It’s fun to see a future Hall of Famer’s APBA card before they made it big. Sometimes they start off slow with a poor card and then find their groove. In other cases like this 1953 Ernie Banks card, you get a quick snapshot of what is to come.
Banks only played ten games for the Cubs in 1953. Looking at his game log at Baseball Reference, I can see that Banks was a late callup on September 17. Banks started 10 games, made the most them and the rest is history. The next year, he played every game of the season.
Banks didn’t miss an inning during those ten starts. In 39 plate appearances, he batted .314 with two homers, a double and a triple.
Banks’ 1953 card while certainly limited, is quite exciting. To be realistic, Cubs fans may feel obligated to play adequate but rather unexciting Roy Smalley and that will be hard to do. Any Cub player with double 1s AND a single column 2 is worth rooting.
To add to that, Banks has a nifty 55-7 which is enough to forgive his SS-6 rating.
Card trivia: this is the first reprint of the 1953 set published in 1985. If I remember correctly, the first reprint sets caused quite a stir among APBA fans who collected the sets because many thought the reprints would drive down the value of the original sets.
Formatting issue? Because of the font and overall layout of the card, this type of formatting of the above card remains one of my favorites, dated as it is. That said, it occasionally was plagued with the vertically offset printing issue in which the play result number would not be aligned with the dice roll number.
In Banks’ card, it is especially pronounced from dice roll numbers 56 to 66.