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If You Ever Collected Baseball Cards as a Kid . . .

Here's a great tribute by NY Times sports writer, Tyler Kepner, to the late Topps executive Sy Berger, who died this week at age 91.  You may not know his name, but you've seen his work.  Mr. Berger was the father of the modern baseball card.

A Salute to Sy Berger

I was one of those kids who would never put something as precious as a baseball card in the spokes of my bike.  Thinking it would help my sons get into card-collecting, I did sell and trade some of my partial sets from the late 60's for complete 1980-1990 sets.  I now have no Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, or Willie Mays cards in my collection, only couple of complete sets featuring Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, and Sammy Sosa.

I think I should have kept the old ones and admired Mr. Berger's art.  If I owned a bike, I think I'd put a few of my newer cards in the spokes.

Reader Comments (4)

Late '60s is right up my alley as I followed the Tigers. My collecting took a hit after a 1970 move from the Detroit 'burbs to the north woods, but despite my complaints about the relocation it turned out Dad knew what he was doing, as we realized how cool it was to have Lake Michigan right over the hill from us (we were renters; it's now National Park property)! I still have some of those cards; they taught me nerdy stats like Norm Cash's .361 and Maris' 61 homers in 1961. I gave all of my bubble gum to a future dentist. Collecting was a fun and memorable part of my childhood.

I remember that Indians' pitcher Riddleberger. Appropriate card to post on your blog! Thanks for this post and link to the article.
December 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan
May favorite is the one that has the pic of Dick Allen smoking in the dugout during a rain delay. It was originally taken in B&W, but the fan in this blog site colorized it. Looks even better now. I never will understand what possessed a baseball card company to use this photo of Allen - unless the animosity against him in Philly back then was so widespread that they figured to capitalize on it.

PS: For those unaware, it's this photo that DGH uses as his gravatar over at ""
December 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
It doesn't sound from reading that blog post that the smoking Allen was an actual baseball card; I recall the one with him holding the bat, also shown in the post. If you're a Philly fan you may have heard this album with track #5 written about "Richie" Allen (he was Dick Allen when I saw him on TV with the White Sox).
December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan
Dan - you may be right. I recall first seeing that smoking Allen photo in a Time magazine while taking a smoke break myself in the '69/'70 timeframe. The Time article was all about "baseball's bad boy" and apparently a Time/Life photographer caught him in that dugout pose. But then I thought I recalled reading someplace more recently that it was also used for a baseball card, too. But that may be incorrect.
December 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

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