Joe Cronin Baseball Cards

Joe Cronin (1906-1984) was a shortstop in MLB from 1926 to 1945. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1926 to 1927, the Washington Senators from 1928 to 1934, and the Boston Red Sox from 1935 to 1945.

With a career batting average of .301, Cronin had 2,285 hits, 170 home runs, and 1,424 runs batted in. This led to seven All Star Games, but the inaugural All Star Game came in 1933, which was his eighth year in the league.

Cronin was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956 on 78.76% of the vote on the tenth ballot.

Born in San Francisco, California, Cronin was a bad student but a great athlete. His grades markedly improved when the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League began to give free tickets to good students.

Cronin was playing in the minor leagues, when noted baseball player/manager/owner/etc Joe Engel spotted him and purchased his contract for $7,500. Owner Clark Griffith was incensed, and Cronin was brought into the majors with something to prove.

Cronin stood out by 1930. That year, he batted .346 with 13 home runs and 126 RBIs. He won the AL Writers’ MVP and the AL Sporting News MVP, which were the forerunners of the BBWAA MVPs.

By 1931 he had established himself as a great player of the era. He had a .306 batting average, 12 home runs, and 126 RBIs.

Cronin was named player-manager in 1933, and he led the Senators to the World Series. They would lose in five games to the NY Giants.

Due to his success with the Senators, Cronin was offered a five year contract as a player-manager with the Boston Red Sox. Since the Senators had regular financial problems because their owner’s sole source of income was the team, Cronin made a good career decision and headed to Boston.

Though Cronin was declining by the end of the 1930s, he remained a valuable manager. The Red Sox actually had him scout his own replacement in Pee Wee Reese in 1938. Cronin was able to manufacture a trade to get rid of Reese (who would one day be inducted into the Hall of Fame).

Despite his maneuvering to save his playing days, Cronin’s body was not cooperating. 1941 was his last year as a full time player, and he never managed to play in more than 76 games for the rest of his career even though World War II broke out and MLB was consistently short staffed.

The player-manager role was quite common in the early decades of MLB. Cronin is one of the more successful examples. While he consistently batted .300 with over 100 RBIs, he led his teams to two seperate pennants and World Series losses (1933 and 1946).

He retired as a player in 1945, and he soon retired as manager in 1947 after which he was named general manager of the Red Sox. Cronin was able to build competitive Red Sox teams from 1946 to 1950, and he led an effective rebuild.

During his eleven years as General Manager, the Red Sox had winning records in 9 seasons.

Notably, Cronin refused to sign any black players, including a young Willie Mays, and the Red Sox were the last team to integrate.

Yet, Cronin became the president of the American League. He served until 1973. It is also worth noting that he is known for integrating MLB’s umpiring with the promotion of Emmett Ashford in 1966.

There are a few cards that are worth mentioning, and this article will go over some of the best.

1933 Goudey Joe Cronin

The 1933 Goudey is a great set which is known as one of the finest sets of the prewar era. There were more entries, thicker card stock, larger cards, and colorful illustrations.

There are 240 cards in the set, and Cronin’s cards sit at #63, #109, and #189. Each card measures 2 ⅜” x 2 ⅞”.

For reference, PSA has 91,000 cards from the set registered. The #63 has over 600 copies registered. The #109 has over 400 copies registered. The #189 had about 450 cards registered.

A PSA 8 of the #63 has sold for around $1,000 to $2,000 for the last several years. It features Cronin with a blue background and a bat across his shoulder.

A PSA 8 of the #109 seems to have regularly sold for more. In April of 2019, one sold for $4,320, and in September of 2020, one sold for $3,120. It features Cronin reaching for a ground ball with a yellow background.

A PSA 8 of the #189 has sold for between $1,000 and $3,000 for the last few years. It features Cronin bending down for a ground ball against a baseball field background.

1932 U.S. Caramel

There are 32 cards in this set, each measures 2 ½” x 3”, and Joe Cronin’s card sits at #7. A few of the cards feature boxers and golfers, but the set also has baseball stars like Paul Waner, Bill Terry, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmie Foxx, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and more.

There are 2,000 copies registered with PSA from this set, and Cronin’s cards number over 80.

A PSA 8 sold for $2,640 in April of 2019. A PSA 7 below $1,000 is very possible.

1933 George C. Miller Joe Cronin

This set has 32 cards, and each card is 2 ⅜” x 2 ⅞”. 16 players are from the National League, and 16 players are from the American League.

There are 796 cards registered with PSA, and 20 copies are Cronin cards.

This is an uncommon card, so even a PSA 1 will garner hundreds of dollars. A PSA 5 sold for $1,989.68 in 2015.

1933 World Wide Gum Joe Cronin

This set is known as the Canadian Goudey. There are 94 cards, and each measure 2 ⅜” x 2 ⅞”.

Cronin sits at #63, and several Hall of Famers are included, like Benny Begough, Bill Terry, Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig. There are a number of Hall of Famers on this set, but it is far less sought after.

There are 2,000 cards registered with PSA, and Cronin cards number less than 20.

This card is not up for sale often. A PSA 4.5 sold for $158.50 in November of 2020.


Joe Cronin is a major force in the history of the American league. He is a Hall of Fame player, excellent manager, effective GM, and well known AL President. Cronin was more than a ball player; he was a baseball institution for decades.