - St. Louis Cardinals
98 Hal Newhouser - Detroit Tigers RC SP
102 Gene Hermanski - Brooklyn Dodgers RC
104 Edward Stewart - Washington Senators RC SP
106 Lou Boudreau - Cleveland Indians RC
108 Matthew Batts - Boston Red Sox RC SP
111 Gerald Priddy - St. Louis Browns RC
113 Emil Leonard - Chicago Cubs SP
117 Joe Gordon - Cleveland Indians RC
120 George Kell - Detroit Tigers RC SP
121 John Pesky - Boston Red Sox RC SP
123 Clifford Fannin - St. Louis Browns RC SP
125 Andy Pafko - Chicago Cubs RC
127 Enos Slaughter - St. Louis Cardinals SP
128 Warren Rosar - Philadelphia Athletics RC
129 Kirby Higbe - Pittsburgh Pirates SP
131 Sid Gordon - New York Giants SP
133 Tommy Holmes - Boston Braves RC SP
136 Cliff Aberson - Chicago Cubs RC
137 Harry Walker - Chicago Cubs RC SP
138 Larry Doby - Cleveland Indians RC SP
139 Johnny Hopp - Pittsburgh Pirates RC
142 Danny Murtaugh - Pittsburgh Pirates RC SP
143 Dick Sisler - Philadelphia Phillies RC SP
144 Bob Dillinger - St. Louis Browns RC SP
146 Harold Reiser - Boston Braves SP RC
149 Henry Majeski - Philadelphia Athletics RC SP
153 Floyd Baker - Chicago White Sox RC SP
158 Harry Brecheen - St. Louis Cardinals RC SP
159 Mizell Platt - St. Louis Browns RC
160 Bob Scheffing - Chicago Cubs RC SP
161 Vernon Stephens - Boston Red Sox RC SP
163 Freddy Hutchinson - Detroit Tigers RC SP
165 Dale Mitchell - Cleveland Indians RC SP
168 Phil Cavarretta - Chicago Cubs RC SP

 

Variations Set Checklist

 

42 Kent Peterson - Black Hat
42 Kent Peterson - Red Hat
102 Gene Hermanski - Last name spelled "Hermansk"
102 Gene Hermanski - Corrected
136 Cliff Aberson - Full Shirt Sleeve Length
136 Cliff Aberson - Short Shirt Sleeve Length

 

 

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

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