Topps Releases Signature Baseball Card Set For Late Designer Sy Berger
Topps Company honored recently passed Sy Berger, visionary designer of the modern day baseball trading card with two special sets available before the start of Major League Baseball 2015 spring training. Berger is known as the father of the every evolving trading cards Industry. His over 50-year tenure at Topps is an enormous achievement but what you may not know is Berger and a co-designer changed the look and feel of baseball cards, most significantly by changing the size, then by adding color, stats and even player signatures making him as instant Sports Techie community Hall of Fame member. I had never heard of Sy before he died at 91 last December, however, many of our global readers and followers certainly have. After researching who he was, it was easy to instantly feel the utmost respect and admiration for this innovate marketing and sports tech pioneer.
Sy Berger – Sports Techie Pioneer
Berger grew up down the street from Yankee Stadium in Brooklyn collecting baseball cards, cementing his love for MLB. His decision to colorize Topps cards, add team logos and use the back to show kids lifetime statistics and past year metrics initially compiled by Berger in his kitchen, was pure genius.
Ten years after World War II ended, television was delivering black and white video to American youth for the first time. This meant kids could idolize their favorite baseball players and teams they watched play on TV. Berger capitalized on the cultural change by presenting Topps in a new format and kids simply loved the upgrade.
No better person to interview for this story than my Dad, he was born in 1943. He did not recall the switch to color cards or the size increase in 1952 nor did he keep his cards in pristine condition but he told me his friends traded baseball cards back and forth on a daily basis. My father would purchase packs for a nickel until he collected the complete set. I asked him what the value of .05 cents was back then and he compared it to mowing the grass, he would get paid a quarter for that service that equaled to buying five packs of cards.
My pops collected five cards of one of his favorite players, Mickey Mantle. The value of Mantle’s 1952 Topps card thanks to my dad and his peers has appreciated through the roof. By the time this generation reached their thirties in the 1980’s, a 52 Mantle sold for around $3,000. Search this card online and you will find them available in various conditions with asking prices of several hundred dollars to $45,000 and beyond. A rare $300,000 price tag is not out of the question.
So the story goes like it did for millions of children that collected cards in the 50’s, they were often stored in a shoebox under the bed. This same practice goes on today. Upon my dad’s return from Ecuador where he served in the Peace Corp, my parents found out that my Grandma had thrown the boxes away. This is the same story countless numbers of kids across the U.S. and world can relate to and empathizes with because it happened to them too.
Berger’s rise to vice president of sports and licensing at the Topps Chewing Gum Company gave him a unique opportunity to get to know and sign every player, whether an up and coming star who signed for $5 with Topps for the use of their images, to all-stars who commanded yearly deals of $125. It’s written that during the 1960 season, 421 of 444 major league players were under contact with Topps thanks to personal relationships with Berger.
Topps 1951 Players Postcard Sets
At Topps.com you can select from two Red and Blue back cards for sale. Both sets are post cards size and numbered from 1-99 in tribute to his very first design for Topps back in 1951.
“As we continue to find ways to be more engaged with consumers in the digital space, it is great to honor Sy’s legacy with a set that connects our glorious past to our really promising future as a continued partner with MLB,” said Topps Jeff Heckman. “We think this is both a nice tribute and a great way to kick off the coming 2015 season for fans and collectors of all ages.”
Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, David Jeter, and Cal Ripken, join Madison Bumgarner, Clayton Kershaw, David Ortiz, and Mike Trout, as retired and current players available in different sets that also come with 10×14 posters of each player per set.
The orders can be placed on Topps.com starting today and can be viewed at this link.
ABOUT THE TOPPS COMPANY, INC.
Founded in 1938, The Topps Company, Inc. is the preeminent creator and brand marketer of sports cards, entertainment products, and distinctive confectionery. Topps’ leading sports and entertainment products include Major League Baseball, National Football League, English Premier League, Bundesliga, Indian Premier League, WWE, UFC, Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids and other trading cards, sticker album collections, and collectible games. Topps’ newest division is Topps Digital, which is focused on bringing the iconic Topps brand to new users through digital media. Visit www.topps.com for more information.
Sports Techie, Topps has been a pioneer and trend setter for decades ever since they hired Sy Berger, and well before. Our past blogs about Topps show how sports tech has morphed their trading cards into a popular sport card collecting product Sy would undoubtedly be most proud of.
If you want a Ted Williams, Giancarlo Stanton or Andrew McCutchen baseball card, start or continue your collection and investment with the Topps 1951 Sy Berger Tribute Collection sets that each come with a prized card featuring Mr. Berger in each set.
In honor of Berger and deceased this week, Ernie Banks, Mr. Cubs, “Let’s Play Two.”
Rest in peace.
See y’all later in Seattle and here in Atlanta.
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