Panini Golden Age Newark Evening World Supplements – 25 cards (1:24)
Whenever I do posts on these retro inserts, I try to show some kind of comparison with the “modern” version of the set to the previous version of the set. Sometimes, it works out really well and there are one or two players who are in both sets, and thus it works out great to do a comparison.
This is not one of those sets.
As described in my post on the older set about a week ago, the Newark Evening World Supplements were a newspaper insert for a minor league team. Sure, 11 of the 15 players in the original set depicted had or would have some Major League experience. But they were far from notable names. The most famous was Clyde Engle, who played a big hand in the Red Sox 1912 World Series title. And Oscar Stanage, who was a great defensive catcher and a teammate of Ty Cobb.
But I can’t find a picture of the cards for Stanage or Engle. In fact, I could only find pictures of 4 of the cards out there on the interwebs. And 2 of those are Charles McCafferty and Henry LaBelle, who are half of the 4 players in the set who never made the majors. And a 3rd isn’t the greatest picture.
So I’m working with a good shot of Bud Sharpe. Sharpe did not have a very notable career. He played 2 seasons in the Majors, for 2 teams. His seasons were spaced 5 years apart – in 1905 with the Boston Braves and 1910 with Boston and Pittsburgh. Now, at least he could say that he played with Hall of Famers in his time in the bigs – Vic Willis with Boston, and at least Honus Wagner and manager Fred Clarke in Pittsburgh. It’s tough to tell because there aren’t game logs for his 4 games with the Pirates in 1910, but he could have also possibly played with Max Carey and Bill McKechnie.
Unfortunately for me, there aren’t any players (or athletes) in the Panini version of the set who could have been in the original set.
Not a single athlete who was an active professional at that time. The closest is Joe Jackson, who was playing for South Carolina semi-pro mill teams in 1907. Jackson signed his first minor league deal with Connie Mack to play for Philadelphia’s farm system in 1908. So Shoeless Joe gets the comparison next to Bud Sharpe here.
The other major leaguer who I could find was John “Nap” Shea. As you can see – this isn’t the greatest scan of the card. Shea was a nearly life-long minor leaguer who played in a few different minor leagues on the East Coast. It appears he wasn’t known for his bat – he had a few seasons hitting above .300, but was typically around the Mendoza line. But he must have been a heck of a catcher, because he lasted 15 minor league seasons, from 1894 to 1908 – at a time when the Major Leagues weren’t quite as clear-cut as the best play in organized baseball. There’s an article quoted on Shea’s Wikipedia page that says he was very successful investing in copper, so he had some talents outside of the baseball diamond.
Shea did have one “blemish” on that life-long minor league career. He played in 3 games for the Phillies in 1903. In 10 at bats, he got 1 hit, a single. Which is 1 more major league hit than just about everybody else in the world has!
I thought about comparing Pete Rose on here. He also played for the Phillies, plus I could have done some cutesy thing like “Shea was only 4,255 hits from the all-time leader”. But this is Panini, not Topps – so I could rightfully use his name, and that just wouldn’t be fun! Instead, I’ll go with another catcher who didn’t have a particularly notable career, but also had some pretty good success outside of his baseball career. And Joe Garagiola did make it into Panini’s version of this set.