About Me

I am a long time baseball fan who became interesting in documenting the "missing" batter strikeouts a few years back as an outgrowth of my interest in the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Grew up w/ the Big Red Machine. I now follow them and my new hometown, Detroit Tigers. Member of SABR off and on since 1979.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

M101-1 Variations

In this blog entry, I am going to off normal topic a bit.  As you may notice, I have renamed my blog to read "K's, Cards, and Things" as I may from time to time offer thoughts on baseball cards and other stuff.

Once upon a time, I was heavily into baseball cards, starting with the fantastic 1972 6 series set.   That set started me on a decade long run of collecting sets, going to local conventions and reading Sports Colectors Digest.   Once college came along, I moved away from the hobby.   A few years after college, I decided to get back into it and ended up completing the sets 1968-1980.   Well, again, I went away from the hobby, and eventually as those who have read this blog know, I got deep into 1899 Spiders and went on from there.

One of the natural outgrowths of  my 1899 research and my past collecting was to see if there were any "baseball cards" from my study era.   The only ones I could find were an obscure large size issue called M101-1 (M for magazine) that was issued by The Sporting News as a supplement to their newspaper from 1899 through 1900.   The whole set was also offered for purchase as well.  Lew Lipset wrote a  very good article on the set in the 1st issue of VCBC (Vintage Classic Baseball Collector) magazine.

Anyway, while continuing my batter strikeout research, I also continued to look for any M101-1's on eBay, or any other site that might have them for sale.   This is not like T-206's or a Topps issue where cards are constantly up for auction or sale - you can go 2 years without seeing one up on eBay or one of the auction houses.  

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to acquire well over 40 of the 60 so subjects in the collection and as I did so, I started to notice some interesting features of this set.

One of these involved a change in font.  Between May 5 and May 12, 1900, the font style of the heading "The Sporting News" changed:

Here is James McGuire from May 5:

Here is Bill Dinneen from May 12:

The font seems to be "softened up" (IMO) - I wonder if TSN had changed their font around this time for the actual newspaper as well.  If anyone knows (or feels like checking Paper of Record), please let me know.
I originally observed a "color" change at this breakpoint as well from a brownish tone to more of a grayish tone, but I am not sure if this still is the case.  My observation may be due to the quality and aging of the subjects, but there may have been an "ink change".  Still not sure.

That was the main "change" in the issue I found, but what I also found was "alternate" or variation issues of a number of the subjects - all were towards the beginning of the run and a few indicated new teams.

The variations followed a general pattern - 1 issue had the player framed with a 2 line border and underneath the player's name, next to the team name, some indicates "1898" instead of  "1899"

Due to the border, the heading sits higher on the supplement

Here is the 1898 version of Hugh Duffy from April 29, 1899:

Here is the "1899" version of Duffy:

Here is the May 20, '99 variations of Michael Griffin.

The first one indicates him on Brooklyn with a copyright notice from 1898 and the National Copper Plate mention (the M101-1's are based on an issue by the National Copper Plate company from 1898 - these do not have the TSN heading).

The alternate issue, has Griffin with St. Louis, 1899 and sans frame.  The text on the back is essentially the same except for the additional text:  "He was sold to St. Louis this spring, but so far has refused to report.  He has bought an interest in a brewery at Utica, ans says he will not play ball again".

Here is Kid Nicols with the 2 versions:

The players that I have been able to identify with 2 versions so far are:

1.  April 29, '99 - Hugh Duffy
a. frame
b. no frame

2. May 6, '99 - Charles [Kid] Nichols
a. frame
b. no frame

3. May 30, '99 - Michael Griffin
a. frame - Brooklyn
b. no frame - St. Louis

4.  June 3, '99 - Clark Griffith
a. frame
b. no frame

5.  June 10, '99 - John Doyle
a. frame - New York (I'm pretty sure on this one, it's been awhile since I have seen the NY subject)
b. no frame - Washington

6. June 17, '99 - Bobby Wallace
a. frame, Cleveland, 1898
b. no frame, St. Louis, 1899

7. June 24, '99 - John O'Connor
a. frame, Cleveland, 1898
b. no frame, St. Louis, 1899

8. July 1, '99 - Louis Criger
a. frame, Cleveland, 1898
b. no frame, St. Louis, 1899

I have a good feeling that the other players not listed here that are in that date range - Bill Lange (4/15), Marty Bergen (5/13), "Wilber" Robinson (5/27) - also have the 2 versions.

My feeling is that the framed versions were the original supplement insert that was put into TSN for those weeks while the "updated" versions were part of the set that was mailed out later.  Without knowing specfically when the sets actually began to be sent out, it is hard to say conclusively.

I have also yet to see a example of a framed subject after Criger 

Would love any insight anyone has on this great set!  

Thank you for taking the time to read my entry.


  1. I took a look at the May 5th and May 12th front pages of The Sporting News. Same font type for both of them. I'll do more research later.

    Nice blog, by the way.

  2. Thank you.

    Take a look at the "T" in "The" and "N" in "News", you will see a definite difference in the Font style.

  3. Hi and excuse the late response to this. I just saw this blog now in my Google ramblings. The 1898 series with a border that you are showing is from the National Copper Plate company. They are much rarer than the 1899/1900 M101-1's.

  4. Hi Ronald, thank you for taking the time to read one of my blog entries.

    The images I have posted are from the 1899-1900 The Sporting News Supplement (M101-1), you can tell because they have the banner "Supplement to 'The Sporting News' St. Louis, MO [issue date]". The 1898 National Copper Plate set has no such heading. The M101-1 issue used a number of the images from the NCP issue.


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