Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XLI
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 6/21/2012
Based on the great Amish candy traditions of central Pennsylvania, the American Caramel Company burst onto the scene in 1889, when the Breisch-Hine Company of Philadelphia and the P.C. Wiest Company of York, Pennsylvania merged together. In 1900, the growing caramel maker acquired the Lancaster Caramel Company from Milton Hershey for $1 million and America’s caramel leader was born. As an added incentive to children of the time, American Caramel decided to start adding baseball cards to their offerings – and the idea was an explosive hit.
Over the years, American Caramel produced some of the most memorable and desirable baseball sets on record. The E90-3 set features twenty cards and came out in 1910 or 1911 with exclusively Cubs and White Sox players. It has two cards that are difficult to locate: Frank Chance of the Cubs and Chick Gandil from the White Sox. Gandil's card has the distinction of showcasing him as one of the ill fated members of the "Black Sox" team and is extremely popular with collectors.
The American Caramel Company shared its part in early baseball card history and left collectors beautiful examples of creativity and design that honored some of the game's greatest players. Only lasting six years as a business venture, it eventually went out of the card business when its doors closed. But its contribution to collecting is still prominent as the results of any major vintage baseball card auction demonstrate.
The subject of this magnificent NM 7 is catcher Fred Payne. Payne was a competent reserve catcher with good hands, a good arm and, not surprisingly, a weak bat. The Camden, New York native played an important role for the 1907 and 1908 Tigers, relieving Boss Schmidt behind the plate and giving the pennant-winner Tigers a competent option behind the plate when their starter needed a rest.
In a losing cause to the Cubs, Payne did make it into the 1907 World Series, going 1-for-4 with a single (35 points above his career batting average).
In 1909, Payne was traded to the White Sox where he played behind an aging Billy Sullivan. The following season, Payne caught the majority of games for the Sox, who were one of the worst hitting teams in history. Finishing in 6th place in 1910, as a team, the South Siders hit at an anemic .211 clip. Big Ed Walsh finished with a sub-.500 record despite a 1.27 ERA. That’s how bad the Sox were.
Portions courtesy sportscollectorsdaily.com
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