Monday, July 13, 2009

1946 Remar Bread Oakland Oaks Baseball #5, Hersh Martin

Earnest and always quick with the bat, today's guest switch-hit his way through a 6-year career with PHI (1937-1940) and NYY (1944, 1945), missing a few to the war in-between. He appeared (but didn't bat) in 1938's All-Star game as a reserve outfielder, the same year Gehrig made his final appearance before retiring in early 1939.

Card front

Today, we sometimes tag the All-Star game as a piano recital of top performers for each league, where everyone gets a turn at bat and polite applause. In 1938, though, all but 2 starters played a full 9 innings. Gehrig pinch-hit (for 3B Buddy Lewis) and took over at 1B in the 5th, but rather than bow out, Jimmie Foxx simply moved over defensively to 3rd. Backup third-sacker (and Lou's NYY teammate) Red Rolfe stayed in the dugout.

While a good hitter in 1945, and still able to leg out several triples, the late-30s Martin soon found himself unable to compete in the Yankee outfield. Joe DiMaggio's return from the war keyed a replacement of all three starting positions, something seen in many post-war ballparks. Hersh instead caught on with the PCL Oakland Oaks, a AAA team performing well under eventual HOFer Casey Stengel. (See 1947's Oaks #5, Ray Hamrick, for more detail on the "Old Perfessor.")

Card back

Hersh's card closely resembles several Oakland Oaks issues from the same era. Local stores sponsored 4 total for the popular team, including 2 in 1947. (Remar obviously baked bread products; Smith's made men's clothing.)
  • 1946 Remar Bread Oakland Oaks
  • 1947 Remar Bread Oakland Oaks
  • 1947 Smith's Oakland Oaks
  • 1948 Smith's Oakland Oaks
Check out the 1946 Remar set in the Virtual Card Collection for nice front and back scans of all 23 cards. Curiously, it contains 5 unnumbered cards; numbered versions start with Martin and continue to #22, Bo Palica. As a minor league set, individual cards don't cost a ton, but also aren't too easy to find. $10 and patience should net you a low-grade common.

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