Card of the Day: 1921 Exhibits Possum Whitted

Today’s Card of the Day player has appeared in this series once before. Possum Whitted won’t be a regular here because he didn’t have many cards made during his 2 1/2 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His first article was posted here two years ago today on what would have been his 131st birthday if modern medicine didn’t fail us. We took a look at his 1922 E121 card that day. That’s more of a tradition looking baseball card than today’s choice. This is our first time checking out a 1921 Exhibits card, though the cards from that company over the years had a very similar look, so this card isn’t going to look much different than others we have covered here in the past.

Here’s the front of the card (the back of the card is blank)

These cards are very similar to postcards. The backs of all of them over the years are blank. Everything about the player is included on the front. These cards measure 3-3/8″ X 5-3/8″, which leads to the postcard comparison. Due to the size, sometimes these cards get overlooked by collectors, so you can get them cheaper than smaller cards of the same player put out at the same time. That’s great if you want to find cards of Hall of Famers from that era.

What I love about these cards is the great photos you get for players from that era. Topps didn’t include action photos in their set until the 1972 In Action subset. This card was coming out 51 years earlier with better photo quality than many of those early Topps action shots. Just look at that great shot of Whitted at the plate.

The design of these cards wasn’t the best for most years. They were all about the photo, which isn’t a bad thing. There’s no border to the photo, which is typical of this set over the years. This particular year included a facsimile signature, the players position and the team name, along with the league. There were no other teams in Pittsburgh, so putting that “NL” isn’t exactly necessary. However, there were 16 teams back then and ten of the teams were just in five cities, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and St Louis. So having the league designation in the set makes sense. I’ll also note that the Pittsburgh spelling is wrong for that year. The city name changed from 1890-1911 to the spelling you see above. By 1921, everyone should have got the memo that they went back to the old spelling.

Whitted is listed as an infielder here, but he mostly played outfield during his career. The outlier is the 1920 season, when he was the starting third baseman for the Pirates, while also seeing some time at first base. He went back to the outfield during the 1921 season.

If you’re interested in this card, there are three of them on Ebay right now. First I’ll recommend searching “Whitted Exhibits” because people list him different ways. Some write his well-known nickname, which is how he is most often referenced now. Others put his first name (George), while others, for this card specifically, actually list his name as “Geo.” in the auction title. Anyway, my recommended search will bring up all three examples. The prices start with one going for $38 with a best offer option. That one has writing on the front, so you might want to skip that one. Then other two are both graded SGC 60, and the prices are $155 and $125, with a best offer option for the latter. I don’t know if either is a great price, but you don’t need me to tell you which one is better. I would definitely use that best offer option, just to be safe.