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Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Salute to Sy Berger, From a Card-Carrying Fan - NYTimes.com

When you grow up with a singular focus, whatever it is, you may find yourself relating to Will Ferrell’s character in “Elf.” Explaining his eating habits to his new family, the man-child from the North Pole says he sticks to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.

For me, the diet was baseball, baseball games, baseball cards and pitching. That was my sustenance, and I suppose I should thank Sy Berger for his role as a vendor. I emptied my pockets of quarters and singles, and he filled my soul with baseball, one 3 ½-by-2 ½-inch slice of cardboard at a time.

Berger, the longtime Topps executive considered the father of the modern baseball card, died on Sunday at 91. I never knew him, but oh, did I know his work. No marketing vice president could ever have devised a better way to sell baseball to the masses, and bring the players closer to the fans.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 21, 2014 at 09:14 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards

Sunday, December 14, 2014

NY Times: Sy Berger, Who Turned Boyhood Heroes Into Brilliant Rectangles, Dies at 91

Mr. Berger introduced Topps cards in 1951. They came with taffy, rather than chewing gum, because a competitor seemed to have exclusive rights to market baseball cards with gum. But the taffy wound up picking up the flavor of the varnish on the cards.

“You wouldn’t dare put that taffy near your mouth,” Mr. Berger said, adding, “that ’51 series was really a disaster.”

A year later, after switching to gum, he conceived the prototype for the modern baseball card, supplanting the unimaginative, smallish and often black-and-white offerings of the existing card companies.

“We came out in 1952 with a card in color, beautiful color, and a card that was large,” Mr. Berger told the Society for American Baseball Research in 2004. “For the first time, we had a team logo. We had the 1951 line statistics and their lifetime statistics. No one else did it.”

The cards also had facsimiles of the players’ autographs below their images, another innovation.

bobm Posted: December 14, 2014 at 11:03 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards, obituaries

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Keith Olbermann: The Mystery of the 1953 Topps Set

An explanation for missing cards 253, 261, 267, 268, 271, and 275.

H/T to Pat Neshek.

greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 29, 2014 at 12:50 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards, topps

 

 

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