Things I found while looking for other things: Some unusual classifieds in The Sporting News

A few years ago I did a post with some classified ads that caught my eye in back issues of The Sporting News. Well, I’ve been doing a fair amount of Sporting News research lately, and I set aside some of the classifieds I saw along the way for when I had time to share them. Now I have time.

Let’s start with this one, from September 28, 1960:

TSN 9-28-60

What I’d love to know is, who picked up the phone when you called that number? Was that Satchel Paige’s home number, or the number for a business manger of some sort?

Satch wasn’t the only future Hall of Famer who used The Sporting News to look for work. This appeared on June 11, 1952:

TSN 6-11-52

The ad didn’t work; Joe Medwick, then 40 years old, had been let go as manager of the Tampa Smokers of the Class B Florida International League in May and never managed in professional baseball again.

This ad appeared in the issue of March 12, 1952:

TSN 3-12-52

I wonder if “Jimmie Hill, Legless Ball Player” was able to make a career of this? I haven’t been able to find anything else about him. He wanted to be the Max Patkin or San Diego Chicken of his day, and I gather his day didn’t agree.

Now a couple of business-related posts…this from April 15, 1943:

TSN 4-15-43

And this from August 19, 1943:

TSN 8-19-43

Maybe they were hard to come by in 1943 (almost everything was), but it seems to me two pairs of flip-down sun glasses would have cost less than an ad in a national publication like The Sporting News. Maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye…I saw the same ad in another issue, so clearly the Colonels were interested.

Now for some personal ads in TSN…this is from July 25, 1951:

TSN 7-25-51

Who was Bob Chickering and why was he out of touch? And why was The Sporting News the way to find him? And why the attorney? Had he come into an inheritance? Was his wife trying to divorce him? Somebody please figure this out.

This ad is from May 28, 1952:

TSN 5-28-52

North Platte didn’t have a team in Organized Baseball in 1952, so this must have concerned a town team. I hope the Bobs got connected.

This ad from during World War II is poignant…it was in the issue of February 17, 1944:

TSN 2-17-44

There’s a lot of story behind that one.

The last item I have to share is not a classified but a regular ad…unfortunately I failed to write down the date, but it was from the 1930s:


First of all, um…that’s a diagram of an intestine. That’s gross. How is that supposed to make me look at the ad? Second of all. who has one of those Babe Ruth masks? Seems like that would have been a better visual for the ad. How many people sent in for their free Feen-a-mint/King of Swat mask combo? Was it supposed to be laxative gum for dad and the mask for Junior, or just what? All I know is if someone wearing that mask knocked on my door, I’d want to get him out of there pronto before the Feen-a-mint kicked in.

Oh wait, I found one of those masks…and Dad should have sent in for the gum, because this mask sold at auction for $1,160. Note what’s written on the auction page: “We’re not sure what was the overall concept for this promotion. Apparently ‘Feen-A-Mint’ executives envisioned thousands of youngsters in Babe Ruth masks, each of them anxious to take laxatives, and encouraging others to take them as well.”

Babe mask

Speaking of Feen-a-mint…the ad below is not from The Sporting News but from Woman’s World magazine in 1938, I found it here:

Feen-a-mint 1938

This makes me feel confident there’s a Feen-a-mint Advertising Hall of Fame somewhere. Feel free to post any links in the comments.

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