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Gettysburg's Baseball Player

Gettysburg is known for one thing above all others: the Civil War battle that the town leant its name to. But Gettysburg has another claim to fame: it was home to one of the best baseball pitchers of all time. His name? Eddie Plank. Despite his baseball prowess, today he is not well-known, except among a specific group of baseball fans: baseball card collectors.


Born in 1875 on a farm just outside of Gettysburg, Eddie Plank did not grow up playing baseball. Instead, he began pitching at the age of 17. Within a few years, he was pitching in the major leagues, where he would become the first left-handed pitcher to reach 200, and then 300, victories. Even today, over 100 years after he stopped playing baseball, his 326 victories are third most among all left-handed pitchers (after Warren Spahn (363 wins) and Steve Carlton (329 wins)). Babe Ruth thought he was the hardest pitcher to hit, and Ty Cobb selected him to his all-time team. In 1946, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Despite his baseball prowess, Eddie Plank’s name is not one that most casual baseball fans know. However, there is one section of baseball fans who know his name well: baseball card collectors.


Today, the T206 baseball cards are one of the most famous—if not the most famous—sets of baseball cards in the world. Issued from 1909 to 1911, the baseball cards were included in cigarette and loose tobacco packs from the American Tobacco Company. This is the set of baseball cards that includes the famous T206 Honus Wagner card—often considered the most valuable baseball card in existence. Even damaged T206 Honus Wagner cards can be worth over $100,000. In 2022, one sold for $7.25 million.


But here’s what most people don’t know—the second most valuable card in the T206 collection is the Eddie Plank card. Today, only 75 to 100 of these T206 Eddie Plank cards are known to be in existence. When they are sold, they can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Although many in the world have forgotten Eddie Plank—including many baseball fans—his legacy lives on through his baseball card.


Want to learn more about Gettysburg? Pick up a copy of 101 Travel Bits: Gettysburg today!


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