A Helmar Correction, Jimmy McAleer

Back in 2005 I published the Famous Athletes Series. These cards were inserted into bags of potato chips. For some reason I originally identified the Jimmy McAleer card as “Hugh McAleer”, probably because I knew someone with a similar name. Personally, I didn’t think that it was all that big of a deal. After all, how many people really remember Jimmy McAlleer? I was wrong. I received quite a few letters and emails informing me that I was incorrect. What I really remember is that there were two or three emails that stated quite plainly that I was a complete idiot. Worse, I was not only an idiot but quite likely evil. So much for a gentlemanly hobby. I bid my time for three years before “correcting” the problem in Series 3. This time there were no complaints.

The best thing about correcting the error was that it made me seriously start to consider making cards that looked like they had been through the wringer…all beat up and yet, somehow, more genuine, more loved.


6 thoughts

  1. Charles, is there a checklist available for the Famous Athletes set? I’ve managed to obtain all of series one (I think) and would like a complete set, if possible. I love everything Helmar cards offer: obscure local stars to HOFers. Your cards have evolved over these ten years into highly collectible art. The beginnings are important to me as well. I only wish I’d had the opportunity to enjoy the chips and beer. Had I not moved to Michigan from Texas this past Summer, I likely would have missed out on Helmar completely! I found the first issue of your magazine at the Barnes & Nobel on Hall Rd. Thank you!


    1. Hello Julie! I’ll have to put together a checklist of the Famous Athletes series. It is something that I’ve been meaning to do, anyway. You collect catchers, is that correct? Love that old gear.


  2. I purchased one of those Hugh McAleer cards because that was my dad’s name. He pitched for his high school team in the late 30’s and as the story goes, being a very good lefty he was drafted and prepared to go to Florida for spring training, his father said it was no way to make a living so he did not report. He never talked about it. He passed many years ago along with the name of the team that drafted him, no one in our family knows. Maybe it’s not a real card, but we enjoy it. Thanks for the mistake.


  3. Hi Charles,

    I must confess to being unfamiliar with Jimmy McAleer before encountering these cards on eBay. I did get a huge kick out of what you did with the “correction” and ended up getting both cards for their “uniqueness”. Nice to see a bit of playfulness in a hobby that some times gets too focused on “investment value” rather than just plain fun. By the way, Charles, I was wondering if you were planning to attend the Toronto Sports Card and Memorabilia Show which runs from May 4-6 this Spring? It would be great to see a “Helmar” booth at the show.

    All the best,



    1. HI Bruce! Old Jimmy was one of those fellows in the baseball business for decades. As for Toronto, I guess I didn’t know that there was a show. I haven’t been to one in a few years so perhaps I should consider it. I love Toronto, by the way, and haven’t managed to make it there in a few years.


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