Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962, Bob Feller (1918-2010) was a legendary pitcher who gave up nearly four seasons of baseball in the prime of his career after enlisting for the US Navy in WWII. An eight-time All-Star and the World Series champion in 1948, he went on to be elected the inaugural President of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association.
We’re looking at some of the best ever Bob Feller rookie cards and vintage options ever produced, heading back to the 1930s to do so.
The Best Bob Feller Rookie Cards
It’s true that the ‘official’ Bob Feller RC is found in the 1948 Bowman Baseball set. However, we’ll be looking at XRCs released in the previous decade, including his first ever card from 1936.
5. 1948 Bowman Bob Feller RC #5 (eBay)
Feller’s first officially recognized rookie card, the 1948 Bowman release features a simple black-and-white image with no text. There are over 1,300 PSA graded versions altogether, and they’re reasonably inexpensive considering how popular the set is with collectors.
(There’s also a Feller card in the famed 1948-49 Leaf set, which is a colorful option. However, it’s thought to have been released in 1949, so it’s not a true RC.)
4. 1937 O-Pee-Chee Bob Feller #120 (eBay)
With a strong brand, and a tiny number of graded copies on the market, we think that the 1937 O-Pee-Chee Bob Feller XRC is an underrated option. Given the limitations at the time of its release, we think it has a great design, although it’ll be tough to locate given the scarcity.
The full-bleed card comes from a combination of the 1934 Goudey and 1934-36 Batter-Up and the 1937 O-Pee-Chee “Baseball Stars” sets. As is generally the case with OPC cards, you’ll find player biographies in both English and French on the reverse.
3. 1938 Goudey Bob Feller #264 (eBay)
Let’s add a bit of color into the mix. The 1938 Goudey XRC is another iconic release thanks to the playful nature of the design. Feller was featured on two different cards in the 1938 Goudey set, with the second seen below. The large headshot was colored by an artist, with a cartoon body drawn underneath.
The Goudey cards tend to be some of Feller’s more valuable vintage options.
2. 1938 Goudey Bob Feller #288 (eBay)
Sticking with the 1938 Goudey set, A carbon-copy of the card seen above in most respects, this version is easily discernible thanks to the various doodles surrounding the player image. The final card from the 288-strong checklist, it sells for a premium compared to the earlier edition. Expect to pay at least four figures for anything over a VG-3 grade.
1. 1936 Goudey Wide Pen Bob Feller RC #R314 (eBay)
Bob Feller’s first ever card, and a real piece of baseball history, the 1936 Goudey Wide Pen Premiums (R314) was produced on thin paper stock, and given a glossy finish. It’s not the most valuable set despite the high number of HoF players, but it’s notable nonetheless.
Bob Feller Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide
Soon enough, we’ll be nearing the 100th anniversary of Bob Feller’s first ever rookie card release. Here’s what we think of the current state of the market.
Many of the cards are unfancied for one reason or another, but higher grades do hold significant value. 1948 Bowman is a great place to start, given it’s seen as Feller’s true rookie card.
The 1938 Goudey cards arguably have the best investment potential, given they’re both eye-catching, and have the look and feel of a real vintage option. The Goudey duo also tend to attract lots of bids at auction.
Bob Feller Rookie Cards: Final Thoughts
As a Hall of Famer who sadly passed away in 2010, Feller will always be remembered for his impact on the sport.
In 1940, he tested his arm with a special “Lumiline chronograph machine” which the Army was using to measure the velocity of artillery shells. Feller’s fastball came in at 98.6 mph.
He was possibly the greatest player ever to put on a Cleveland Indians uniform, and he has a heap of collectible vintage cards to chase.