The sports card hobby is full of interesting quirks and tidbits. Perhaps some of these factoids will make for longer, dedicated blog posts in the future, but in the meantime, here are ten random (and short) post-war baseball card facts.
Topps released cards in dedicated series through 1973, usually releasing a new series every couple of weeks into the baseball season. Then in 1974, they started to release cards in a single series – partially because there were fewer buyers due to a weakened economy. You can see on the 1974 Topps box; it’s written: “all 660 cards now available in one series.”
The 1968 and 1969 Topps Hank Aaron baseball cards feature the same image. This duplication has to do with the 1967/68 player’s association boycott of Topps.
Topps designed its iconic 1952 design in Brooklyn, NY, on a kitchen table. Then after a second print run, Sy Berger ditched over two million cards into the Atlantic Ocean off New York Bay by filling a few garbage trucks and loading the cards on a barge.
Topps (and most everyone else) anticipated the San Diego Padres moving to Washington and pre-printed players, in the 1974 Topps set, with their team as Washington, but the team never moved. That’s why there are 15 players on the non-existent Washington baseball team in the set.
PSA has graded almost 80k 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Cards. But it’s so iconic and in-demand that PSA 8s still sell for around $120.
Topps had the rights to distribute packs of cards with gum in the early post-war era, so Leaf sold packs with marbles.
Ted Williams was one of the most popular players in the game and had the name recognition to carry an entire set. But Fleer didn’t have the rights to Bucky Harris, the GM of the Red Sox, who Ted was pictured with on one of the cards. Therefore card #68, “Ted Signs,” was pulled and is a tough find.
You could say Bill Davis has five rookie cards as he appears on multi-player rookie cards in each year from 1965-69 as both an Indian and Padre.
Tony LaRussa was on Topps cards in 1964, 1968, and 1972, but none of the sets in between.
Bowman Gum Company was originally Gum, Inc. and released the Play Ball sets from 1939-41. As Cardboard connection wrote, “Had World War II not intervened, 1939 may have been seen as a starting point for the modern hobby era. That year saw the first baseball cards from a company that would later become known as Bowman. Gum, Inc. was founded by Warren Bowman around 1930 in Philadelphia.” You can see the 1939 Play Ball Wrapper was printed in Philly, and the 1948 Bowman box and packs feature the words “Play Ball.”
There you have it, ten random post-war baseball card facts. Let me know what you think down in the comments.