Publish date:

THE BASEBALL BUBBLE TROUBLE

The most furious trading in the U.S. nowadays goes on not in Wall Street or the Chicago grain market but among youngsters out to collect a connoisseur's fistful of baseball trading cards. The cards come as dividends with the purchase of a one-cent or five-cent package of bubble gum. But the dividend seems to have even more pull than the puff-and-pop stuff.

What the traders want is picture cards—backed with biographical and statistical facts about their heroes—such as the prized examples reproduced on the following pages. (The youngster who can match the pictures printed on this gatefold with cards from his own collection is entitled to be known as an Advanced Collector.)

Naturally the bubble gum manufacturers with large rosters of cooperating baseball stars are doing fine, thank you. (One company alone expects to sell 200,000,000 trading cards, plus bubble gum, this year.) And all this would be pure blue heaven for the manufacturers if it weren't for the sleepless rivalry to sign up the baseball players. As a result, two of the most enterprising gum manufacturers, Haelan Laboratories, Inc. of Philadelphia and Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. of Brooklyn have been deep in injunctions and counterinjunctions since 1951.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, doing the best it can, has figured out so far that Haelan can lay fair claim to at least 388 major leaguers, including Leo Durocher, Roy Campanella, George Kell, Virgil Trucks and the Yankees' Mickey Mantle, one of the few ball players outside the Little League who uses bubble gum in his work (see cut). The court has laid down the law, temporarily and subject to reconsideration when a referee has finished studying the situation, that Topps cannot sell bubble gum "along with any cards bearing the name, likeness, signature and/or biographical description" of the 388. Topps, on the other hand, newer in the field, has been sustained in its claim to 26 ball players. Cards on the following pages which have thus, in effect, been to court are those of Al Rosen, Gus Zernial, Ted Kluszewski, Ray Boone, Hank Sauer, Jim Hegan and Mel Parnell. In addition, Topps has contracts with ball players whose names are not in dispute, or anyhow not yet.

The whole business of who owns whom and how much his trading card is worth is as chewed up as a wad of the product itself. As the year turns, ball players come and go, and with them their usefulness to the traders. A man may start out hot with the White Sox in May and by August be coaching at first base in the Three-Eye League, where his value in the gum market is like that of an old share in the South Sea Bubble. There is the further fact that some ball players are but loosely grounded in the law of contracts and tend to sign what comes along, using their natural quick reflexes and a pen that writes under water if they should happen to be standing under a shower at the time.

"You could walk up to one of these ball players," a lawyer for one of the gum companies observes, "and offer him $50 to sign a contract to commit suicide. He wouldn't read the contract or ask what it required him to do. He'd just grab the pen and sign. Then he'd pick up his glove and run out for fielding practice."

In September, 1950 Wes Westrum, Giants catcher, signed a contract giving Haelan 1951-52 rights to his picture and agreeing not to let it be used with any other make of bubble gum or confections. For this he received a Longines wrist watch. Two days later he signed a similar contract with Players Enterprises, Inc., which represented the Topps people in such matters. About that same time he signed one with the Russell Publishing Co. which subsequently, in an effort to resolve confusions over contracts, joined forces with Players Enterprises. Came the following May and Westrum happily signed another contract with Haelan. He explained that a promised check for $150 from Players Enterprises had not reached him by March, 1951 and so he assumed that his contract with the agency had become void.

"I did not think," he told the fascinated court, "that Players Enterprises was the right type of company or firm to deal with, being that they did not come up with this $150."

Sid Gordon, Pittsburgh outfielder, testified about one of his bubble gum contracts: "The only thing I knew about this contract was that we were guaranteed a minimum of $100."

Meanwhile the trading goes on. Currently a boy with three Alvin Darks will be pleased to trade two of them for one Irv Noren, assuming he has no Norens. Some are loyal only to the American League and will have no truck with National League players. Others collect Baltimore Orioles exclusively. Some want nothing but catchers. And so on.

Some of them even chew the gum, though it is not so popular as it was a few years ago. This practice has led to the promulgation of a new and rigorously enforced rule in Region 5, Section 2, District 5 (South Carolina) of the Little League. The rule says: "Players will be permitted to chew bubble gum on the field, but will not be permitted to blow bubbles."

TOPPS 27
FERRIS ROY FAIN
first base CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Ht: 5'11"
Weight: 180
Bats Left
Throws Left
Home: Walnut Creek, Cal.
Born: March 29, 1922

Although Ferris hit over .300 only twice in his Major League career, he won the A.L. Batting Title both times in 1951-52 with .344 and .327. Ferris came to the Majors in '47 after leading the Pacific Coast League in Runs and RBI's. In '53, he lead the League in Walks and was 2nd in Assists at 1st Base.

INSIDE BASEBALL

One day in '51, Ferris watched same kids play baseball.

When they left they forgot the bat. Fain, in a batting slump took it.

He started using it. That old bat not only ended his slump but helped win the batting crown!

TOPPS 119
JOHN AUGUST ANTONELLI
pitcher NEW YORK GIANTS

Ht.: 6'1½"
Weight: 185
Throws Left
Bats Left
Home: Rochester, New York
Born: April 12, 1930

Johnny won more than twice as many games last year than he did in his past 3 pro seasons combined! After signing as a $65,000 bonus player, he pitched only 4 innings for the Braves in '48 without a decision. Although he didn't have a winning season in '49, Johnny finished with a low 3.56 ERA. A six man deal brings him to the Giants for '54.

INSIDE BASEBALL

During the Spring of '47, Johnny's father took him on a tour of all the major league training camps.

John was such a great prospect that all the clubs wanted him. So his father heard all the offers before allowing John to sign with the Braves!

TOPPS 26
RAYMOND LEO JABLONSKI
3rd base ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Ht.: 5'10"
Weight: 175
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: Chicago, Ill.
Born: December 17, 1926

Ray had a fine freshman year in '53 placing 2nd to Musial in Cardinal RBI's and tying for 2nd in Team Homers. He started his career by hitting .326 and .354 for Milford in 1947-48. Ray led the Carolina league with a .363 mark in '51, and in '52 was named the International League Rookie-of-the-Year.

INSIDE BASEBALL

versatility in '52

Because injuries hit the team Ray filled in at every infield position!

He proved he could hit no matter where he 100 R.B.I.

TOPPS 29
JAMES EDWARD HEGAN
catcher CLEVELAND INDIANS

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 195
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: Lynn, Mass.
Born: August 3, 1920

An Indian regular since 1942, Jim is noted for his ability to handle pitchers. In 1948 and 1949 he led the American League backstops in Putouts and Assists and topped the League in 1951 with a .991 Fielding Average. In 1950 and 1951 he played on the A.L. All-Star Team and caught 6 games in the 1948 World Series.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Jim's one of the top defensive backstops in the game today.

He tied a major league record by making an unassisted double play in '49.

He's also caught 3 no hitters in nine years as an Indian!

TOPPS 102
GILBERT RAY HODGES
first base BROOKLYN DODGERS

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 200
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: Brooklyn, New York
Born: April 4, 1924

Gil had his best year in '53 boosting his '52 Batting Average by 48 points and driving in over 100 runs for the fifth straight season. Converted from a Catcher to a First Baseman in '48 Gil hit .285 in '49, belting 23 Homers. With 32 round trippers in '50 and 40 in '51, he became one of the games' best long ball hitters.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Gil was in a bad slump until May '51 averaging less than 1 RBI every 4 games.

But suddenly he found the range, driving in 1 Run per game and hitting .325 for the last 113 games of the season.

TOPPS 70
LAWRENCE EUGENE DOBY
outfield CLEVELAND INDIANS

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 182
Bats Left
Throws Right
Home: Paterson, N.J.
Born: December 13, 1924

One of the Game's top long-ball hitters, Larry ranked 3rd in the A.L. in Homers last year. In '52, he paced the A.L. with 32 round trippers and 104 Runs. Larry broke in with Cleveland in '47 and hit .301 in '48. The next year he hit 24 Home Runs and batted .280. 1950 was a great year for Larry as he hit .326, batted in 102 Runs and had 25 HR's.

INSIDE BASEBALL

In addition to his ability to hit a long ball, Larry

Much of the spe

TOPPS 1
THEODORE SAMUEL WILLIAMS
outfield BOSTON RED S

Height: 6'3"
Weight: 205
Bats Left
Throws Right
Home: So. Miami, Fla.
Born: October 30, 1918

Ted is one of the greatest hitters of all time! In '41, he .406, the only time any Big Leaguer hit over .400 since 1 . He led the A.L. in Homers in 1941-42-47-49. Named Valuable Player in '46 and '49, Ted starred in 9 games, hitting .407. He has the highest Lifetime B.A. active player.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Ted has always been a hero, on the diamond or off.

At 35 he was back in the Marines to fly in Korea. He was in service for 14 months.

He returned to baseball and one of his first appearances towering home run!

TOPPS 24
GRANVILLE WILBUR HAMNER
second base PHILADELPHIA

Ht.: 5'10"
Weight: 163
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: Richmond, Va.
Born: April 26, 1927

"Granny" led the Phils in Doubles last year, placing 2nd Team Homers, RBI's and Total Bases. His B.A. was the of his Major League career. In '49 he led N.L. Shortstop Assists and tied a record for playing 157 games in 1 Collecting 6 hits, "Granny" boasted a .429 mark in the World Series.

INSIDE BASEBALL

After becoming shortstop at 18, Granny made many errors.

He was laughed off the field. Angry and insulted, he wanted to quit.

But a friendly coach made him k trying. He improved steadily and '49 led the league in D.P.s.

TOPPS 40
MELVIN LLOYD PARNELL
pitcher BOSTON RED

Height: 6'
Weight: 180
Throws Left
Bats Left
Home: New Orleans, La.
Born: June 13, 1922

After splitting 24 decisions in 1952, Mel regained his form last year to lead American League lefties in Ga Won! He was 4th in Strikeouts and registered 5 Shuto 3 of them 4-hitters. Mel's best year was 1949 when topped the League with 25 wins and had a 2.78 Ear Run Average.

INSIDE BASEBALL

V noticed Mel

He met Mel at the ball park and suggested he use a side-

Mel tried the pitch and it helped him become one of the AL's 4 twenty-game

Home: Santa
Born: October 13, 1931

he a N.L. home. Breaking in 49. Eddie played with Atlanta in 1950-51 and joined the Braves in '52.

INSIDE BASEBALL

In '52 Spring training, Ed showed he could hit.

But he wanted to prove he was a good fielder. One day he chased a pop up—

It went near the seats. Ed tried for it and landed in the lap of Ford Frick—BB Commissioner!

TOPPS 32
EDWIN DONALD SNIDER
outfield BROOKLYN DODGERS

Height: 6'
Weight: 185
Bats Left
Throws Right
Home: Lynwood, Calif.
Born: September 19, 1926

"Duke was one of the big reasons the Dodgers won the N.L. Pennant in '53. He was the League's top Slugger (.626), led in Runs Scored, Total Bases (370) and set a Dodger record for the Most Homers in 1 season. "Duke" poled at least 1 circuit smash in each N.L. Stadium and hit .320 in the 1953 World Series.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Like most ballplayers, Duke is superstitious!

He feels that the old practice swing brings him good luck and is responsible for his great hitting in 1953!

TOPPS 85
ROBERT LEE TURLEY
pitcher BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 215
Throws Right
Bats Right
Home: Troy, Illinois
Born: September 19, 1930

Bob joined the Browns late in '53 after his discharge from the Army. The powerful fastballer started with Belleville in '48 with a 9-3 mark and at Aberdeen in '49 he won 23 games recording 205 Strikeouts. After winning 20 games with 200 Strikeouts at San Antonio, Bob was called up by the Browns and pitched 1 game in '51.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Bob wouldn't sign with the Yanks because he lives in St. Louis.

He wanted to be closer to home so he became a St. Louis Brown.

But the Browns moved to Baltimore and Bob now is as far away from home as he would have been as a Yank!

TOPPS 45

Weight: 170
Bats Left
Throws Right
Home: Tilden, Nebraska
Born: March 19, 1927

Richie had a banner year in the National League in Hits and finishing with the 6th highest BA. For the 5th straight season, he paced the League's flychasers in Putouts. In 1948 Richie entered the Majors and hit .333, winning the Rookie-of-the-Year Award. In 1951 he batted .344 with 221 safeties.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Richie broke into baseball as a catcher in 1945.

When they discovered his blazing speed Ashburn was made an outfielder.

And in '49, his 1st year as a Phil he led the league in stolen bases swiping thirty-two sacks!

TOPPS 100
ROBERT CHARLES KEEGAN
pitcher CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Ht.: 6'2½"
Weight: 207
Throws Right
Bats Right
Home: Rochester, New York
Born: August 4, 1922

Big and fast, Bob finished his rookie year in the Majors in '53 with 3 brilliant wins, 2 of them 4-hit shutouts, and had the 2nd best ERA on the Sox staff. At Syracuse in 1952, he was the International League's ranking hurler with a 20-11 record, 111 Strikeouts and a 2.64 ERA, pitching 27 Complete Games. Bob had a 13-9 mark at Syracuse in 1951.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Bob was signed by the Yanks as an infielder while in college.

When a N.Y. scout saw him pitch in a semi pro game they made him a hurler!

And Bob, who never pitched in college, is one of the League's top young righthanders!

TOPPS 6
JAMES EDWARD RUNNELS
shortstop WASH. SENATORS

Height: 6'
Weight: 170
Bats Left
Throws Right
Home: Lufkin, Texas
Born: January 28, 1928

"Pete" is now in his 3rd season as the Senators' regular shortstop. Beginning his organized baseball career with Chickasha in '49, he hit .372. The next year "Pete" had a .330 mark for Texarkana. Before Washington brought him up in the middle of the '51 season, he was hitting .356 for Chattanooga.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Although Pete is not a slugger he was the Senators cleanup hitter in 1953.

That year he was the team's leading batter despite the fact he hit only 1 home run!

TOPPS 25

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 185
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: Milwaukee, Wisc.
Born: December 4, 1930

Harv won the Rookie-of-the-Year Award his terrific hitting when he set a new A. at Bat and led the League in Hits. Sig bonus while at Wisconsin U. Harvey hit .3 '52, his 1st pro year, and came to the Tig batting .325 in 19 games.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Harvey received $55,000 for signing a Detroit contract!!

Some 'experts didn't think he could make the grade. But Harvey did, and how!

In '53 he was the best hitting she stop in the majors and led he leagues in putouts!

TOPPS 10
JACK ROOSEVELT ROBINSON
outfield BROOKLYN DODGERS

Ht.: 5'11¾"
Weight: 205
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: St. Albans, N.Y.
Born: January 31, 1919

Playing both the Infield and Outfield, Jackie hit over for the 5th straight year. With the Dodgers in '47 he the N.L. Rookie-of-the-Year and was the Most Valuable Player in '49, leading the loop with a .342 BA. Jackie set the mark for Fielding at 2nd Base with .992 and Double (137) in '51.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Jack is well known as one of baseball's top performers.

He is also known as the head of the National Broadcasting Co.'s munity activities, where he helps youngsters of all creeds.

TOPPS 4
HENRY JOHN SAUER
outfield CHICAGO C

Height: 6'4"
Weight: 200
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: Inglewood, Cal.
Born: March 17, 1919

A fractured hand kept Hank from playing the entire '53 son. In '52, he was voted the N.L.'s Most Valuable blasting 37 Homers and leading the League with 12 Hank started in '37 and was up with Cincy 3 times joining the Cubs in '49. Since then he's averaged 30 Runs per year.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Hank was the fans' choice for the 1950 All Star game.

The N.L. Mgr. didn't want to use him. Disturbed by this, Hank went 0 for 2.

But in '52 Hank silenced his criti by smashing a 2 run HR beating th Al Stars 3-2!

TOPPS 15
ALBERT LEONARD ROSEN
third base CLEVELAND INDIANS

Ht.: 5'10"
Weight: 180
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: Miami Beach, Fla.
Born: March 1, 1925

Al had his greatest year in '53 winning the A.L. Home Run Crown, Runs Batted In, Runs Scored and Total Bases Titles. For his great performance he was named the Most Valuable Player in the A.L. by a record unanimous vote! "Flip" is the 9th player to ever top the League in RBI's two years in a row.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Al hit 37 HR's in '50, so the next year he swung for the fences!

The result? Only 24 HR's and 265 average. After that, Al decided just to meet the ball.

And how he met it! In '53 Al had his highest B.A. and topped his former HR total!

TOPPS 2
GUS EDWARD ZERNIAL
outfield PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS

Ht.: 6'2½"
Weight: 205
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: Inglewood, Calif.
Born: June 27, 1923

"Ozark Ike" had his best year in 1953, placing 2nd in the American League in Homers, Slugging (.559) and driving in 100 or more runs for the 3rd straight season. Gus came to the Athletics via a 3-way trade with Chicago in 1951 and that year he led the American League in Home Runs (33) and Runs Batted In (129).

INSIDE BASEBALL

In '48 Gus dove for a low liner landing on his shoulder.

He writhed in pain. The shoulder was cracked. Doctors said he would never play again!

But Gus wouldn't quit! He returned to action late that season and has averaged 33 HRS per year since '49!

TOPPS 90
WILLIAM HOWARD MAYS, JR.
outfield NEW YORK GIANTS

Ht.: 5'10½"
Weight: 175
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: Fairfield, Alabama
Born: May 6, 1931

Willie rejoins the Giants this season after 2 years in the Army. Before coming to New York, he played only 1 full season of Minor League Ball. With Trenton in '50 Willie hit .353 in 81 games and batted .477 in 35 contests at Minneapolis the next year! Brought up by the Giants in '51, he was the Sporting News N.L. Rookie-of-the-Year.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Willie made one of the greatest plays in Giant History on Aug. 15, '51.

With the score tied and men on 1st and 3rd, he raced far to his left—

caught a low liner in the webbing of his glove, made a complete turn and threw out the runner trying to score.

TOPPS 137
WALLACE WADE MOON
outfield ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Height: 6'
Weight: 175
Bats Left
Throws Right
Home: Trumann, Arkansas
Born: April 3, 1930

Wally, who had the benefit of spring training for the first time last season, led International League Outfielders in Fielding, ranked 3rd in Stolen Bases (14) and 10th in Batting. During his first 3 seasons in pro ball, all at Omaha, he remained at Texas A & M until June to work on his college degree. Wally hit 315 in his rookie '50 season and 255 in '52.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Wally didn't think he was ready for class A ball in 1950—but in 4 years he made the majors!

Wally attended Texas A & M college, playing pro ball when the school semester ended in spring!

TOPPS 235
VERNON SANDERS LAW
pitcher PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Height: 6'3"
Weight: 200
Throws Right
Bats Right
Home: Meridian, Idaho
Born: March 12, 1930

Vern returns from 2 years of Army Service to resume his promising pitching career. He was known as the "hard-luck" pitcher of the N.L. when he compiled a 7-9 record in '50 and 6-9 in '51. Vern came to the Pirates in mid-1950 after a 6-4 record and 2.67 ERA at New Orleans. In '49 he was 5-11 at Davenport but had a 2.94 ERA and Struck Out 123 batters.

INSIDE BASEBALL

A great scholastic athlete, Law won 12 letters in high school!

A number of Major League teams tried to sign the young pitcher!

A Bing Crosby fan, he signed with the Pirates after a phone call from Bing, Pirate's vice president!

TOPPS 34
MANUEL JOSEPH RIVERA
outfield CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Height: 6'
Weight: 196
Bats Left
Throws Left
Home: Bronx, N.Y.
Born: July 22, 1923

Jim is one of baseball's top speedsters, placing 2nd in the A.L. in Stolen Bases for the past 2 years. Covering plenty of ground in the outfield, Jim was 3rd in Putouts and tied for 3rd in Assists in '53. After breaking into pro ball in '49, he compiled a .341 Minor League average before making the Majors in '52.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Jim is one of the fastest men in baseball today.

Last year he stole 22 bases and led the league with 16 triples.

TOPPS 9
HARVEY HADDIX, JR.
pitcher ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Height: 5'9"
Weight: 170
Throws Left
Bats Left
Home: So. Vienna, Ohio
Born: September 18, 1925

After a 2-2 record in '52 "Kitten" proved to be one N.L.'s top hurlers in '53 when he led in Shutouts (6), a pair of 2-hitters and ranked 4th in ERA. Harv spent with Columbus winning 11 in '48 and 13 in '49. In topped the American Assn. with 18 victories and spe '51 season in the Service.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Harvey pitched a no hit game for Winston Salem in '47.

A Cardinal scout went to see him play. But Harvey had 104 temperature.

It was a chance of a lifetime s spite his fever Harvey pitched won—a one hitter!!

TOPPS 7
THEODORE BERNARD KLUSZEWSKI
1st base CINC. RED

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 225
Bats Left
Throws Left
Home: Cincinnati, Ohio
Born: September 10, 1924

Last season "Big Klu" led the N.L. 1st Basemen in F for the 3rd straight year. He set a Cincy record for in 1 season and finished 6th in N.L. Slugging (.570). coming to the Redlegs in '48, he led the Sally League .352 in '46 and in '47 topped the Southern Association a .377 mark.

INSIDE BASEBALL

To improve his 1951 BA, Ted's wife took movies of his swing.

At home Ted studied the films and found what mistakes he made.

The next year "Klu" not only rected those mistakes but jun his average from .259 to .320!

TOPPS 77
RAYMOND OTIS BOONE
third base DETROIT TI

Height: 6'
Weight: 180
Bats Right
Throws Right
Home: San Diego, California
Born: July 27, 1923

Leading the Tigers in Homers, Ray hit more round tr in '53 than in his 3 previous seasons combined! Breaking pro ball with Wausau in '42, he hit .306 and spent the three years in Service. In 87 games with Oklahoma '48, Ray batted .355 and joined the Indians that season Cleveland in '50 he hit .301.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Ray was hitting .241 when Cleveland traded him to Detroit in '53.

With his new team, Ray began to hit and batted .312 in 101 games.

He also proved to be one of the b clutch hitters by belting 4 hom with bases loaded last season.

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PHOTO

BUBBLE GUM CONSUMER MICKEY MANTLE AT WORK

TWENTY SEVEN PHOTOS

TWENTY SEVEN ILLUSTRATIONS

SEVENTY THREE ILLUSTRATIONS

©T.C.G. Printed in U.S.A.

(next week—THE YANKEES)
TRADING CARD COLLECTORS' ITEMS (FOLD OUT)