Baseball & Bubble Gum: The 1952 Topps Collection
Thomas and Ellen Zappala, with John Molori and Joe Orlando, plus photography by Christina Good
The publishing info:
Peter E. Randall Publisher
Released Jan. 1, 2020
The review in 90 feet or less
It’s time you know how life works.
Your mom was part of a grand conspiracy, to deftly dispose of all your baseball cards. Except they didn’t really throw them away.
They put them in a different hiding place, with their all-knowing ability that sometime in the 21st Century, those cards’ value would fund their golden years and give you reason not worry about their financial security.
At least, that was the plan.
Some forgot where they hid them. Others sold them too early and were embarrassed on the return.
Yet, if they were truly nimble, they figured out how to bottle up and preserve the 1952 Topps set.
You got the gum. They squirreled away that extra cardboard.
How did this set even come about? As writer Scott Pitoniak explains in a new story posted on the Baseball Hall of Fame website:
“Marketing whiz Sy Berger, with a huge assist from graphic artist Woody Gelman, began designing a set of cards they hoped would encourage kids to chew more Topps bubble gum. Up to that point, baseball cards had not been overly popular among kids. But the gorgeously designed 1952 Topps set changed all that. Boasting colorful, up-close photographs of the players, facsimile autographs, team logos, hard-to-come-by statistics and mini-biographies, this 407-player set impacted the hobby like a fastball off the barrel of Willie Mays’ bat.”
At least Mays was included in that set, in his second major-league season. Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Whitey Ford are not. Williams and Musial had a contractual obligation to the other card company, Bowman. Ford was off in the Korean War and didn’t play that season. But 26 other future Hall of Fame were in that set, highlighted by Mickey Mantle. And Jackie Robinson. Bob Feller. Duke Snider (in action, when that often isn’t what is used for players in this set). Also are the rookie cards for Eddie Matthews and Hoyt Wilhelm.
In this glorious, simplistic portrait that looks postage-stamp ready for perpetual adulation.