Card of the Day: 1947 Tip Top Nick Strincevich

Today’s Card of the Day comes from the 1947 Tip Top set. It features pitcher Nick Strincevich, who is a rather obscure player in Pittsburgh Pirates history due to his time-frame with the team. He should be a little bit better known for a few reasons.

Strincevich was part of an even up trade for Hall of Famer Lloyd Waner, which was quite a risk taken by the Pirates back before free agency was a thing. Giving up a star player was a move that didn’t pay off for them numerous times in the past before this 1941 trade. Strincevich was 26 years old at the time, with almost no success in the majors, where he had very little time. Waner was on the downside, but he wasn’t far removed from a typical solid season for him. It worked out great for the Pirates, as Waner’s time was worth 0.3 WAR between the early 1941 trade and the point when he rejoined the Pirates as a free agent in June of 1944.

Besides the significance of the trade, Strincevich spent seven seasons in Pittsburgh.  Those two things combined should keep him out of the obscure category. That’s a decent amount of time to spend with one team. The final thing that should help his case is that he compiled 9.5 WAR between the 1944-46 seasons. He had -2.2 career WAR before the trade to the Pirates. You add all of those things up and he was more than just some player who made it into the team’s history book.

Strincevich only had one Pirates card released while he was still playing. There have been a few later cards released, but the 1947 Tip Top set has only been part of our series once, back when we checked out Fritz Ostermueller. Today we take our second look at the set.

Here’s the front of the card:

These simple looking cards were distributed with loaves of bread from the company that produced Tip Top bread. There are 147 cards in the set. They are slightly smaller than regular standard card size, both in height and width, measuring 2-1/4″ x 3″. They did not go all out for the design, using a black and white photo on a plain white background. Didn’t even put a frame or borders around the photo. It’s all business at the bottom, as you get his name, position and his team. I have no idea why they put NL in there, but they included the league for every team in the set.

I said this just a few days ago with the Maple Crispette set, but this card has the same exact feel. If you didn’t know this set, it wouldn’t take much to convince you that this is just a cropped photo from a magazine/newspaper.

Here’s the back of the card:

This is the same scan as I used for the Ostermueller card. There’s no reason to add a new scan when the backs are the same. I love the wording on the back here. It actually explains what the word “duplicate” means. I can’t imagine anyone reading this couldn’t come up with a solution to getting the cards they needed by “trading” (exchanging items with another person) cards with a friend. The funny part is that it’s a bad marketing ploy to tell people not to buy more of their product. Why not just tell kids to open up bags until you find all of the cards you needed, that way you don’t have to spend so much on bread. The saying at the top with “catch” and “tops” in quotes isn’t the same for all cards. There’s one that tells kids to eat bread three times a day. The last funny thing is that they tell you to root for Tip-Top Bread.

Not that it makes much of a difference, but the company clearly hyphenates their name. Almost no one does now, so I went by the common title that would show up in searches. If you add the hyphen, it doesn’t change the search results. I guess either way works, but the hyphen would be technically correct.

Only one of these cards has been on Ebay in the last three months. It’s the front scan up top, quoted as being “a low grade filler”, and it ended around $45 delivered after tax. As I said, there are 147 cards in this set, but only 87 auctions have sold in the last three months. It has some popular cards, but it’s not a popular set overall. They aren’t that easy to find either