Set Type: Primary
Manufacturer: Charles Gross & Co.
Card dimensions: Approximately 4½” x 6½”
Additional Information: Issued at the same time as and even rarer than the 1887 Kalamazoo Bats (N690) set. SCD’s 2011 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (p. 196) says the following about these cabinet cards: “One variety displays the photo on a black mount with the words ‘Smoke Kalamazoo Bats’ embossed in gold to the left. The other contains no advertising, although there is an oval embossment on the card, along with the words ‘Chas. Gross & Co.’ and an 1887 copyright line. These cards also have a distinctive pink color on the back of the cardboard mount.” Look closely above the base on the Tom Gunning photo to the right (you may need to click on the photo to see in the necessary degree of detail), and you can see the oval embossment referenced by SCD.
Because the cards were produced in Philadelphia, the set contains an inordinately high percentage of Phillies cards. 21 of the 39 cards listed in the 2011 Standard Catalog are Phillies. Note that Beckett does not list the set; instead, it appears to confuse the N690-1 designation with the Kalazmazoo Bats (N690) set.
The Tom Gunning image comes from a page on Litwack.org which extensively displays a large number of cards from this regular Kalamazoo Bats (N690) set. The images of the Philadelphia B.B.C. card come from Robert Edward Auctions, which auctioned the card in May, 2011. For even more information regarding the Kalamazoo Bats Cabinets, and a look at the seedy underside of vintage memorabilia collecting, you may want to read on Peter J. Nash’s Hauls of Shame website a report which details the theft of a number of Phillies Kalamazoo Bats Cabinets from the New York Public Library.
Charles Bastian, Dan Casey, & Billy Taylor (Taylor is the
Charlie Buffinton (uncorrected error; last name spelled “Buffington”)
Arthur Irwin & Al Maul
Harry Lyons & Billy Taylor
James “Deacon” McGuire (throwing variation)
James “Deacon” McGuire (catching variation)
Harry Wright (manager)
Philadelphia B.B.C. (card believed unique)