Catcher Mike Simon joined the Pittsburgh Pirates at the perfect time, working as one of two backup catchers on the 1909 World Series champs. His lack of playing time early on kept him from appearing in some baseball card sets from the era, but he has some cards to choose from for this feature. His one appearance prior to today was on a T201 Double Folder card with pitcher Lefty Leifield. This is Simon’s first solo appearance.
The T207 set is a somewhat popular set from the early years, which has a few things working against it. They didn’t have the best player selection, including some harder to find cards of obscure players. Not too many collectors want to pay four-figures for a card of a player they don’t know. The design of the set is also a turn-off to many. It was to me, though I have around ten cards from the set. We have looked at this set somewhat recently for the rookie card of Hall of Famer Max Carey, but this is just the second appearance for this set in the last 19 months.
Here’s the front of the card:
As you can see, these cards really lack eye-drawing color. They had light gray borders, with plain brown backgrounds and brown writing. The uniforms don’t standout either, as if this set was almost created to be somber. Collectors often refer to this as the Brown Background set, which doesn’t give off appeal.
The artwork is very average for the time period. Some cards are good, some aren’t. This looks like Simon, so they did a decent job here. What’s interesting here is that this set was put out in 1912, but they have Simon in the 1912 uniform. That’s the only year they used that uniform style, and it was also the first year that the word Pirates appeared on the uniform. You can see a blue tint to some of the stripes, which was the correct color. This uniform wasn’t as drab looking as it appears here.
Since this card was put out in 1912, the spelling of Pittsburgh is incorrect. They went back to the old (and current) spelling in 1911. This is another set where they identified the league because it made sense in most cases (St Louis, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago all had two teams), but there was no other Pittsburgh team in 1912. The Federal League would soon show up with a team in Pittsburgh, but not when these cards were out.
Here’s the back of the card:
Here’s where the T207 set shines. Not many sets from back then had stats or bios of any kind. There were exceptions, like the T201 set mentioned above, or the T205 set, but most sets would just use the back as an advertisement for their product. There were also sets that used it as a checklist. You get the ad here with the Recruit Little Cigars, but most of the back here is bio info on Simon, which includes the mention of stats. This back has an error. Simon played in the American Association in 1905, but the next three years were spent in the Class-B Three-I League, one level lower. It wasn’t corrected, so there’s no added value to the factual error. You’ll also notice fielding stats here, which were quoted much more often back in the day.
If you’re interested in this card, there are seven on Ebay right now. The lowest priced one of the group is $110 for a PSA 4. There are four graded either PSA 5/SGC 60 (same grades), and they go as low as $160, up to $455, though that higher priced one is way out of the normal price range. The other two are $170 and $200. Six have sold in the last three months, with the highest price being $115. A PSA 4 ended up $85. An SGC 1 was $54, and a very low grade/ungraded copy went for $15. For $15, you’re going to get a well loved card from this set.