Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Playing for the "Bread"

Before major league baseball moved to the West coast, it was argued that the Pacific Coast League was essentially a "third" major league because there were several players who could have been in the big leagues but stayed there to avoid traveling too far from home. This has given the PCL a distinction and respect that many of the other minor leagues haven't received. There are a long line of card sets featuring PCL players, including the long-running Zeenut series of 1911-'39.

There's also several series of these cards:

1950 Remar -- Bob Hofman

This card was issued by the Remar Baking Company, a bakery based in Oakland, California that made Sunbeam bread and whose factory -- circa 1954 -- can be seen here. Due to its location, it issued team sets of players from the Oakland Oaks of the PCL between 1946 and 1950 but skipping a set in '48.

Many of the cards in these sets are seen by collectors as too similar, so the back helps to identify the year of issue:

(Love the Sunbeam bread graphic.)

Note: there was also two sets of Sunbeam cards, issued in 1946 and '47. However, they feature members of the Sacramento Solons of the PCL and are a different set. The "Remar Baking Company" line at the bottom identifies the maker but the Sunbeam tie-in may confuse some collectors.

Many of the Oaks players in these sets eventually made it to the majors, with Casey Stengel (manager '46, '47), Billy Martin ('49) and Jackie Jensen ('49). As for Bobby Hofman, the '49 stat line on his card leaves out a short trial with the New York Giants. He played again for the Giants from 1952-'57 and was a member of that team's '54 World Series champions. This isn't a "rookie card" since he appeared in the high series of Bowman cards in 1949. He also had Topps cards from 1952-'56.

1 comment:

  1. These are absolutely gorgeous cards when you get to see them up close.

    I have a bunch sent in to and will be listing them on ebay when they are back in my hands. keep an eye out!