Tags: sy berger | baseball | card | legend | dies

Sy Berger, Baseball Card Legend Who Created Modern Version, Dies at 91

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 03:37 PM

Sy Berger, the man who created and designed modern baseball cards, died Sunday at the age of 91, leaving a legacy that changed an industry forever.

Although baseball cards had been around since the 19th century, it wasn’t until Berger decided they needed revamping in 1951 that they became the cards fans collect today, Gizmodo reported. Berger worked for Topps Candy Co. the Brooklyn, New York, company responsible for Bazooka gum, when he began toying with the idea of including cards with candy.

Berger’s cards differed from previous baseball cards because they included player autographs, nicknames, and stats, Gizmodo said.

"Berger most famously devised the practice of signing Major League Baseball players year after year to be able to use their name and image on cards in annual sets," ESPN reported. "For more than three decades, Topps was paying players only $75 a year for that privilege and, most of the time, that amount was applied to buying something from the company catalog."

"He is the father of the modern-day trading card, and I guess you'd have to be 40 or more to really understand what trading cards meant as a cultural institution in American, especially in the 50s and 60s. That was kind of the way we knew what ballplayers looked like in full color on those handy little trading cards that fit so nicely into the palm," his friend and baseball historian Mary Appel told ESPN.

Berger's best friend, "not professionally, but for real, was Willie Mays," Appel told ESPN. "He was a lifelong counselor and advisor on almost all the decisions Willie had to make. He was just a beloved figure in the industry, whether by players, front office people, media. He was just a beloved baseball character."

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Sy Berger, the man who created and designed modern baseball cards, died Sunday at the age of 91, leaving a legacy that changed an industry forever.
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Monday, 15 Dec 2014 03:37 PM
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