As you know, I have been somewhat obsessed with determining the oldest night card ever made. I have a feeling that someone is going to spring some wacky tobaccy night card from 1904 on me that I have no chance of getting. But while I'm still having fun with this, I'll press on.
The above card arrived in the mail today. It's a 1953 Bowman Color card of the St. Louis Browns' Don Lenhardt. The much-traveled Lenhardt was an outfielder and corner infielder for the Browns, Orioles, Red Sox and Tigers between 1950-54.
This card is from his second tour with the Brownies, and he just may have the honor of being on the oldest night card ever made ... for now.
I'm not 100 percent sure that it's a full-fledged night card. It could be dusk, and I'm usually hesitant to add "dusk cards" to my collection. But that blazing bank of lights in the upper left automatically makes me place it under the "night card" category without reservation. So there it stays.
In terms of "first night card," it's definitely the first Bowman night card that I know. It's very possible that there are many other '50s Bowman night cards -- it's not like I have them sitting around -- but the oldest known Bowman night card by me previously was this one:
Petrified Ernie Johnson, from 1955 Bowman, is in my blog header. It's still a terrific card.
But back to Lenhardt:
Footsie didn't have the only night card in 1953 (yes, his nickname is "Footsie," and no I don't want to know).
This is a very well-known night card of Red Sox pitcher Dick Brodowski from 1953 Topps (I don't own this card, by the way). It could be considered as being tied with Footsie for the oldest-known night card. But I disqualify it because it's a painting, not a photo. It's possible that this background was painted from an actual picture, but that's not good enough for me.
Nice card though.
So this would still be the earliest Topps night card as far as I know. Del Unser's rookie trophy card from 1969.
And this is still my favorite early night card -- a card I once considered as the possible first night card.
But we all know now that it's "Footsie."
By the way, this card came to me from David, who has supplied a number of cards for my 1977 Topps set as well as a few 1956s. This package came with a bunch of 1972 Topps needs, which you'll see some time later.
It also came with this card:
It's a fantastic 1953 Bowman Color Billy Loes card.
I really don't think I deserve the tremendous card packages that I receive. I'm truly humbled as I grasp for words (and cards) that will do a somewhat adequate job of saying thanks. I'm backlogged with card packages, but I bumped these two cards from David to the head of the line to express my gratitude.
Thanks again. I don't know what else to say.
Night Card Binder candidate: Don Lenhardt, 1953 Bowman Color, #20
Does it make the binder?: There is a vacancy, but "Footsie" would have given anyone who was in that spot the boot.