Last year, I went on a brief Helmar streak over the summer. I really like their "art cards", which are inspired by old-time card designs and feature original artwork of many forgotten heroes of the dead-ball era. At a $9.99 starting price for each auction my enthusiasm eventually waned, but I still look at their weekly eBay auctions every so often (they end every Tuesday night) and will sometimes grab one that speaks to me if I'm the lone bidder.
Anyway, the two I have to feature today were grabbed last year, and are from the Polar Night set. These are over-sized, closer to a postcard in size than a modern trading card actually. If you care to learn more about them here's a link
to my post last summer where I discuss the inspiration behind the design, size of the cards, etc.
First up, we have Charles "Pretzels" Getzien (or Getzein, as it appears here). Several things drew me to this card, including but not limited to:
- The awesome backdrop, featuring what looks like a factory of some sort? A riverboat on the horizon, maybe?
- He's shown here with the Detroit Wolverines, which is just a fantastic team name
- He was the first German player in MLB history
- Dude pitched six complete games in the 1887 World Series (which the Wolverines won 10 games to 5)!
Apparently sources dispute whether he got the nickname "Pretzels" due to his German descent, or due to the fact that he possessed an ability to throw a "double curve" that mimicked the shape of the German snack! To me it sounds like the former is more likely, but you never know given that his curveball was indeed the source of much study and speculation in the 1880s. Either way, what a cool piece of baseball lore!
Here's a look at the back of Pretzels' card. The Polar Nights all have this standard back, with the only difference being the card number of course.
The other Polar Night I have for you today is Larry Twitchell, pictured above. I grabbed this one because he was a teammate of Pretzels Getzien on those Detroit Wolverines clubs of the late 1880s, including on the 1887 team that won the World Series! I guess I'm off and running on a Wolverines team set here.
I believe Larry has a card in the Old Judge set from the 1800s, but I don't have that kind of hobby budget, and even if I did there would be a lot of other expensive cards on my want list ahead of that one. That's why I enjoy these Helmar cards so much, they are an affordable way to obtain high quality cards with vintage look and feel, of largely forgotten stars that would be absent from my collection otherwise.
To each his own, but I love the work that Helmar Brewing does in creating these little works of art, and hope to continue supporting their business in the future. At the same price point, give me one of these over a Topps NOW card any day!
I don't think I've ever picked up one of their cards but I agree they look well done. (I do have a small group of T69 Helmar Historic Homes.)
Helmar has some really cool stuff. As for the sweet Pretzel... the first thing that popped into my head was a riverboat.
Don't know that I'd ever buy these myself, but these two Helmars are certainly cool!
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