John (brave_heart) wrote in mlbskeds,
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mlbskeds

Brown & Bigelow artwork schedules

I've been doing some research on the history of the schedule cards from the '50s that feature a famous baseball figure giving advice to a boy. I've seen four versions: the most common one with Connie Mack instructing a boy in a baseball uniform, and three others with Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and John McGraw that feature a plaque or newspaper article in the background.

Apparently the lithographs were part of an annual series depicting Hall of Fame Baseball players interacting with children, which were published by the advertising firm Brown & Bigelow from 1950 until 1972. http://www.baberuthleague.org/images/March2005web.pdf

The Connie Mack version was printed by the Philadelphia Athletics with a home schedule on the back in color '54 and '53 and in black-and-white in '52. I also have one with an '52 Indians schedule on the back sponsored by K.D. Hiller for Sheriff of Tuscarawas County.

The John McGraw lithograph appears on a '53 Athletics/Phillies combo sponsored by I.C.C. Loan Company and a '54 Cardinals sked sponsored by the Pacific Cafe.

The Pacific Cafe did another 1954 Cards' schedule, this one with the Ty Cobb lithograph. This one misspelled the restaurant's name as "Pacifac Cafe"--perhaps the printer did the McGraw for them after that for free. I also have a 1955 Phillies' schedule with the Ty Cobb lithograph sponsored by Hawk's Cities Service, and on Ebay I saw the Ty Cobb artwork on a 1954 Orioles Schedule sponsored by Jensen Needles.

Here's an image of the Honus Wagner lithograph: http://www.antiquesnart.com/HWagnerCF.jpg
The artist of the Wagner lithograph was Bill Medcalf, who worked for Brown & Bigelow and was primarily known for his depictions of scantily clad women. It appears on several MLB schedules in my collection, including a '55 Reds' sked sponsored by Rueter's Sunoco Service
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Andy Blackwood wrote on Skednet:

I have 1951-52 Cuban baseball schedule cards, sponsored by Guinness, which have paintings of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig from the same series. These are on playing card stock, and full decks and individual playing cards turn up from time to time as well. Brown and Bigelow made other Cuban sked cards. Perhaps my favorite schedule of all, also a 1951-52 Cuban card sponsored by Guinness, features a nude pin-up. Maybe I'll put some pictures up at some point.