One of the better pitchers in Pittsburgh Pirates history has been in our Card of the Day series just once prior to today. One year ago today, we looked at the 1925 Exhibit card of Ray Kremer, who spent his entire ten-year career in the majors with the Pirates, joining the team in 1924, and sticking around until the 1933 season. He helped the team to the World Series in 1925 by going 17-8, 3.69 in 214.1 innings. He got them back to the postseason two years later by going 19-8, while leading the league with a 2.47 ERA. In between those World Series appearances, he won 20 games for the first time and led the league in ERA. Kremer would end up leading the league with 20 wins and 276 innings pitched in 1930. He is tied for seventh place in Pirates history with 143 wins, sharing that honor with Rip Sewell.
By the time Kremer appeared on today’s Card of the Day, he was nearing the finish line of his big league career. He didn’t debut in the majors until he was 29 years old, so he was closing in on age 40 by the time people were picking these cards up. He was back in the minors before the 1933 season ended, and he was out of baseball by 1934.
These R306 Butter Cream cards are a very interesting set. The cards are an odd size, as you will see below. They also weren’t meant to be collected. They were part of a contest, where you were supposed to write on the back of the card and turn the cards back into the Butter Cream Confectionery Company. There are 30 cards in the set and the Babe Ruth card is extremely rare, which makes it pricey and popular for collectors.
Here’s the front of the card:
What you’re looking at here is about 98% of the card. It had an odd cut, so a little got cropped off in the scan. As you can see, it’s not your typical card size here. These cards are 1-1/4″ x 3-5/8″. All of the photos are similar to this one, with a player in some action pose. They’re not the best quality photos, but then again, they weren’t made to be collected, so you can forgive the printing process here. Usually you can tell the year of the photo or get a good guess by the uniform, but the Pirates stuck with that uniform style for seven of his ten seasons. However, that same photo was used in a 1926 set, and you can find it on a Getty image that says 1926 for the year. One source lists it as a 1925 photo, but they had “50 years of the National League” patches that year and the patch would be on the left upper chest or left sleeve if this was a 1925 photo.
Here’s the back of the card:
As I mentioned up top, these are supposed to be sent in as part of a contest and you were supposed to write right on the card there. Last time I checked, there wasn’t a definitive knowledge of this contest, but the best guess (which makes sense) is that people were supposed to guess his batting average on September 1st of 1933. That’s based on the only stat listed being his batting average from 1932. Some of these cards had a date of October 1st instead of September 1st. That contest makes sense for the hitters in the set, but not really the pitchers. As I mentioned up top, Kremer didn’t last long in 1933 and he failed to pick up a hit, so I’m wondering how many people won the contest by writing in .000 after he was already let go by the Pirates.
These cards are rare and pricey. This particular scan is from the only one on Ebay right now. It is graded a PSA 4 and the asking price is $449. There are ten cards total listed on Ebay right now from this set and only three are cheaper than this one. The lowest price is one go for $179 (with best offer) and it’s graded an SGC 2. There are seven closed auctions are they all went for at least $200.