Saturday, March 21, 2015

Base(ball) Oddity #31: Vermont Historical Society Set

I discovered today's featured set by accident. Well, sort of.

It all began after discovering a set produced by the Wisconsin Historical Society commemorating the 1957 World Champion Milwaukee Braves team. Seeing the 96-card set got me thinking: are there any other similar sets that have been produced? The wonders of Google gave me my answer.

Produced by the Vermont Historical Society in the year 2000, the 36-card Vermonters in the Major Leagues set features one card for each of the 34 Vermont-born men who have played major league baseball, as well as an artist card and a VHS header card.

Each card measures 3.5" x 5" and features the work of artist and S.A.B.R. member Dick Leyden, who himself is a resident of Vermont. Only 2000 Commemorative Sets were produced, each boxed and stamped with a serial number. Backs feature a nice gold border, short biography and career stats.

I never would have imagined the second-least populous state in the union would have produced as many major leaguers as it has. However, many of the players included in this set played during the 19th Century or early part of the 20th Century, and are thus unknowns. My primary interest in this set was the inclusion of former Braves player and broadcast legend Ernie Johnson. Other notables include more modern players, such as former Texas Rangers first baseman Pat Putnam, Rangers/Twins pitcher Len Whitehouse, and Orioles/Twins pitcher Mark Brown, long-time player and manager Birdie Tebbetts, and Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk.

Two other cards feature players with interesting stories:

Ray Fisher, who pitched in a total of ten major league seasons, was blackballed from the game after a contract dispute with the Reds in 1921.

Ed Doheny, former NY Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher (1895-1903), began acting bizarrely shortly before the first ever World Series and was sent home. Despite receiving treatment, the sixteen-game winner attacked a nurse with a cast-iron stove leg, also holding a number of people as prisoners. After being taken into police custody, Doheny was declared insane and spent the final years of his life in asylums.

For anyone interested in obtaining their own set, the Vermont Historical Society has them for $1 plus shipping. Or, if interested in receiving one for an oddball or team set, let me know. All except the Johnson are up for trade.

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