- Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
- City: Indianapolis
- Team: Hoosiers (NL)
- League: National League
- Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame
An error or a practical joke? The Old Judge series is littered with errors, primarily in the form of misspelled names. There are also a number of cards that are intentionally humorous. The McGreachery card is likely a display of the sense of humor within Goodwin’s art department rather than a mistake.
During this card’s production run from 1887 to 1890, James Laurie White was the oldest player in the major leagues all four years, spanning his age 39 to age 42 campaigns. By that point, White was a baseball veteran of 20 seasons whose tenure predated the National league by five years and ended with the birth of the Player’s League in 1890. By all accounts, White was a serious, religious and principled man who earned the nickname Deacon. White didn’t drink, smoke or gamble and was as knowledgeable and articulate about farming as he was about baseball. Henry Chadwick wrote that White’s character was beyond reproach. Combine White’s character, values, baseball moxie, and his old world perspective – which purportedly included a belief that the Earth is flat – and you can see why the folks at Old Judge might poke fun.
- Excluding the Ars Longa 1880s Diamond Duos & Spotted Ties subsets, Deacon White will be the only player represented in the 1880s base set twice, although his name will still only appear on one card. I just couldn’t resist paying a little tribute to the humor in the Old Judge series by creating a card for the dear old crank McGreachery.
- Why the Old Judge folks assigned the fictitious McGreachery as a manager may be obvious. Why they assigned him to Indianapolis is a mystery and perhaps an inside joke that has long since lost its insiders.
- Watch Burnham is a man who appears in the Old Judge series who actually did manage the Indianapolis Hoosiers – for all of 28 games (losing 22 of them). Perhaps the absence of an enduring Indianapolis manager in the Old Judge series prompted McGreachery’s assignment there.
- Only two examples of the original Old Judge card are known to exist