The World Seemed Somewhat Brighter, More Vibrant & Cheerful In 1948

Following World War II the Leaf Gum Company was the first to introduce sports collecting cards in vibrant color!  Leaf colorized both their baseball card series and professional football cards ... the cards were brilliant!   And, they were popular with collectors but a challenge to manufacture/produce.  Leaf printers struggled with the color registration and cutting the cards so that the image was nicely centered proved to be more difficult than they'd imagined.  But when it all came together, Boy Howdy were these cards smokin' hot!

My father's collection mentioned earlier did not include any of these cards ... he was too busy courting my Mom & settling into his career as a young advertising executive on the rise.  But over the past year my affection for these cards continued to grow as I spotted 'em for sale at shows and online.  I knew I really didn't need more baseball cards ... but I wanted to pick-up a small grouping of well loved, bargain priced cards. 

Mission accomplished:  I found two Detroit Tiger baseball cards: pitcher Paul "Dizzy" Trout and 1st baseman George "Sam" Vico.  Trout lead all American League pitchers in '43 with 20 wins and an earned run average of 2.48.  Vico's pro career was less auspicious but he did enjoy the distinction of being the 6th player in MLB history to hit a home run on his very first major league at-bat.  I also was drawn to the Vico card by it's unique two-tone color background.

My collection of four Leaf '48 football cards include 2 Hall of Famers.  I first learned about Clyde "Bulldog" Turner while reading the Bronko Nagurski book brother Pat gave me. Like most players of the era, Turner played both offense & defense - linebacker & center for the Chicago Bears, and played with Nagurski on the '43 Bears NFL championship team.  Louise gave me a biography about George Taliaferro who was the 1st black football player selected in the NFL draft after a stellar college career at University of Indiana playing halfback, quarterback & punter.  Taliaferro was a true triple-threat player.  

Heisman Trophy winner in 1947: quarterback Johnny Lujack of Notre Dame was drafted by the Bears after winning three college national championships ('43, '46, '47). The Lujack rookie card is the most valuable of this mini-collection, rated a "3" by authentication service PSA.  

Ted "the Bull" Fritsch was talented multi-sport athlete (baseball, basketball & football) and Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame fullback.  Besides the bright colors, I love the crazy facial expressions and design ... what a great addition to my little collection!

[1]  the Leaf cards are 2-3/8" by 2-7/8" ... slightly larger than the Goudey & National Chicle cards shown below.
[2]  originally posted 07.16.19 - frame completed 11.21.19