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The Pacific Coast League (PCL) - West Coast Cardboard

There's value in many of these minor league cards!

  • April 06, 2017
  • Leighton Sheldon

PCL Historical Society LogoBaseball West of the Rockies before 1958?

The Pacific Coast League, widely known as the PCL has had a long tradition on the Pacific Coast. Founded in 1903 and featuring teams such as the Albuquerque Dukes, Hawaii Islanders, Hollywood Stars, Las Vegas 51s, Los Angeles Angels, Mission Reds (representing San Francisco's Mission District), Oakland Oaks, Phoenix Giants, Portland Beavers, Sacramento Solons, Salt Lake Bees, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Seals, Seattle Rainiers, Spokane Indians, Vancouver Canadians, and Vernon Tigers (later the Tacoma Tigers).  They were the closest thing to Major League Baseball west of St. Louis and they were far from a slouch league!

We recently came across a nice run of 1952 and 1953 Mother's Cookie PCL cards in a recent collection that we purchased from a gentleman that grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and featured several Hall of Famers including Mel Ott and Joe Gordon.

Mel Ott Mother's Cookie PCL CardJoe Gordon Mother's Cookies PCL Card

The league has an amazing history and since there was no Major league Baseball west of St. Louis until the late 1950's, the PCL was the epitome of professional baseball west of the Rockies. The league, drawing from an incredible talent pool, produced many outstanding players, including future major League Hall of Famers such as Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Tony Lazzeri, Paul Waner and Ernie Lombardi.  Many of these players were featured on cards released over most of the span of the league.

Even before the PCL

The earliest Pacific cards were actually the 1888 S.F. Hess California League cards issued 15 years before the PCL was founded.

S.F. Hess California LeagueS.F. Hess California League

Cardboard for the Pacific Coast

Obak cards, issued by Obak Tobacco Company from 1909 through 1911, resembled the T206 cards issued on the east coast by the American Tobacco Company and featured colorized images and are still extremely popular with advanced collectors.

1909 Obak1911 Obak1910 Obak

The longest running issue, Zeenut cards, were manufactured by the Collins-McCarthy Candy Co. of San Francisco and issued from 1911 through 1938 and featured many prominent players and a few that ended up being more infamous than famous...

In 1911, Buck Weaver was included in the Zeenut set eight years before he would be implicated in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was a Hollywood silent movie comedian, a huge sports fan and part owner of the Pacific Coast League's Vernon Tigers baseball team. He was included in the 1919 set which shoes him pretending to be eating a baseball. His career was derailed by a murder scandal.

Jim Thorpe, arguably one of the greatest athletes the United States has every produced, was featured on a Zeenut issue in 1922 when he played for the Portland Beavers.

1922 Zeenut Jim Thorpe PCL Card1933-1936 Zeenut Joe DiMaggio PCL Cards1919 Zeenut Fatty Arbuckle PCL Card

One of the most desirable Zeenut issues are the two cards of Joe DiMaggio, who starred with the San Francisco Seals before taking his Hall of Fame career to Broadway where he led the New York Yankees to nine World Series Championships while winning three MVP Trophies. DiMaggio, whose name was misspelled DeMaggio, appeared in a batting pose on the 1933-36 issue and a throwing pose on the 1935 issue.

Bowman, who produced their first Major League Set in 1948, issued a 36 card PCL set in 1949 which resembled their colorized 1949 Major League Set. This set was a one-off for Bowman. Mother's Cookies produced PCL Sets in 1952 and 1953 and included several Hall of Fame players.

1949 Bowman PCL Card

The PCL has a rich history and still operates as one of the AAA leagues for Major League Baseball.  Just Collect is always interested in vintage PCL cards as well as other minor league cards from 1879-1979.  So, if you have any vintage cards or items from minor league baseball, plesae contact us today for a free appraisal.

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We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the past decade. Although we are known for buying vintage sports cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, Just Collect understands the feelings that you're going through and we will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.

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Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace.

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