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The Slick-est Cameo in All-Star History?

Fans of baseball history know one of the All-Star Game’s greatest feats occurred in only the second year of the Midsummer Classic when Carl Hubbell struck out future Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin in succession.

Several cards, including this 1961 Nu-Cards “Baseball Scoops” card, commemorated the achievement, but one card in particular opens the door into a bit of a mystery.

Four decades after King Carl’s screwball befuddled AL batters, artist Bob Laughlin produced a 40-card set of All-Star Game highlights. His 1934 homage naturally focused on Hubbell.

However, the card had a second version many collectors and Hubbell fans might have presumed was an error when in fact it reflected a correction.

Per Laughlin, “King Carl Hubbel! wore No. 11 for many years during his great career, but I made a mistake when I put that number on his uniform on the 1934 All-Star Game card. Later I saw a film of his famous strikeout feat and there it was, a big No.14 on his back. It's now been corrected on the All-Star cards.” (Source: Bob Laughlin’s “Inside Pitch” newsletter, September 1975)

Having watched the film myself I can say without a doubt that Bob was correct.

In fact, Hubbell’s jersey number was one of several that was shuffled for the game, as this 1934 ASG scorecard image shows. From the National League squad, only Van Mungo and Dizzy Dean retained their standard uniform numbers, while from the American Leaguers only the Yankee trio of Ruth, Gehrig, and Dickey kept their famous digits

Photos from the game confirm the number reassignments but reveal something more. In case you imagined brand new jerseys for the game’s great superstars, look closer and you’ll notice pin-on flaps, even on Dickey who had no need! (Though not pictured here, Ruth and Gehrig were “flappers” as well!)

Naturally, the pin-on approach would have worked just fine for the Meal Ticket, but was there an even simpler solution available? With the game being played at Hubbell’s home park there was already a number 14 Giants jersey prêt-à-porter. Even better, it belonged to a rookie pitcher with the same size and build of Hubbell: Clydell “Slick” Castleman.

True the reigning National League MVP may well have gone the pin-on route, but it’s more fun to think that the largely forgotten Castleman, who the Giants jettisoned to Montreal just after the bout, may well have had a hand—or at least a shirt—in one of baseball’s most memorable moments!

Fun, sure, but is it true? You be the judge! Examine the video footage (including the bonus Zapruder film!), and let me know your verdict. Do you see a pin-on flap, or is King Carl’s 14 au naturel? Be sure to tag @hobbynewsdaily so I see your response.


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