1940 Play Ball Baseball Card # 159 Pancho Snyder RC


1940 Play Ball Baseball Card # 159 Pancho Snyder RC

After a successful debut in 1939, Gum, Inc. brought back its Play Ball baseball card set in 1940. Featuring a noticeably improved design and larger checklist that included legendary players from the past, the 1940 Play Ball Baseball card set was once overlooked but has enjoyed a boost in popularity with collectors in recent years.

Measuring in at 2-1/2″ by 3-1/8″, 1940 Play Ball Baseball was printed and distributed in two series. The first series includes cards #1-144, and the second series features the remaining cards, #145-240. The 240-card set matched 1933 Goudey as the largest, single-year, gum card set issued to that point. The release is designated as R335 in the American Card Catalog.

Although the cards still feature black-and-white photographs like in 1939, several elements were added top help elevate the 1940 Play Ball Baseball design.  A banner featuring the player’s name, and nickname, if applicable, was added to the bottom. The section is adorned with a glove, bat and catcher’s mask, and a frame is placed around the picture.

The 1940 Play Ball Baseball card backs are very similar to the ones found in the 1939 set, featuring a detailed biographical write-up. The main difference is a 1940 copyright date and a new ad copy at the bottom. Some cards in the high number series provide a preview of Superman Gum, a future release by the company. Dubbed “Superman Backs,” cards #121-180 can be found with one of six similar ads that tout the upcoming Superman release. The card group can also be found with the basic Gum, Inc. ad found on the rest of the set.

Key active players anchoring the 1940 Play Ball Baseball set include Joe DiMaggio (#1) and Ted Williams (#27). Loaded with Hall of Fame talent throughout the checklist, other popular cards include Jimmie Foxx (#133), Hank Greenberg (#40) and Mel Ott (#88). Various coaches and managers are also included in the set.

In addition to being much more difficult to locate, one other feature of the high-number series is the inclusion of cards celebrating retired stars. At the time, the Hall of Fame was still relatively new and the legends helped fill out the number of cards needed for the final series. Today, retired stars are regularly inserted into sets but this was a new development in 1940. Combined with the active players of the set, the Hall of Fame count in 1940 Play Ball Baseball exceeds 50 subjects.

Older hobby guides indicate that collectors generally frowned upon cards featuring retired players, but that has changed over time. Since the retired legends are part of the limited high-number series in 1940 Play Ball Baseball, they already receive a premium in terms of value. Most notably, Shoeless Joe Jackson has become one of the key cards in the set, commanding top-dollar at auction. Other noteworthy, retired greats appearing in the high-number series include Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner, Tris Speaker and Napoleon Lajoie.

The 1940 Play Ball Baseball set is notorious for a specific condition issue that is inconsistent with those of the 1939 or 1941 sets. For whatever the reason, the set suffers from noticeable problems related to border toning. Colors can range from a sepia tone to yellowish-brown. It can be very challenging to find cards without this discoloration. Over the years, the hobby has begrudgingly accepted this unfortunate characteristic and has settled on finding cards with even toning across all borders. Centering can also be an issue.

1 Joe DiMaggio

2 Art Jorgens

3 Babe Dahlgren

4 Tommy Henrich

5 Monte Pearson

6 Lefty Gomez

7 Bill Dickey

8 George Selkirk

9 Charlie Keller

10 Red Ruffing

11 Jake Powell

12 Johnny Schulte

13 Jack Knott

14 Eric McNair

15 George Case

16 Cecil Travis

17 Buddy Myer

18 Charlie Gelbert

19 Ken Chase

20 Buddy Lewis

21 Rick Ferrell

22 Sam West

23 Dutch Leonard

24 Frankie Hayes

25 Bob Johnson

26 Wally Moses

27 Ted Williams

28 Gene Desautels

29 Doc Cramer

30 Moe Berg

31 Jack Wilson

32 Jim Bagby

33 Fritz Ostermueller

34 John Peacock

35 Joe Heving

36 Jim Tabor

37 Emerson Dickman

38 Bobby Doerr

39 Tom Carey

40 Hank Greenberg

41 Charlie Gehringer

42 Bud Thomas

43 Pete Fox

44 Dizzy Trout

45 Red Kress

46 Earl Averill

47 Ossie Vitt RC

48 Luke Sewell

49 Roy Weatherly

50 Hal Trosky

51 Don Heffner

52 Myril Hoag

53 George McQuinn

54 Bill Trotter

55 Slick Coffman

56 Eddie Miller RC

57 Max West

58 Bill Posedel

59 Rabbit Warstler

60 Johnny Cooney

61 Tony Cuccinello

62 Buddy Hassett

63 Pete Cascarart

64 Van Mungo

65 Freddie Fitzsimmons

66 Babe Phelps

67 Whit Wyatt

68 Dolph Camilli

69 Cookie Lavagetto

70 Luke Hamlin

71 Mel Almada

72 Chuck Dressen RC

73 Bucky Walters

74 Duke Derringer

75 Buck McCormick

76 Lonny Frey

77 Bill Hershberger

78 Lew Riggs

79 Harry Craft

80 Bill Myers

81 Wally Berger

82 Hank Gowdy

83 Cliff Melton

84 Jo-Jo Moore

85 Hal Schumacher

86 Harry Gumbert

87 Carl Hubbell

88 Mel Ott

89 Billy Jurges

90 Frank Demaree

91 Bob Seeds

92 Burgess Whitehead

93 Harry Danning

94 Gus Suhr

95 Hugh Mulcahy

96 Heinie Mueller

97 Morrie Arnovich

98 Pinky May

99 Syl Johnson

100 Hersh Martin

101 Del Young

102 Chuck Klein

103 Elbie Fletcher

104 Paul Waner

105 Lloyd Waner

106 Pep Young

107 Arky Vaughan

108 Johnny Rizzo

109 Don Padgett

110 Tom Sunkel

111 Mickey Owen

112 Jimmy Brown

113 Mort Cooper

114 Lon Warneke

115 Mike Gonzales

116 Al Schacht

117 Dolly Stark

118 Waite Hoyt

119 Ol Pete Alexander

120 Walter Johnson

121 Atley Donald RC

122 Sandy Sundra RC

123 Oral Hildebrand

124 Earle Combs

125 Art Fletcher RC

126 Moose Solters

127 Muddy Ruel

128 Pete Appleton

129 Bucky Harris RC

130 Clyde Milan RC

131 Zeke Bonura

132 Connie Mack RC

133 Jimmie Foxx

134 Joe Cronin

135 Lynn Nelson

136 Cotton Pippen

137 Bing Miller

138 Beau Bell

139 Elden Auker

140 Dick Coffman

141 Casey Stengel RC

142 George Kelly RC

143 Gene Moore

144 Joe Vosmik

145 Vito Tamulis

146 Tot Pressnell

147 Johnny Hudson

148 Hugh Casey

149 Milburn Shoffner

150 Whitey Moore

151 Eddie Joost

152 Jimmie Wilson

153 Bill McKechnie RC

154 Jumbo Brown

155 Ray Hayworth

156 Daffy Dean

157 Lou Chiozza

158 Stonewall Jackson

159 Pancho Snyder RC

160 Hans Lobert

161 Debs Garms

162 Joe Bowman

163 Spud Davis

164 Ray Berres

165 Bob Klinger

166 Bill Brubaker

167 Frankie Frisch

168 Honus Wagner

169 Gabby Street

170 Tris Speaker

171 Harry Heilmann

172 Chief Bender

173 Nap Lajoie

174 Johnny Evers

175 Christy Mathewson

176 Heinie Manush

177 Frank Baker

178 Max Carey

179 George Sisler

180 Mickey Cochrane

181 Spud Chandler RC

182 Bill Knickerbocker RC

183 Marvin Breuer RC

184 Mule Haas

185 Joe Kuhel

186 Taft Wright RC

187 Jimmie Dykes

188 Joe Krakauskas RC

189 Jimmy Bloodworth RC

190 Charlie Berry

191 Johnny Babich RC

192 Dick Seibert RC

193 Chubby Dean RC

194 Sam Chapman RC

195 Dee Miles RC

196 Nonny Nonnenkamp RC

197 Lou Finney RC

198 Denny Galehouse RC

199 Pinky Higgins

200 Soupy Campbell RC

201 Barney McCosky RC

202 Al Milnar RC

203 Odell Hale RC

204 Harry Eisenstat RC

205 Rollie Hemsley RC

206 Chet Laabs RC

207 Gus Mancuso

208 Lee Gamble RC

209 Hy Vandenberg RC

210 Bill Lohrman RC

211 Pop Joiner RC

212 Babe Young RC

213 John Rucker RC

214 Ken O’Dea RC

215 Johnny McCarthy RC

216 Joe Marty RC

217 Walter Beck

218 Wally Millies RC

219 Russ Bauers RC

220 Mace Brown RC

221 Lee Handley RC

222 Max Butcher RC

223 Hughie Jennings

224 Pie Traynor

225 Shoeless Joe Jackson

226 Harry Hooper

227 Jesse Haines

228 Charlie Grimm

229 Buck Herzog

230 Red Faber

231 Dolf Luque

232 Goose Goslin

233 George Earnshaw

234 Frank Chance

235 John J. McGraw

236 Jim Bottomley

237 Willie Keeler

238 Tony Lazzeri

239 George Uhle

240 Bill Atwood RC

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