The Alexandria Aces were a minor league baseball team based in Alexandria, Louisiana that played from 1936-1950. They were a Class D team that was part of the Evangeline League for their entire existence. While the team only lasted 15 seasons, they achieved some notoriety through the baseball cards that were produced featuring Aces players.
The earliest known Aces cards date back to around 1939 and were produced by the Fleer Chewing Gum Company. Fleer had begun producing regional sets focused on minor league teams starting in the late 1930s. Their 1939 Alexandria Aces set included around 15 cards showing individual Aces players from that season. The cards featured black and white photo portraits of the players in their uniforms. Basic stats like batting average and position were listed on the back. These early Fleer Aces cards are quite rare today considering they had a very small production run targeted mainly at local Alexandria fans.
In 1942, another Aces card set was released, this time by the Bell Brand Chewing Gum company. Bell Brand had taken over Fleer’s regional minor league sets and their 1942 Aces issue had a similar format to the earlier Fleer issues with individual player photos and stats on the back of around 15 cards. Finding high grade, well-centered examples of either the 1939 Fleer or 1942 Bell Brand Aces sets in collectors’ hands today would be quite the find for a Alexandria or Evangeline League enthusiast.
The most famous and widely produced Aces card set came out in 1948 courtesy of Bowman Gum. By this time, Bowman had become the dominant force in American post-war baseball cards and they decided to do regional minor league sets similar to what Fleer and Bell Brand had done previously. The 1948 Bowman Alexandria Aces issue was on a much larger scale of production and distribution. The set included a whopping 60 individual cards! This massive increase in size was likely due to Bowman’s ability to invest more heavily in regional minor league properties compared to smaller companies like Fleer or Bell Brand.
The 1948 Bowman Aces cards featured colorful illustrated portraits of each player with cartoony depictions of various baseball actions in the background. Basic stats were again listed on the reverse. At 60 cards, it was without a doubt the most comprehensive Aces team set ever produced. It included not just the roster from that 1948 Aces season, but also retrospective cards honoring standout Aces players from past seasons. Finding a fully complete 1948 Bowman Aces set in high grade today would be an amazing accomplishment, though occasionally individual high graded cards from the set surface on eBay or auction sites. Its large size and distribution through Bowman ensured it reached far more collectors hands in its day compared to the earlier smaller Aces issues.
In 1950, the final season for the Alexandria Aces franchise, a smaller follow up Aces team set was released. Produced by the M.F. Cummings Candy Company, it featured around 15 cards that were very similar in design and format to the earlier 1939 Fleer and 1942 Bell Brand Aces issues. By 1950, the heyday of American post-war baseball cards was beginning to wind down as the industry consolidated. The 1950 M.F. Cummings Aces set stands as the last known cards produced focusing on this Evangeline League team before they folded after that season.
So in summary – while only a Class D minor league team for a small Louisiana city, the Alexandria Aces achieved a notable place in baseball card history through having multiple team sets released between 1939-1950 by companies like Fleer, Bell Brand, Bowman and M.F. Cummings. Collectors today still seek out high graded examples from these regional Aces issues, especially the monster 1948 Bowman set. Though the team was short-lived, their baseball cards ensured the Alexandria Aces maintained a presence in the collecting world long after they left the field for the last time.