This is the first 1929 baseball card set that we have covered in our Card of the Day series, which started back in early March of 2020. That’s not because I have something against the year, or I was waiting for a special occasion. It’s because there aren’t many sets from that year. Two of them don’t even have a Pittsburgh Pirates card, while another only has one. I’m surprised I haven’t used this set yet, because I do like the photos from the set. The headline player is also one who doesn’t have many options showing him on the Pirates.
Today’s player is also the headline player from today’s daily history article. I called George Grantham criminally underrated because his name almost never comes up. He’s the only player in Pirates history, who played at least seven season, while posting an OPS of .850 or higher every year. There’s no one else who can claim that feat. If you were 150 years old and a lifelong Pirates fan, you never saw anyone who was consistently that good for that long, during their entire time in Pittsburgh.
I’m not saying Grantham should be considered one of the greats in team history, but he should get much more recognition. When the Pirates get a few more years into their team Hall of Fame, he needs to be there. He’s a no-doubt member of a team Hall of Fame for what he did in a Pirates uniform. The guy ranks fifth in team history in OPS, above most of the greatest players in the franchise history. Ralph Kiner is the only elite all-time Pirates player ahead of him, possibly Kiki Cuyler, though he wasn’t around long, with almost 1,500 fewer plate appearances than Grantham in Pittsburgh.
I went a little longer on the intro today because he deserves it, but also because this card is a blank back and the pricing section will be very quick. Here’s the front of the 1929 Kashin Publications card of Pittsburgh Pirates infielder George Grantham.
Grantham joined the Pirates in a trade after the 1924 season. The Pirates had the same exact uniforms for the 1926-1929 seasons. The 1925 jersey was almost exactly the same, but it had a special patch commemorating 50 years of the National League. That patch was either on the left sleeve, or the left upper chest, depending of which of the three Pirates uniforms they were wearing that day. I don’t see the patch here (looks like the P is on the left sleeve), so you can’t narrow down the photo anymore by sight.
However, I know off-hand that this is a photo from Charles Conlon, the greatest photographer in baseball history. He worked for The Sporting News, so I was able to see that they label this as a 1927 photo, from the year they Pirates made their fourth appearance in the World Series. The quality of the original for this photo is so much nicer than what you see here.
There isn’t much to the design here. These cards were much bigger than your average card today, measuring 3-1/2” by 4-1/2”. The cards came with a facsimile signature, which might be hard to see down at the bottom. It also tells you in dark small letters that he played for Pittsburgh of the National League. If you couldn’t read the signature, then you didn’t know the player. There was nothing on the back, so let’s get into the price section.
There is one available copy on Ebay and one sold, both graded cards in bigger holders customized to fit these cards. An SGC 3.5 sold two months ago for $50. I would have bought that if I saw the price. The other is the active auction, which is $139 for an SGC 6. That’s a high grade for this set because the paper is fairly thin, so that price might be okay. It’s more than I was willing to pay, otherwise I’d be telling you about two completed auctions.