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A Brief History of Baseball Cards

By Patrick Mondout

What started out as an attempt to provide background to the 1980 Fleer/Topps lawsuit quickly grew into this article, which will not impress knowledgeable hobby veterans, but might help others catch up.

See also: You can also read our Brief History of Donruss, Brief History of Fleer and Brief History of Topps pages, which contain some information not found here.

1868

Peck and Synder, a sort of Louisville Slugger/Rawlings of their day, produced "trade cards" featuring team photos of local squads with an advertisement for their sporting goods on the back. (A charming April 10, 1870 New York Times article mentions the founders offering up a pair of bats and a pair of balls as an inducement to get the players to practice early for a game the day before. Don't think that would work today!) While not true baseball cards, they are perhaps the most recognizable to baseball card collectors of the forerunners. Other trading cards, occasionally featuring baseball subjects, were produced over the coming decades.

1886

1888 Old Judge

The Goodwin Company of New York creates what are now considered to be the first "real" baseball cards in 1886. The 2300 or so 1½ x 2½ cards were packaged with Old Judge and Gypsy Queen cigarettes.1 They would continue distributing "tobacco cards" (and hooking children on a product that would eventually claim 300,000 lives a year in the U.S. alone) until 1890.2 Tobacco cards from Allen & Ginter, Buchner & Company, Mayo & Company, and Kimball (and others) appeared, but soon the American Tobacco Company trust bought nearly all their competitors and no longer needed "premiums" such as baseball cards to attract customers to their deadly products.

1888

G&B Chewing Gum of New York packages cards with their gum products. These extremely rare cards are the first "gum" cards and the only ones of the 19th Century.

1890

Morris Shorin founds American Leaf Tobacco, not to be confused with the huge tobacco trust called American Tobacco Company. Shorin's sons will start Topps 48 years later out of the ashes of this American Leaf (pun intended).

1908

The American Caramel Company produces the first cards to be distributed with caramel - a bundling that would prove popular over the next two decades with a number of candy companies. The cards are also the first to be distributed with something other than a deadly drug since the 19th Century. The cards are known in the price guides by the Burdick catalogue designation "E125."

1909

With the former American Tobacco Company broken into many very successful pieces, the Golden Age of Tobacco Cards begins with the set now known as the T206 set, distributed by many former ATC companies.

1911

Collins-McCarthy produces the first of 28 yearly sets of Pacific Coast League baseball cards, which were distributed with their Zeenut (and other) candies. As of this writing, only Topps has produced baseball card sets for more consecutive years than Collins did (it broke the record in 1979).

1914

1914 Cracker Jack

Cracker Jack distributes some 15 million cards in its 144 card set through boxes of its caramel popcorn and a mail-in offer. It will produce a 176 card set the following year.

It is difficult to say whether it was the onset of World War I or marketing by Camel, which claimed that its products were higher quality because they did not ship with "premiums" such as baseball cards, that brought about the virtual end of tobacco cards, but the were almost completely gone by 1920.

1933

DeLong, Sport Kings and Goudy produce card sets distributed with bubblegum. Sport Kings also produces a 48 card gum set, but only three are baseball players. The popular Goudy cards will be produced sporadically through 1941. While they are not technically the first cards to ship with gum, they are considered by most experts to be the true forerunners of the Bowman and Topps cards of the 1950s.

1933 Goudy

1934

National Chicle produces a very popular "Batter-Up" 192 card series that will be distributed over a three year period. They also produce a 108 card "Diamond Stars" series over the same period.

1938

Topps Chewing Gum is founded by brothers Abraham, Joseph E., Philip Ira, and A.J. Shorin in Brooklyn, New York. Ironically, considering the type of company that first made baseball cards, the Shorins were sons of Morris Shorin, who founded America Leaf Tobacco in 1890. That company fell on hard times during the Great Depression and the sons decided gum was a better bet.

Gum Incorporated, whose president was Warren Bowman, produces a set of non-sports cards to promote their Blony brand of bubblegum. The set is called "Horrors of War" and features three cards of Adolph Hitler. The cards were the brainchild of Gum's ad agency George Moll Advertising. Moll had collected British cigarette cards as a child.

1939

Gum Inc. produces its first set of Play Ball baseball cards. It will continue producing them until a few months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

A book called The United States Card Collector’s Catalog (later called the "American Card Catalog:: A Gateway to the Enchantment of Days Gone By - The Standard Guide on All Collected Cards and Their Values") is published. Author Jefferson R. Burdick's book is the first ever to attempt to catalog the various baseball card issues (actually, it covered all card types). His designations, such as T206 or W515, are still used today. Ironically, the man now seen as one of the great early figures of the hobby was not a baseball card collector at heart, his hobby was any American printed ephemeral material (he later wrote a book on postcards).

The book started out as a magazine article in 1936 and became a typewritten, mimeographed work by 1938. While only a small portion of the original book actually covers the important baseball card sets of the day, its importance cannot be overstated and even 1967 reprints regularly sell for over $100. It was the first, and for many years the only, reference to the hobby.

1942-1947

Paper and rubber3 shortages halt the production of cards until after the war. A few regional sets are produced in '46 and '47.

J.R. Burdick begins to donate his massive collection of cards (and other "ephemeral Americana") to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. He spends a good portion of his remaining 16 years gluing the materials into albums at the museum, where most of them remain today.

The importance of the collection is clearly not understood by the staff as very few of the cards are ever put on a rotating display and only one item from his donation, an 1880 lithograph of a pair of elephants, is among their online collection. According to an April 19, 1964 New York Times article on baseball cards, the "$250" Honus Wagner was among the donations. This is the same T206 card that in recent years has sold for over $1 million!

Gum Inc. changes its name to Bowman Gum, Inc., after its president Warren Bowman. In June of 1947, the Philadelphia company goes public with an initial share price of $7.125.

1948

Bowman prints its landmark 1948 set, distributed with popular Blony bubblegum. As Bowman is the same company as Gum, Inc., this set is a direct descendant of the pre-war Play Ball sets.

1949

1948 Bowman

Leaf produces the first color baseball cards of the post-WW2 era. The cards were shipped very early in the year and some include 1948 copyrights (though all Leaf baseball cards from the era were "1949" cards). Leaf's set was not attractive, but it did include the only 1949 cards of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, who had signed exclusive deals with the company.

Bowman produces its first color set in 1949, though it uses black and white photos that are tinted with colors and they are not particularly attractive. Bowman's savvy practice of signing players to exclusive contracts would make it nearly impossible for others, such as Leaf, to compete in the future. Indeed, Leaf cards were not produced again until a single set in 1960.

1950

Topps Chewing Gum of New York begins marketing Hopalong Cassidy cards with its gum products. It also works late in they year with a company called Players Enterprises to get the rights to produce baseball cards. Bowman has no competition in baseball cards for the only year.

1951

Topps uses the fact that Bowman's "exclusive" contracts only cover cards distributed with chewing gum to its advantage. The company produces its first sets of baseball cards and distributes them with caramel candy instead of gum. Sy Berger of Topps later claimed the cards were a disaster and the finish "smelled like kerosene."4

As the players had contracts with Bowman that only lasted a year or two, Topps also began signing "free agent" (in the baseball card sense) players to contracts that allowed the company to include gum. Their contracts also contained a provision requiring that the player not assign similar rights to any other firm.

To make sure no one else can use the "caramel" trick as Topps had, Bowman also include language in their new contracts regarding their exclusive right to market baseball cards with "confectionary products."

1952

1952 Topps

With the new contracts in place, Topps produces packs of cards with gum in them. A showdown was inevitable. Haelan Laboratories (Bowman's parent company) promptly sued Topps.

The '52 Topps set is one of the most popular of all time and contains early cards of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. It was also the biggest one year set ever, with 407 cards and Topps increased the size of each card to 2⅝ x 3¾.

1953

After a judge initially ruled for Topps, Bowman wins on appeal. In a landmark decision that established an individual's marketing/advertising rights to their own image,5 the Second Circuit court of appeals sided with Haelan/Bowman. Getting a picture of your favorite player during this era often means buying the right brand of cards as many appear in only Bowman or only Topps sets (in fact Stan Musial only appeared on Rawlings "cards" after 1953 until finally appearing on a Topps card in 1958).

As the competition for kids spare change heats up, Bowman decides to produce a full color set - a risky and expensive idea. The company produces some of the most beautiful cards ever in their first series of 1953 and they are the first to use actual color photographs rather than paintings or hand colored black and whites.

Bowman mysterious printed a black and white set later in 1953, rather than a another series of the color cards. It has been conjectured that as the costs of competing and litigating with Topps mounted, they felt the need to cut costs. As yet, no actual proof that this was the reason for the existence of the late '53 B&W set has surfaced and, at this late date, none is likely to emerge.

1954

Brothers Don and Russell Weiner inherit the Thomas Weiner Company - makers of "Super Bubble" bubblegum - from their father. They rename the company Donruss.

1955

Redman produces its, and happily the industry's, final "tobacco cards."

1956

Topps purchases Bowman in January and enjoys a monopoly position in the current-player bubblegum baseball card business for another quarter century. Topps retained the "confectionary" language in their standard player contract. This was an era where cards were used to get kids to buy a particular company's gum and not the other way around.

Topps standard practice in this timeframe was to determine who the potential Major Leaguers were while they were still in the minors and sign them to an exclusive contract for $5. Topps does nothing unless the player reaches the majors; these contracts are only to prevent others from ever signing a major league player. When the player reached the majors, Topps gave the players merchandise, such as a color TV, each year that their pictures were used. This later changed to a flat payment of $125, though a catalog of electronic goodies from RCA and GE was sent out to players. The players could choose the merchandise, which Topps picked up for wholesale prices, in lieu of the check.

A few did slip through: Maury Wills was with the Detroit Tigers briefly in his early minor league career (on loan from the Dodgers, such arrangements were possible then) and Topps' contract representative - a former Dodgers scout - Turk Karam was told by a team official that Wills wasn't a prospect, and so he wasn't signed. He signed with Fleer later and would not appear on a Topps card until 1967, five years after he won the MVP award.

Seymour "Sy" Berger of Topps later said, "Maury stayed angry at us for quite some time..." As a result of the Wills' miscalculation, Topps stopped trying to scout minor leaguers and gave them all $5 contracts.4

1959

1959 Fleer

Fleer, a Philadelphia company founded a century earlier and known for creating the first wildly successful bubblegum (Double Bubble), produces an 80 card set honoring Ted Williams. Williams, who along with Joe DiMaggio had been a Leaf exclusive in 1949, signed an exclusive contract with the company for $5,000.6

The set is distributed in six and eight card wax-packs. The cards feature Ted as a child, Ted in the military, Ted with his daughter, Ted signing a contract for 1959, etc. The latter card got Fleer in trouble as it also features former manager Bucky Harris, who was still technically under an exclusive contract with Topps. The card was withdrawn and is quite valuable today.

1960

Leaf gets around the language in the Topps' contracts by producing 5¢ wax packs of their black and white cards with a pair of marbles (real ones - not candy). The set looks like something out of the 1940s and is not popular with kids (who are still the market for the cards).

Fleer distributes a set of 79 cards of retired stars. This is the first national set to actually feature old timers. They will produce a similar set in 1961.

1962

On February 8, 1962, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused Topps of attempting to corner the market on baseball picture cards. Specifically, the government claimed Topps was in violation of Section Five of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The FTC announced that it was investigating Topps' exclusive contracts with Major League Baseball players.

Former FTC chairman Earl W. Kintner apparently sees no ethical issues with defending an alleged monopolist against the agency he used to chair and accepts Topps' offer to be their chief counsel.

The FTC complaint points out that Topps had exclusive contracts with 414 of 421 major leaguers and had already signed 1500 minor leaguers to the infamous $5 contracts, which bind the player to the company for their first five years in the majors. Once in the majors, they were paid $125 per year by Topps, regardless of stature of seniority.

Topps executive Vice-President Joel Shorin, a son of one of the founders, was quoted by the New York Times as saying the government's complaint lacked, "any valid foundation." Topps would later claim that Fleer had provoked the case. Fleer did supply witnesses and file legal briefs with the FTC.7

In a formal response to the inquiry on March 16, Topps denied the monopolizing charges and claimed their exclusive contracts did not directly affect interstate commerce and thus, their activities were beyond the scope of antitrust laws or the FTC itself.

1963

1963 Fleer

Embolden by the FTC complaint, Fleer decides to go ahead and print cards featuring current major leaguers. In a real coup for the company, Fleer is able to print the first and only card of current NL MVP Maury Wills.

In an attempt to not violate the "confectionary" clause of the Topps contracts, Fleer produces a very low sugar cherry cookie to distribute with the packs. A Topps executive later told the FTC that cookies tasted like "a dog biscuit." This begs the question as to how he would have known what either tasted like.8

Fleer apparently gives up due to poor sales after producing a first series of 66 cards.9

The start of formal FTC hearings into the case are delayed by the assassination of President Kennedy and begin on December 2, 1963.

1964

The FTC case drags on through seven weeks of testimony before further details of the allegations are revealed on January 30: The commission accused Topps of forcing unwanted Bazooka gum on wholesalers with the implied threat that they would not receive requested quantities of the popular baseball card products if they refused to buy the Bazooka gum in sufficient quantities. Such ties by a monopolist are illegal, as the Microsoft case later demonstrated.8

Topps' chief counsel Earl Kintner asked that the case be dismissed as the company's contracts did not forbid the sale of cards with items other than candy or gum. He used the Leaf "marbles" cards of 1960 and even "cookie" cards as examples and produces documents showing the General Mills had distributed 1.7 million cards on Post cereal boxes in the previous three years.10

The transcripts of the proceedings weighed in at a massive 4,075 pages and there were over 770 exhibits - some of them quite tasty.11

In September, the FTC's Herman Tocker ordered Topps to stop signing players to exclusive contracts for gum cards starting on November 1, 1964 and to cease enforcing the existing contract on October 31, 1966. He also ordered Topps to provide copies of their contracts to each player. Topps filed suit on October 2 asking the FTC to revoke the order. 

1965

On April 30, 1965, the FTC commissioners themselves overruled Tocker and closed the case against Topps declaring that Topps did not have an illegal hold on the market and that no evidence had been produced that pictures of baseball players were an important competitive factor in the selling of gum products.12

The 11 page ruling essentially agreed with Topps' assertions that there was no separate industry for baseball cards and that Fleer seemed to be doing fine as a bubble gum concern (an industry the commission apparently was willing to recognize) despite not being able to market cards with its gum. Its remarkable in retrospect that the gum was seen as the product with the cards merely as a marketing ploy to sell the gum, but that is how it all started.

1966

Unable to print baseball cards with its famous gum, Fleer sells the contracts it has with baseball players to Topps for $395,000. Most observers conclude they will never see another Fleer baseball card.

1967

Maury Wills finally appears in a Topps set as a result of the Fleer contracts purchase. Fleer had an exclusive with Wills dating to the 1950s.

1970 Kellogg's

1969

General Mills purchases Memphis, Tennessee confectionary and non-sport card producer Donruss.

1970

Kellogg's distributes 3D baseball cards with their Corn Flakes cereal in the first of fourteen annual sets.

1972

The sales of chewing gum in the U.S. hit $1B for the first time. It will hit twice that in 1977 thanks in part to inflation.

1973

A unique book on baseball cards of the 1950s and 60s is published called The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading, and Bubble Gum Book by Brendan C. Boyd and Fred Harris. This is not some price guide, but a trip down memory lane for anyone who both loved baseball and collected baseball cards in the 50s and 60s, complete with hundreds of full-color pictures of Topps cards from the era. This was the first book for adult card collectors that was fun. Indeed, nothing like has been published since. (Hmmm...)

The book has an interesting quote from Sy Berger of Topps that is telling regarding the monopoly the company enjoyed: "You see, it really isn't to the player's advantage to hold out on us. What's the point? He has nothing to gain and everything to lose." In other words, since there are no other card producers to sell the rights to their image to, they had no leverage so they had better just accept Topps' terms, which were non-negotiable for an individual player.

1974

Topps releases a complete set of baseball cards in one series for the first time. Factory sets are also sold (through Sears in their Christmas Wishbook) for the first time.

Fleer is rebuffed in its efforts to negotiate a deal with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to make satin patches featuring the likeness of various players.

1975

In June, Fleer files a suit in the Federal District Court of Philadelphia seeking damages due to Topps alleged "illegal restraint of trade" as a result of its exclusive deal with the MLBPA.

The MLBPA in the person of Marvin Miller seems unaware he is costing his clients extra income by not allowing other firms to create cards. He tells the New York Times, "From what I know of the Topps promotion, I think it has been an excellent promotion for baseball... And I naturally would not like to see it disrupted."13 The association is not, however, named as a co-defendant.

Hostess prints the first of five annual sets of baseball cards on its boxes of bakery treats. Apparently Twinkies are not "confectionary" products.

1978

Topps' attempts to get the 1975 suit thrown out on the grounds that the FTC had settled the issue in 1965 fail when the Supreme Court refuses to overturn a lower-court decision which found that the company had to stand trial. The Third Circuit appeals court had ruled that Fleer was never actually a party to the FTC action nor had they appealed it, so they still had a legal right to pursue the matter through the Federal Courts.14

1980

In the case Fleer brought to court five years earlier, Judge Clarence Newcomer rules that Topps, "unlawfully restrained and monopolized trade" in the baseball card market. Fleer, which had been prevented from distributing current-player cards with its gum since a 1965 FTC ruling in favor of Topps, had asked for $16M in damages. Newcomer cited his own inability to estimate actual damages and awarded $1, which was tripled to $3 since this was an antitrust case. (The figure is often quoted as $3 million, but like in the USFL case six years later, it was $3.)

The judge also suggested that interested companies should work with the MLB Player's Association to reach agreements to produce cards. Newcomer specifically asked the MLBPA to "consider carefully any applications it receives for licenses.15

While Fleer was disappointed in not receiving a meaningful damage award, it was delighted with the decision overall and got to work on producing a set of cards for the 1981 season. 

They were not alone. In fact, it was Donruss of Memphis, Tennessee who announced the first agreement with the Player's Association to create cards for the '81 season.

Both Donruss and Fleer (and later Score and Upper Deck) had blanket deals with the Player's Association rather than deals with individual players, like Topps. Ironically, this meant that Topps would once again have exclusives, starting with anyone who was a "replacement player" during the mid-90s strike and more recently, Barry Bonds.16

1981

1981 Cards

Topps virtual monopoly is ended with Fleer and Donruss each releasing 600+ card sets. Significantly, all three companies ship packs of cards with gum.

In August, the a three member U.S. Court of Appeals panel overturned the Newcomer verdict and claimed Topps was not in violation of the antitrust laws because that the new companies were free to sign players as minor leaguers (as Topps had been doing for three decades) and over time would have enough major leaguers to sell cards.

Marvin Miller, who had been opposed to anything but an exclusive deal with Topps until Judge Newcomer's initial decision, was not happy with the ruling. Donruss and Fleer's licensing fees allowed the Player's Association to more than double payments to the players during a season in which many had lost wages due to the strike.

When the news initially broke, it seemed Donruss and Fleer were out of the baseball card business. It was only after reviewing the decision that lawyers for each company determined that they could distribute their cards in 1982 in wax packs with something other than confectionary products, such as gum. (The moral of the story? Don't chew gum and sell cards at the same unless your name is Topps.)

1982

Donruss and Fleer distribute their second sets of baseball cards. Donruss replaces the gum in their wax packs with thick cardboard puzzle pieces while Fleer substitutes team logo stickers. Topps will later call the stickers a "sham" product and file another suit against Fleer.

With the new ruling that its exclusive contracts to produce cards with gum were valid after all, Topps files suit asking for all profits Fleer made in 1981 selling baseball cards with gum plus $3M in damages. The two companies would eventually settle out of court many years later.

Interestingly, Topps did not go after Donruss' profits. It has been suggested that Topps believed it had a better shot against Fleer's lawyers than General Mills' - parent of Donruss - and that they could use a judgment against Fleer as leverage in an out-of-court settlement with Donruss. It has also been suggested that it was out of spite, since the two firms had been at each other's throats for at least three decades.

1983

Topps sues Fleer yet again. This time Topps alleged that the cards sold with team logo stickers were an illegal attempt to get around Topps' exclusive right to market baseball "in combination with chewing gum or other confectionary product." I never knew the stickers were edible! There's some crazy, twisted, lawyer-logic in there somewhere.

Ah, here it is: The '82 ruling agreed that Topps actually had the exclusive right to produces baseball cards with confectionary products or without them. In other words, Topps was alleging that while Fleer could ship cards with pizzas, steak knives, and car stereos, it could not ship them by themselves or with gum and that the team logo stickers were a "sham" product used to get around this.

It may be coincidental, but this was also the last year Fleer sold their baseball Star Stickers with a slab of gum. They used - you guessed it - team logo stickers in 1984.

General Mills sells its stake in Donruss to a Finnish company named Huhtamaki that was on a buying spree. That company also bought Beatrice Foods and Leaf and merged the three confectionary companies to form Donruss-Leaf.

1985

Topps and Fleer announce they have settled the '83 case and agree that Fleer can distribute its cards with stickers.

With the Player's Associations asking its players not to sign or renew contracts with Topps, the company files an antitrust lawsuit against the association alleging illegal restraint of trade!17

Leaf produces its first set of baseball cards since 1960. The set is intended as a Donruss equivalent for the Canadian market ala O-Pee-Chee.

1988

With the number of cards printed nearly doubling each year, another company produces its inaugural set. The Score baseball cards are lauded for their excellent photo reproduction and full-color flipsides.

1989

With collector's interest in early cards at an all-time high, Topps decides to print a set of cards under the Bowman name, which they still own the rights to. It was seen as a commercial failure, but held enough interest to to keep the brand alive and Topps produced Bowman cards well into the next century.

Upper Deck secures the fifth Major League baseball card license and produces a landmark set.

1991

Topps announces that it will no longer include gum with its baseball cards. The gum had long since created value for the packages and instead was damaging at least one card in every pack. Ironically for a pair of companies that fought and lost in court to include gum in their packages, Fleer and Donruss had been at a competitive advantage for years because their packs did not suffer from such damage.18

2003

According to the index of the Beckett Baseball Card Price Guide, there were far more individual baseball card sets produced in 2002 than there were in the first 100 years (1887-1986).

2005

Friday, May 13th 2005 was unlucky day for Fleer and its employees. The company announced it was laying off most of its employees. The assets were to be auctioned off. While someone will doubtless purchase the Fleer name, the company founded in 1885 by Frank H. Fleer is no more.

This leaves Upper Deck, Donruss, and venerable Topps as the major producers of cards, though it is possible the Fleer name will be resurrected by whomever wins it at auction. Topps is rumored to be shopping its confectionary line in order to concentrate on cards.

With the baseball card market completely flooded with product and rumors of contraction abound, the MLB Player's Association announces on July 25, 2005 that it will only license Topps and Upper Deck to produce cards starting in 2006. A press release from by Donruss/Playoff quotes owner Ann Powell as saying, "We are, of course, disappointed and sad about the future loss of our partnership with baseball and understand it was a very tough decision to make. We will continue to produce and deliver the highest quality baseball products for the remainder of the year. All of us at Donruss love being a part of this industry and remain fully committed to the football and entertainment products in the coming years."

Although Upper Deck may technically release "Fleer" branded cards in 2006, it really means that there were more baseball producers in 1981 than their will be in 2006!

 

If you can't get enough, you can also read our "Brief History of" series on Topps, Fleer and Donruss.

 

Notes:
1: We will never know for sure how many variations of these cards were printed. Some rare ones are doubtless lost to history and new ones are found every few years.
2: Anecdotal evidence that children encouraged their fathers to smoke is offer by this quote from early baseball card guide creator J.R. Burdick in a 1955 article published in the Syracuse Herald Journal: "Practically every small boy saved these kind of cards. We made our dads use certain brands whether they liked them or not." (Source is A Collector’s Guide to Baseball Cards by Troy Kirk, page 90.) The industry has been punished more than once for marketing to kids and the ones I grew up with had no trouble getting cigarettes.  Do you think kids in the 1880s did? (And if you really believe that it was a more "innocent" era, go ahead and read the New York Times from the era. I have. My conclusion? Humans were just as brutal and dishonest then as now. Perhaps even more so.)
3: Rubber is used in the production of gum.
4: The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book by Brenden Boyd and Fred Harris; pages 42-44; 1975; Warner Paperback. The $5 figure, which had originally been just $1, was still current at least as late as 1973.
also:
USA Today; March 27, 2001; "Topps Facts" by Cesar Brioso and Mike Dodd: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/stories/2001-03-27-cards-facts.htm
5: AHRC Research Center for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law: http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrb/personality/uscases.asp#Haelan.
6: SABR Nine; "Interview with Sy Berger"
7: New York Times; April 18, 1978; "Bubble-Gum Makers Warm Up For Test On Baseball Cards" by Warren Weaver, Jr.; page 53.
8: New York Times; January 30, 1964; "Bubble-Gum Suit Fills 3,000 Pages" by McLandish Phillips; page 21.
9: Fleer had contracts with enough players to make a much larger set. It has been claimed elsewhere that Topps sued Fleer over the first series, but I can find no evidence of this. Furthermore, Fleer did give testimony claiming that the ability for them to market cards with their gum was essential for the company to compete in the bubblegum business (these cards shipped with cookies). It also makes no sense in light of the fact that Topps lawyer Earl Kintner used the Fleer "cookie" set as an example of how the other companies were free to market cards - just not with gum. I also am unable to find contemporary articles which reference a '63 lawsuit by Topps over the Fleer set. Please correct me via the Contact Us link at the top of this page if you have verifiable evidence of this alleged case.
10: New York Times; February 19, 1964; "Topps Denies It Has Cornered Baseball Trading Card Field" by McLandish Philips; page 23.
11: Diamonds are Forever: The Business of Baseball, pages 94-103. This book points out that the exhibits and documentation from the case are still held by the National Archives!
12: UPI Wire story; May 22, 1965; "Bubble Gum Maker Is Cleared By F.T.C. of Monopoly Charge."
13: New York Times; July 10, 1975; "Topps Called Off-Base" by Lawrence Van Gelder; page 33.
14: New York Times; April 23, 1978; "High Court on Taxes and Bubble Gum"; page F19.
15: The Sporting News; July 19, 1980; "Topps' Bubble Bursts."
16: Those replacement players, such as Cory Lidle, are not allowed to be members of the union. As such, only Topps has ever produced cards of these players. Barry Bonds left the MLBPA to seek out his own deals in late 2004 and only Topps printed cards of him in 2005.
17: New York Times; November 11, 1985; "Sticky Holdout" by Robert Thomas; page C2.
18: Collectors of all three brands had suffered from wax stains from wax packs, which were sealed using heat causing some of the wax on the paper to seep into the bottom card. Score was the first major company to not use any wax packaging in 1988.

 

 

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