When were baseball cards invented?

Updated: 12/23/2022
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15y ago

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Baseball Cards. It all began with the images of baseball players on cards sold with tobacco products in the 1880s through WWII when the baseball card industry took on a life of its own with the increasing popularity of the cards as collectibles. The first baseball cards were issued over 130 years ago, and the answer to this question will be debated over the next 130 years. One of the cards under debate as the first player to appear on a baseball card is Dave Birdsall "The Old Man" of the Unions of Morisannia ball club (1866-1870). Dave Birdsall later became a member of the Cincinnati Red Stockings the first professional baseball team in 1869, and a card picturing this team is another baseball card that has been given credit as the first.

The next oldest baseball card(s) with a traditional design, featuring the identified image of an individual player, were issued by Old Judge tobacco in 1886.

Bowman - A well-known card manufacturer that began production in 1948 with baseball, football, and Basketball cards. Their basketball production was halted that same year, while baseball and football cards were produced through 1955. The following year, Topps purchased the company and ended their rivalry in the sports card market. In 1989, Topps once again began production of cards with the Bowman name. Cards with this brand name are prominent in the modern sports card market.

Topps used Baseball cards to promote their product Bazooka Bubble gum. The most recognized sports card manufacturer, they are most well known for the 1952 Topps set, the king of post-war issues. Today, Topps still dominates the market, with Topps Chrome, Topps Finest, and Bowman Chrome issues.

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