Like many of the retro products that are meant to pay tribute (or profit off of, depending on your view) to tobacco era cards, Panini’s Golden Age set features mini parallels of the base set with multiple different types of card backs. As with many of those products, I think there are probably too many. But at least with this product, those card backs are based on a few real old-school card backs.
Broad Leaf backs – T206
The Broad Leaf minis are the most common – you’ll get a brown one in about 80% of packs. I think the blue ones are 1 or 2 per box.
The Broad Leaf back design used was part of the T-206 set otherwise known as “the Monster”. Issued in 1909 and through 1911, T-206 cards came with multiple different advertising backs, depending on which pack of cigarettes the cards came from. Panini has them in both blue and brown card backs, but I think they only exist in brown in the T-206 set. There are also two versions – “Broad Leaf 350″ depicting 350 different card subjects, and the rarer “Broad Leaf 460″ noting that many cards.
5 players – Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Eddie Collins, Ed Cicotte and Chick Gandil – have cards in T-206 and in this product – so I thought I’d do a side-by-side comparison here. There are a few different cards for most of these players in the T206 set, so I just picked the one I recognized the most.
I’m not positive, but that Cobb card kind of looks like it’s from his Philadelphia Athletics days.
Cobb’s Hall of Fame teammate, Sam Crawford, is the all-time Triples Leader and an under-appreciated player from that era.
Eddie Collins, a fellow member with Cobb of the 3,000-hit club, is also in the T206 set. Collins was with Philadelphia (the A’s) at the time of the T-206 set. Eddie was quite the young lad compared to his Panini card – when he was with the White Sox.
Last were 2 of Eddie’s teammates. Gandil and Cicotte were both banned from the game for their role in the 1919 World Series fix. It makes sense that they are the two Black Sox in this set. Gandil was the ring leader and Cicotte, as the team’s ace, was the guy the gamblers really needed in on the fix.