Early Texas Baseball Cards

Several sets of some of the earliest baseball cards ever issued depict players from the Texas League or were issued and distributed by sponsors in the Lone Star state. Among these were two sets issued in 1910: the “Old Mill” and the “Mello-Mint” sets. Each of these sets is described in more detail below.

1910 “Old Mill” or “Red Border” Set
Designated as Set T210 in the American Card Catalog
Card Size: 1-1/2 x 2-5/8 inches

The T210 “Old Mill” baseball card set contains 640 cards. Although issued in 1910, it remains even today as the largest set of baseball cards produced in the twentieth century. Easily identified by their distinctive borders, the cards are often referred to by collectors as “Red Borders.”

The set was divided into eight series, with each series representing a different minor league organization. The series is noted at the top on the back of each card. Series 3 is comprised of 95 players from the Texas League. Of these, 25 players later advanced to the majors.

In 1910, Texas League teams were fielded by the Texas towns of Dallas, Ft. Worth, Galveston, Houston, San Antonio, and Waco, as well as from Shreveport, LA and Oklahoma City, OK. Players from each of these teams are represented in the set. The sample card shown is of Les Tullos, who played for Waco.

1910 “Mello-Mint, The Texas Gum” Set
Designated as Set E105 in the American Card Catalog
Card Size: 2-3/4 x 1-1/2 inches

Birdwell, s. s., N. Y. Nat’l (obverse and reverse)

The E105 “Mello-Mint” card set depicts both National and American League players of 1910. Thus, unlike the T210 “Red Borders” described above, no Texas teams are represented. However, the set was produced by Texas Gum Company of Temple, Texas, and distributed mostly in the Lone Star state.

The set is comprised of a series of 50 players. As indicated on the back of each card, one card was issued with each 5-cent package of Smith’s Mello-Mint gum. A horizontal crease and the paper-thin stock used for each card indicate that the cards were folded before insertion into the gum pack.

The sample card shown is of Al Birdwell, who played shortstop for the New York National League team.

About Lyman

Lyman Hardeman has held a deep interest in Texas history. He spent his youth in College Station, Texas and received a degree in Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M in 1966. In 1995, Lyman created Lone Star Junction, a popular Texas history website that later merged with TexasProud.com. Lyman is a life member of the Texas State Historical Association and the author of Texas A&M The First 25 Years.