Harry Truman was in the White House, no one had heard of rock 'n roll, and in Brooklyn, N.Y. the Shorin brothers were trying to find a way for people to buy more of their gum.
They had experimented in 1950 with trading cards, producing Hopalong Cassidy, Frank Buck "Bring 'em Back Alive" cards, and even some "felt back" college football cards.
"Get that young kid from Bucknell in here," said J.E. Shorin, the father of current Chairman Arthur T. Shorin. "Berger....Sy Berger. Let's get him on baseball cards." And with that, came the birth of 1951 Topps baseball cards. Blue backs and red backs, Yogi and Scooter, Duke and Feller, Spahn and Ashburn, Kiner and Mize. 104 cards in all. They were game cards, not very interesting graphically, but the following year, Berger would design a set at his kitchen table that would become the prototype of the modern card.
And now, Topps is presenting 2001 Baseball Series One, the 50th anniversary edition of what has become a part of America's cultural history, the gateway to baseball for generations of fans, a brand name and a collectible that has become the most collected item in a nation of collectors.
2001 Topps Baseball delivers what sports fans would expect - one of the most extraordinary sets of baseball cards ever produced, skillfully mixing Topps' heritage with the wants of the modern collector, for a product that leaps from the pack with everything - but gum. (Yes, the gum was dropped in 1991 after collectors, seeking "mint condition cards," found that the card touching the gum was left with a slight impression.)
From a '52 Mickey Mantle card to a pack of colorful '71 Topps to autographs from the greats and every single baseball card Topps has produced, 2001 Topps MLB Series 1 is making history and gives collectors a chance to own history.
Not only is Topps celebrating by offering a chance to find redemption cards for actual packs of unopened Topps baseball cards from the past 50 years, but the "Topps History" program is also seeding every Topps brand baseball card ever produced, which includes virtually every rookie card ever issued (divided between series 1 & 2).
Throughout its existence, Topps baseball has seen the hobby transform. From your basic bubble gum card to die-cut holo-foil technologies, Topps baseball has always been on the cutting edge and continues to be. With memorabilia cards being some of the most sought after items in the eyes of today's collectors, Topps continues to set the standard with some very unique programs that allow people the chance to not just "Own the Game ", but to "Own the Game of the Past" as well.
2001 Topps Series 1 will include autographs from stars of the past, present and future. Collectors can also find a co-signed autograph card commemorating one of the greatest moments in baseball on its 50th anniversary-The Shot Heard 'Round the World. Both Bobby Thomson and Ralph Branca have signed this card, which is limited in number.
King of Kings is a 3-card memorabilia program featuring pieces of actual game-used jersey from three notable record holders-Hank Aaron (HR's), Nolan Ryan (K's) and Rickey Henderson (SB's). What do you get when you take jersey pieces from all three kings and put them on one card? - The King of Kings Golden Edition. A limited edition of only 50 will give even the Kings of collecting a run for their money. And rounding off the memorabilia department, Topps Originals offers rookie reprint cards, which include jersey swatches from five baseball greats (one from each decade of Topps' existence).
In the essence of Topps baseball 50th Anniversary, its 2001 product offers some unique insert sets. The 50-card Through the Years insert features reprints of the top player from each of the past 50 years. And staying in tune with the "50" theme, the Golden Anniversary set includes five 10-card subjects including Hall of Famers, Future Hall of Famers, Superstars, Top Prospects and former Team USA players.
With 2001 Topps MLB Series 1, the extensive 405-card base set offers Topps classic action photography combined with a cutting-edge design and complete career statistics. 2001 Topps is also bringing back an old-time favorite-Manager cards. Look for past players like Joe Torre and Dusty Baker now captured as skippers running some of the most successful teams in the game. Also included in the base set are Draft Picks, Golden Moments, Season Highlights, League Leaders and Post Season Highlights. A Gold Parallel of the base set, which collectors should find to be quite fitting as well as collectible, is sequentially numbered to 2001.
2001 Topps MLB Series 1 releases November 15 and carries a $1.29 SRP for
each 10-card pack. The complete set includes:
2000 Topps MLB Series 1
405 Basic Card Set
25 Draft Picks & Prospects
10 Golden Moments
5 Season Highlights
8 League Leaders
7 World Series Highlights
Topps 50th Gold (# to 2001)
10 Topps Combos -- Depicts players from the past and present through artistic renderings.
50 Through the Years -- A reprinted Topps' card of the top player from each of the past 50 years (showcases every design ever used in the base set from 1952-1999).
50 Golden Anniversary -- Features 5 10-card subsets including Hall of Famers, Future Hall of Famers, Superstars, Top Prospects and Former Team USA players.
10 A Look Ahead -- Stars expected to dominate in Y2K and beyond.
30 A tradition Continued -- Present day players who demonstrate the style, desire & grit of players from the past.
Autographs (1:376) -- Includes stars from the past, present and future.
Shot Heard 'Round the World Autograph (1:8607) -- Remembering one of the greatest moments on the diamond from the past 50 years with a co-signed Bobby Thomson and Ralph Branca card.
3 King of Kings (1:5441) -- Jersey cards featuring record holders Nolan Ryan, Hank Aaron and Rickey Henderson 1 King of Kings Golden Edition (# to 50) -- Features pieces of all 3 jerseys on one card.
5 Topps Originals (1:3099) -- Rookie reprint cards featuring jersey swatches from five greats (one from each decade of Topps' existence).
Topps History -- One of every Topps' baseball cards from the odd years ('53, '55, etc.) and one '52 Mantle. Oversize and highly collectible cards are available through redemption.
Pack Redemptions -- Unopened packs can be redeemed from various years of Topps existence.