Charlie Gelbert was a key member of the Cardinals future plans in 1929 and was their everyday shortstop for four seasons, but before he became a star in the big leagues, he was a project for the Rochester Red Wings. Branch Rickey instructed his minor league executive Warren Giles to play him the first 30 games no matter if he struck out every time and booted every ball. He responded by hitting .340 and belting 21 homers while fielding a stellar shortstop! We could be talking here about Gelbert as a Hall of Famer, but after the 1932 season he blew his own foot nearly clean off in a hunting accident and he had to have extensive surgeries and missed two full seasons. Even when he came back, he was never the same, and never played another full season. A weird story surrounding a promising young star with a tragic ending. This is his earliest photograph we have ever seen and despite a corner chip on the lower right, this is a beauty.
Designation: Vintage 1
Overall Grade: 6.5/10