First Phillies Card of 2013: The Importance of Being “Emil”

Featured Card: 1948 Bowman #28, Emil Verban

1948 Bowman Verban FrontThe first card I added to my collection in 2013 also happens to complete my 1948 Bowman team set. Admittedly, the set comprises just two cards, but given the scarcity of the two cards (they are both short prints) acquiring them in nice condition at a reasonable price isn’t always a given — especially if you are a collector who insists on buying them graded when dealing with cards that are over 60 years old. Yes, I know the caveats regarding graded cards, but to me spending a few extra bucks is absolutely worth the extra little piece of mind when it comes to alterations and actual card grade.

The oddity about the two Phillies in the 1948 Bowman set that intrigues me is that both of them had the first name “Emil” — the other being Emil “Dutch” Leonard. I realize that the popularity of names ebbs and wanes over the years, but what were the odds in 1948 that any team would have two players named “Emil”?  Well according the Baseball-Reference.com, there were only three Major Leaguers in 1948 with that first name, and two of them were with the Phillies. Not to be outdone, the Chicago Cubs, who had Emil Kush on their roster, acquired both of them midway through the 1948 season and until 1950 enjoyed a monopoly on all the MLB players with that first name.

I believe this is likely the most useless piece of trivia I’ve personally unearthed.

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5 responses to “First Phillies Card of 2013: The Importance of Being “Emil”

  1. Dennis Orlandini

    I have 2 Emil Verban Bowman reprints (1948 & 1949). Sometimes at today’s prices I prefer quantity over quality, hence I went the much cheaper reprint route. Verban was quite a good second baseman in the first years after World War Two. He made the 1946 and 1947 National League All-Star teams and was even voted in as a starter in ’47.

    • For a while, I made do with reprints rather than spending the money to acquire the real cards. However, the purist in me took over once my income allowed me the flexibility to buy the authentic versions. Aside from that, I was never happy with the quality of the reprints — at least the ones that I purchased. They always appeared less vivid than the originals — even those that received a decent amount of abuse.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever complete my T206 team set (minus the “Magie” variation) as I once hoped I would, but I’m able content myself with making whatever additions I can to the collection.

  2. I agree with your assessment on buying graded especially online never know what people did to the cards if you cant examine in person

  3. After reading in the book “Mint Condition” about the alterations that can be done to cards, I’m not sure I would be able to know what was done to them even when I _am_ able to see them in person. Fortunately, since I’ve never spent more than about $75 on a single card ever, the likelihood that somehow has altered any of them is not all that high–and the harm would be relatively low in any case. (Although, to be honest, I did get hosed on a 1949 Leaf Steve Van Buren, which apparently was trimmed, something I only found out when I submitted it to get graded years later.)

    • Yeah, I read “Mint Condition” as well, and it was frightening to see how well an expert in “restoration” could doctor a could and how frequently they can get it by the grading services. That’s why I mentioned that I am fully aware of the “caveats” and that I am only buying a partial piece of mind. The grading only means that it is less likely to have been altered.

      I’m not sure I would know everything to look for either if I could personally examine a vintage card beforehand, but I think that given the proper resources I could possibly train myself to do so. It’s a sad state of affairs that carrying a jeweler’s loop and a ruler to a card show is probably a good idea.

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