baseball-cards

Yogi Berra’s  Baseball Card Contract

Copy of contract of “Larry Berra” (Complaint Exhibit 25)

Eastern District of New York, Civil Case File 11582, Bowman Gum, Inc vs. Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. 

Series: Civil Case Files , 1962 - 1979Record Group 21: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009 

Signed by Larry “Yogi” Berra on August 23, 1950, this contract entitled him to $1.00 and a woman’s watch in exchange for the use of his image by the Bowman Gum Corporation for the 1951 Major League Baseball season.  

The contract was introduced as an exhibit in one of a series of legal cases over baseball card image rights between the Bowman Gum and Topps Chewing Gum corporations.  A number of major league baseball players granted exclusive rights to their images to the Bowman Gum company for use on baseball cards.  When Topps introduced cards featuring some of the same players, Bowman filed suit.  Included in the exhibits are some of the original cards as well as authentic vintage chewing gum:  

A detailed summary of these cases can be found at Baseball Cards and the Birth of the Right of Publicity: The Curious Case of Haelan Laboratories v. Topps Chewing Gum by J. Gordon Hylton, from the  Marquette Law Scholarly Commons.

See also our earlier post featuring Yogi Berra’s 1940s-era Draft Registration Cards.

(Special thanks to National Archives colleagues Christopher Magee at the National Archives at Seattle, and Christopher Zarr, Education Specialist at the National Archives at New York, and former NARA employees, Greg Plunges and Bonnie Sauer!)

10

Iconic Photographers Posed for These Baseball Cards in 1974

Back in 1974, photographer Mike Mandel traveled across the United States and photographed 134 top photographers and curators as baseball players. Mandel then used those portraits to create Baseball-Photographer Trading Cards, an unusual set of trading cards featuring big names in the industry. As you can see from the card above, Ansel Adams was one of them.

Other well known photo industry figures included Imogen Cunningham, Harry Callahan, Minor White, Aaron Siskind, William Eggleston, Ed Ruscha, and John Szarkowski.

(Continue Reading)

3

Happy Birthday Dominic Paul DomDiMaggio! (February 12, 1917 – May 8, 2009)

Nicknamed “The Little Professor”, was an American Major League Baseball center fielder. He played his entire 11-year baseball career for the Boston Red Sox (1940–1953). He was the youngest of three brothers who each became major league center fielders, the others being Joe and Vince. (Wikipedia)

1. Portrait of Dom DiMaggio, outfielder for the Boston Red Sox.

2. Portrait of Dom DiMaggio, outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, holding a baseball bat. (T232) series. 

3. Portrait of Boston Red Sox center fielder Dom DiMaggio swinging bat. Exhibits (W462) series. Printed on front: “Dom Di Maggio. Made in U.S.A." 

  • Courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library
Woman brings 1870s Boston baseball card collection to Antiques roadshow worth over $1 million

This is every baseball card collector’s dream come true. The Antiques Roadshow appraiser literally gets choked up when she tells this woman what her card collection is worth.

here’s the video:

Unbelievable.  This is why I still love watching Antiques Roadshow.  It’s amazing what treasures people hold onto without even knowing what they have.

4

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  Yogi Berra

1. Portrait of Yogi Berra, catcher for the New York Yankees. Bowman series. Printed on front: “Larry ‘Yogi’ Berra.” Printed on back: “Larry 'Yogi’ Berra. Catcher, New York Yankees. Born: St. Louis, Mo., May 12, 1925. Height: 5-8. Weight: 183. Bats: left. Throws: right. In 151 games for the 1950 champions. Batted .322, driving in 124 runs. Hits included 28 homers, 6 triples, 30 doubles. In 166 games in 1949, batting .277, and driving in 91 runs. Though Yogi is now one of the best catchers in the American League, he played mostly in the outfield in 1948. Batted .305 in 125 games. From Missouri sandlots. First played pro with Norfolk. No. 2 in the 1951 series baseball picture cards. [Copyright] 1951 Bowman Gum, Inc., Phila., Pa., U.S.A." 

2. Portrait of Yogi Berra, catcher for the New York Yankees. (T232) series. Printed on front: "Larry 'Yogi’ Berra, catcher, New York Yankees. Born: St. Louis, Mo., May 12, '25. Height: 5-8. Weight: 183. Bats: Left. Throws: right. Yogi, one of baseball’s most colorful personalities, was the American League’s Most Valuable Player for 1951. an iron man, he appeared in 141 games. His 161 hits were good for a total of 269 bases. He had 19 doubles, 4 triples and 27 home runs, and he batted in 88 runs. Hit .294. With the Yankees since the end of the 1946 season. Hit .322 in 1950. 1952 Red Man All-Star team American League series, player #3.” Printed on back: “Red Man’s double-header for baseball fans! 1. 52 full-color picture cards of Red Man’s all-star major league baseball players. 2. Free of extra cost, big league style baseball cap! (see details below). Look at the other side of this card. You’ll find a full-color picture and story of one of the 52 famous stars on the Red Man big league teams – 25 top players in the American League and 25 in the National League – all selected by editor J.G. Taylor Spink of baseball’s bible, "The Sporting News,” plus the 1951 World Series managers, Casey Stengel of the Yankees and Leo Durocher of the Giants. Save these pictures – trade these duplicates with your friends. These prints are found only in packages of famous Red Man chewing tobacco. And that’s not all. You can get the special Red Man bonus – a big league style baseball cap at no extra cost to you! Just cut off and save the valuable stub below. When you have collected 50 of these stubs, mail them to Red Man, Box 68, Toledo 6, Ohio. You will receive a baseball cap with the insignia of any major league team that you choose. Be sure to state your name and address, the name of your favorite major league baseball team and your cap size (small, medium and large). This offer expires March 31, 1953. These baseball cards are for Red Man 'chewers’ and their boys. Save this valuable stub for your Red Man big league style baseball cap.“ 

3. Portrait of Yogi Berra, catcher for the New York Yankees, holding a baseball bat. Bowman series. Printed on front: "Yogi Berra.” Printed on back: “Larry 'Yogi’ Berra. Catcher, New York Yankees. Born: St. Louis, Mo., May 12, 1925. Height: 5-8. Weight: 183. Bats: left. Throws: right. 'Yogi’ gained the nod as the American League’s Most Valuable Player for the 1951 campaign. He batted .294 in 141 games. Hit 19 doubles and 27 home runs. His total of runs batted in was 88. One of game’s most colorful personalities. Came up from the Missouri sandlots. No. 1 in the 1952 series Baseball picture cards. Get a $1.00 value baseball cap of your favorite major league team by sending 5 wrappers and 50 cents to Bowman baseball, P.O. Box 234, New York 23, N.Y. State size: small, medium or large. [Copyright] 1952 Bowman Gum Division, Haelan Laboratories, Inc., Phila. 44, Pa. Ptd. in U.S.A." 

4.  Portrait of Yogi Berra, catcher for the New York Yankees. Bowman series. Printed on back: "Larry 'Yogi’ Berra. Catcher, New York Yankees. Born: St. Louis, Mo., May 12, 1925. Height: 5-8. Weight: 183. Bats: left. Throws: right. One of the top catchers of the American League. In 116 games for the world champion Yanks. Batted .277, and drove in 91 runs. 'Yogi’ hailed from the Missouri sandlots. First played professionally with Norfolk. Joined Newark in 1946; up to Yanks at end of that season. In 1948 played mostly in outfield. Two years in service. No. 46 in the 1950 series of baseball picture cards. [Copyright] 1950 Bowman Gum, Inc., Phila., Pa., U.S.A. Picture Card Collectors Club, 5-star Bowman series." 

  • Courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library