Friday, August 14, 2015

1939 Play Ball - Phillies Team Set

I recently put the finishing touches on a complete 1939 Play Ball Phillies team set, adding the card of Hugh "Losing Pitcher" Mulcahy to my collection.  I thought it would be cool to present the entire 10-card team set here with a brief blurb on each player's Phillies career.

The 1939 Phillies have the distinction of being one of the worst teams in franchise history, finishing with a .298 (45-106) won/loss percentage and eclipsing the 105 losses suffered by the 1938 Phillies team.

#12 Hershel Martin
#28 Sylvester Johnson
#33 Del Young
#37 Virgil Davis
#45 Merrill May
#46 Morris Arnovich
#63 Emmett Mueller
#98 Pinky Whitney
#127 Gil Brack
#145 Hugh Mulcahy
#12 Hershel Martin - One of the regular outfielders for the 1939 Phillies, Martin hit .282 in 111 games for the club that season.  I wrote about Martin in this post, and I also featured a color picture of the 1938 club's blue and yellow uniforms.  I also have Martin's 1940 Play Ball card in my collection and I featured it in a post along with the next two players listed below.

#28 Sylvester Johnson - Johnson was at the end of his 19-year career in 1939, and he served as the team's pitching coach that season as well as appearing in 22 games.  Johnson pitched in three World Series games for the 1931 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

#33 Del Young - Infielder Young appeared in 309 games with the Phillies between 1937 and 1940, hitting .224.

#37 Virgil Davis - "Spud" Davis was the Phillies regular catcher from 1930 to 1933 before escaping to the Cardinals and Reds for 4 1/2 seasons.  He'd come back to the Phils in 1938 and in 1939 he'd hit .307 in 87 games.  I published a more detailed post on Davis' career six years ago when I originally picked up his 1939 Play Ball card.

#45 Merrill May - 1939 was third baseman "Pinky" May's rookie season in the Majors.  I published a detailed look at May's career in this post from August 2009.  I also have cards of his in my collection from the 1940 Play Ball and 1941 Double Play sets.

#46 Morris Arnovich - Outfielder Arnovich was the club's leading hitter in 1939 with a .324 batting average and he was also the lone Phillies representative at the 1939 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium.  I previously featured Arnovich's 1940 Play Ball card in this post.

#63 Emmett Mueller - "Heinie" Mueller played his entire four-year career with the Phillies between 1938 and 1941 before serving in World War II.  He hit a home run in his first big league at-bat off the Brooklyn Dodgers' Van Lingle Mungo.

#98 Pinky Whitney - One of the greatest third basemen in franchise history, 1939 was the 12th and final year of Whitney's big-league career.  I wrote about Whitney in this post, and his daughter (or relative) left a comment about Whitney being a wonderful father.

#127 Gil Brack - Baseball Reference lists Brack as "Gibby" Brack, and the outfielder spent two seasons with the Phillies in 1938 and 1939.  In 163 games with the Phils, Brack hit .288 with 10 home runs and 69 RBIs.  After his playing days were over, Brack was employed as a steel worker and unfortunately he met a tragic end.

#145 Hugh Mulcahy - Mulcahy started more games (32) than any other pitcher for the 1939 Phillies, going 9-16 with a 4.99 ERA.  As I wrote when I posted his 1940 Play Ball card, Mulcahy earned the "Losing Pitcher" nickname by going 42-82 with the Phillies over the first six years of his career.  He was the first Major Leaguer to be drafted to serve during World War II, and he'd miss four seasons (1941-1944) serving his country.


Steve F. said...

Good post! I have a bunch of these cards too; I don't know how many exactly, but close to a full team set. This must be a relatively mass-produced set (considering the fact that it is 76 years old!) since they don't seem to sell for all that much in VG or so condition--often just a few dollars each. In fact, the early-1970s TCMA set, "The 1930s", which pictures many of these guys as Phillies, seems to sell for about the same price per cards. Anyway, thanks for the post. I will have to make a concerted effort to complete my team set as well.

Jim said...

I think you're right about the mass produced part. These really weren't all that expensive to track down. My other theory is that since these cards are black and white, and don't really feature much star power, they're not popular with most collectors.

I'm close to the 1940 Play Ball team set as well.