In the 1965 Christmas special “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Lucy asks Schroeder how Beethoven could be so great when he’s never had his picture on a bubble gum card.
In honor of National Baseball Card Day Saturday, Emily Kless, the communications manager for trading card manufacturer Topps, told The Times-Gazette that for a major league baseball player, getting their picture on a trading card alone was regarded as a major accomplishment.
“You can ask any MLB player, and a lot of them will tell you ‘that’s when I knew that I made it,’” Kless said. “We went to some of the teams’ spring training camps back in February shooting video of some of the guys, and they all have a distinct memory of seeing themselves on a Topps card for the first time.”
Topps is the official trading card partner of major league baseball, Kless said, and will celebrate National Baseball Card Day on Saturday by giving out free packs of cards at participating hobby shop locations across the country.
In addition, fans can also get more freebies at select hobby shops and participating Target and Walmart stores to celebrate the beloved baseball holiday.
“It’s a day to celebrate baseball cards, and the hobby of collecting them and how it brings people together,” Kless said. “It’s a great way for us to connect fans with the game, to connect them with their favorite players and document the season through baseball cards.”
Certain hobby shops will be giving away a special pack upon entry and two additional cards with the purchase of $10 or more of Topps products.
Kless said the additional cards will be of New York Mets All-Star Pete Alonso on the week of Aug. 8, and Houston Astros’ First Basemen Yordan Alvarez for the week of Aug. 15.
At Target, fans can receive a special pack inside the 2020 Chrome Hanger Box and a special offer for Topps Fire Baseball Cards, while Walmart will offer a special pack inside of the 2020 Chrome Hanger Box and a special offer for Topps Gallery Baseball Cards.
“The hobby is so unique because it doesn’t matter what age you are, baseball cards are fun, and it’s almost like Christmas when you open up a pack of baseball cards and wonder what’s inside,” Kless said.
Kless invited collectors and fans alike to post favorite cards and collections @Topps and use the hashtag #ToppsNBCD to join the conversation Saturday.
Kless pointed to the popular 1952 Topps baseball card set as the inception for what trading cards are known as today, and the company recognizes that series as the first true baseball card set.
According to USA Today, a mint condition Mickey Mantle from that 1952 set sold for $2.88 million in April 2018, second only to the $3.12 million paid for a 1906 Honus Wagner card just two years earlier.
For a complete list of participating hobby stores, visit www.topps.com/media/pdf/2019%20NBCD%20Participating%20List.pdf.
For local collectors, on the list were six participating hobby shops in the Greater Cincinnati area, five in the Dayton vicinity and four in the metro Columbus area.
Lebanon, New Boston and Waverly each had one hobby shop participating in Saturday’s National Baseball Card Day.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.