Welcome to the new weekly The FCB Vintage Files
With a re-vamped hotlist and JP’s new weekly column centering on prospects only; a new column will be published every Wednesday.
This weekly article will highlight a pre-war card from various sets. The first few weeks we will delve into a different facet of the T-206 set. The back variations, the current market for that week’s card. Population reports and various other facts.
But most importantly, each week will contain a biography of the player. The T-206 set contains an endless supply of amazing people and ball players. This era of baseball is important to remember and it is my hope that each week all members of FCB will read and engage in discussion…not only for the card; but for the player that did his part to move this grand game to it’s present form.
The Sam Crawford Throwing T-206. Mr. Crawford has two cards in the set; one in the throwing pose and one in the batting pose. A member of the Detroit Tigers for the majority of his career, Crawford is known for his early mentoring of the great Ty Cobb; and later the long held feud with the same man.
This card is from Factory 25 of the Piedmont Cigarette set. A future article will deal in great detail of the various back variations. This Piedmont back is the most common of T-206′s and the throwing Crawford card is only found in the common variations…Sweet Caporal, Piedmont and Old Mill.
Samuel Crawford was born in Wahoo, Nebraska in 1880. The town of his birth would later give him his nickname. Sam grew to be 6 feet tall and a 190 pounds, enough to be regarded as one of the biggest hitters of his day.
After his schooling was done, Sam trained as a barber; a trade he would soon abandon. Skilled as a hitter, Sam bounced around several local and regional ball clubs until he found his way to Grand Rapids in the Western League. Grand Rapids sold the young Crawford to Cincinnati and Sam found himself a 19 year ballplayer in the major leagues.
His first day was a double header; 2 for 4 in the first game and a triple and two singles in the second. He got 495 hits in the next 403 games for the Reds before jumping his contract and signing with the American League Tigers.
With Detroit, Sam enjoyed a Hall Of Fame career. A leader on the team and in the league, Sam welcomed a young Ty Cobb to the club. Famously bitter throughout his career for his “rookie hazing”, Cobb later turned on Crawford and the two played side by side barely speaking to each other.
A fearsome duo on the bases, Cobb and Crawford had a detailed and sophisticated system of hand motions and cap tips to signal a double steal. Both gifted in the art of base running, Crawford would end his career with 366 stolen bags, to go with his 97 home runs.
Crawford would eventually play in the Pacific Coast League, then later umpire the same. Coaching and various farming would be his vocation till his death. Cobb would charge Crawford, through the media in retirement, with being jealous of his fame and salary. Cobb also accused Crawford of intentionally fouling pitches off when Cobb was stealing. Despite this, and Crawford’s accusal of Cobb being a “tightwad” with his eventual Coca-Cola fortune, Cobb himself helped get Sam Crawford elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957.