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Bobby Doerr (True) Rookie Cards

An All-Star ballplayer at Fremont High School in Los Angeles, CA. Bobby Doer was quickly signed as a 16 year old by the Hollywood Sheiks. By 1934, the Boston Red Sox picked up the option for Doerr’s contract. Bobby Doerr has one true rookie card.

Bobby Doerr, Consistent and Dependable

Recently, we lost the oldest living Hall of Fame baseball player. Bobby Doerr died on November 13, 2017, in Junction City, Oregon, at the age of 99. He played his entire 14-year career for the Boston Red Sox between 1937-1951.

Legend has it that Doerr at the young age of 19 debuted in his first career game in 1937 as a big leaguer and he went 3 for 5 that night.

He also hit for the cycle twice in his career, once against the St. Louis Browns and another against the Chicago White Sox.

Bobby Doerr was regarded as one of the top defensive second basemen of his generation. Doerr led baseball for career double plays at second base with 1,507 up until 1963.

Teammate Johnny Pesky said of Doerr, “I never saw him misplay a ball, and he had the best backhand of any second baseman I ever saw.”

Doerr didn’t hit like other players of his day, like teammate Ted Williams, but he was a consistent, dependable ballplayer.

Best Years of Bobby Doerr

Bobbie Doerr was drafted to the war in 1945 and missed the entire season. Just before reporting for duty in September 1944, Doerr was named the AL Player of the Year by The Sporting News. He was batting .325 as the Red Sox were flirting with the playoffs.

When he returned from the military in 1946 he picked up right where he left off. Inspired by the war being over Bobby Doerr produced 116 RBI’s on 158 base hits. His personal best. He came in 3rd in 1946 for league MVP.

The Red Sox had a fantastic season and dominated all the way into the World Series. However, they lost in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Career Stats and Accomplishments

According to Bobby Doerr career stats are: Batting Average .288 | Hits 2,042 | Homeruns 223 | Runs Scored 1,094 | RBI’s 1,247 | Fielding % .980


  • 9x All-Star
  • 1986 Hall of Fame Induction

1939 Play Ball, #7 (RC)

This 39 Play Ball set has all the qualifications to be considered a mainstream set therefore, the Bobby Doerr in this set is the sole card of Doerr labeled with the RC (rookie card) identifier.

The card front features a black and white portrait photo: no banners, no name, no team emblems, it does give us a white border that helps us determine centering.

The card backs give us player bio towards the top and commentary about Bobby in the middle. At the bottom, the card claims, “This is one of a series of 250 pictures of leading baseball players. Save to get them all.”

The truth is the set doesn’t contain 250 cards, only cards #1-162 are known to exist. Shortages of paper and gum base were perhaps the reason for the rest of the set not getting printed.

Noteworthy: Bobbie Doerr was known throughout the TTM (Through the Mail) community for being very fan-friendly with his autograph. TTM’ers are thankful for his willingness throughout the years.

 1938 Goudey Heads-Up, #258

These 1938 Goudey’s featured here were products that lack the wider scope and/or full extent of licensing typically found in mainstream sets they were tagged with the XRC label within the hobby.

The 38-Goudey Heads Up is a peculiar set. They measure 2-3/8″ x 2-7/8″ and came in one card packs with a stick of bubblegum.

Card design makes it exclusively outside the box. A photo of an oversized head placed on the body of a cartoon. I absolutely love it!

The card back gives a decent player bio and of course since Goudey was a bubblegum manufacturer you get a bubblegum advertisement in big bold font.

However, this is not a Bobby Doerr rookie card, more on that below.

1938 Goudey Heads-Up, #282

Of the 48 cards in this set, there are only 24 different players. That’s because the set contains two different versions of the same 24 players.

This is the second group of cards #265-#288 and they look identical the only exception is cartoons that were added on the front of the cards. They don’t appear to have any rhyme or reason, just random baseball facts.

Another thing that has collectors perplexed is the numbering of this set; the complete 48 card set appears to be numbered much like the extended or updated sets of today’s modern cards. The numbering appears to be an extension of the 1933 Goudey set.

Therefore “The Hobby” considers the ’38 Goudey of Bobby Doerr – XRC or extended rookie cards which is an identifier that has been used to include cards coming from extended products, for example Topps Traded or the like.

That being the case I consider these Pre-Rookie Cards. I suspect these two cards were printed in 1933 probably as a series of there own meant to be distributed later that season.

However, they were not released until 1938 for whatever reason. Being that Doerr was a hot prospect drafted at the young age of 16 but didn’t debut in the MLB until age 19 in 1937.

My point. The timeline puts him at the scene of card production for 1933-34 prior to his MLB debut.

For more details on what determines a rookie card check out my article The 10 Commandments of the Rookie Card.

Happy Collecting Collectors,

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