You’ll need a big bankroll to own the entire set, thanks to Mickey Mantle and his high number friends, but there’s a new book that has all of the cards in the 1952 Topps set—and more info than you’ll find on the backs of all 407 cards.
Baseball & Bubble Gum: The 1952 Topps Collection is the latest release from Tom and Ellen Zappala, the husband-wife team that has collaborated with PSA on a number of vintage baseball card-related books. The 248-page coffee table-style book shows off each card in the set in full color, with a narrative on each player. It also offers some central information on the set’s composition and variations, its design, to its breakdown in six distinct series, to its place in America’s cultural history.
There is also information on the most notable cards in the set, including-of course, the valuable 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle.
The player narratives offer not just baseball-related information for each of the athletes who were featured in the first major Topps set, but a peek inside the lives of the players, many of whom were World War II veterans and even Purple Heart recipients. Organized in chapters by “Hall of Famers”, “Commons” and “Uncommons”, they include little known tidbits and statistics.
Over the last several years, the Zappalas have authored books on the the T206 and Cracker Jack sets, baseball autographs and game-used bats and more.
“This book was certainly a labor of love for us because this wonderful collection brought back memories of our childhood,” explained Tom Zappala. “Unlike the T206 Collection and Cracker Jack Collection, the 1952 Topps set was part of the fabric of our youth. That is what made writing the book so appealing.”
Former MLB All-Star pitcher Carl Erskine of the 1955 World Series Champion Brooklyn Dodgers offers an endorsement: “The popularity of Topps baseball cards kept the careers of player like me alive for decades after our retirement,” he stated. “As a player featured in the ’52 Topps set, I enjoyed reading Baseball & Bubble Gum. The stories about the players brought back memories of a great time in my life and a great time in the game of baseball.”
Zappala added: “We also owe a debt of gratitude to John Branca, the nephew of the pitching great Ralph Branca. John allowed us to use images of his complete 1952 Topps set. As many serious collectors know, his collection is one of the finest in existence, and it was very kind of him to share it in our book for the enjoyment of our readers.”
“Over the past decade, Tom and Ellen Zappala have afforded me the opportunity to work with them on a number of book projects and each one has been enjoyable for different reasons,” said Collectors Universe President and CEO Joe Orlando. “This most recent project was extra fun to work on, in part, because they allocated more space in the book for me to dig into the vast detail of this iconic issue. When you are talking about the premier postwar baseball card set, having the appropriate amount of room to explore all of its great attributes, including its rich history, is crucial. From its key components to its variations to its place in pop culture, the 1952 Topps is cemented as one of the hobby’s true staples.”
The book is priced at $35 and be ordered on Amazon.com.