As we reported in May, a baseball organization is paying homage to the ‘godfather’ of modern baseball cards with its ultimate honor. Sy Berger will be inducted this Sunday into the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals.
Based in southern California, the Reliquary is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history.
Frequently cited as the father of the modern baseball card, Berger(1923-2014) joined the Topps Company, manufacturer of chewing gum, as a sales promotion executive after World War II. In 1952 he designed the template for, and oversaw the production of, an annual series of baseball trading cards that would quickly emerge as the most coveted pop culture artifacts of the 1950s and 1960s – the Topps baseball card – and send the fortunes of the company soaring.
Berger’s induction will be accepted by his daughter, Maxine, and will be introduced by his son, Glenn, who will share a collection of stories about the man who was instrumental in transforming an insignificant childhood diversion into an important, and highly profitable, facet of American culture.
Several other inductees will join the Berger family for the event, slated for 2 PM at the Pasadena Central Library.
The story of Mickey Mantle’s last bat and Thurman Munson’s first jersey are intertwined through former Topps and Yankees PR man Marty Appel who wound up with both a long time ago. He could have had Mantle’s next-to-last pair of spikes, too.
Forbes has a story that collectors of game-worn memorabilia will especially appreciate.
A PSA 10 Michael Jordan rookie card appears to have sold for over $16,000 Tuesday night, which would be a record for the grade. You can see the listing here.
Max Scherzer has partnered with the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation for a new program called Baseball Cards for a Cause. Through this program, the ace pitcher will sign baseball cards sent to him through the mail in exchange for a donation to the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, the team’s charitable arm.
I guess it means no autographs for those who can’t fork over the $25 donation, but at least the money goes to a worthwhile cause, one Scherzer got involved with during his Detroit Tigers days. Scherzer was a fan and autograph collector as a kid and is also hoping the idea will give a little more meaning to the signatures he does give out. He and his wife are both passionate about the charity and you can read what he has to say about it all here.
Retrieving Hank Aaron’s 714th home run ball in 1974 didn’t hurt Clarence Williams’ career. The young police officer was stationed in the stadium that April night. He retrieved the potentially valuable baseball and handed it over to Aaron, earning plaudits from the city council there for his “selfless” gesture.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Williams eventually moved to Florida and Aaron, a part-time resident of West Palm Beach, gave Williams an autographed ball. Williams has been police chief in Riviera Beach, FL for the last 13 years. Four years ago, the paper says Aaron wrote a letter congratulating Williams when he was chosen to head the county police chiefs association. Now, Williams is running for Palm Beach County Commission.