The Golden Age of Baseball Cards™

...its influence on society and the game

 

Baseball Card Hall of Fame™

The new Baseball Card Hall of Fame has been a work in progress for a long time and will continue to be such.  Baseball Cards will be inducted at regular intervals, and articles and pictures will support each card inducted into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame.

Bob FellerThe new Baseball Card Hall of Fame will take much of the subjectivity out of the analysis and create a Hall of Fame based on input from YOU, the baseball card enthusiast, who scour the Web for interesting pictures, articles and available alternatives for buying and selling baseball cards.

The method for choosing which card is inducted into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame is comprised of various formulae applied to the results of multiple search queries.  So, you, the Web user now provide the largest part of the input into which cards make it into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame. Months of research, analysis and reasonableness testing have gone into the algorithms used to determine the ranking of specific cards. The Beckett Baseball Card Price Guide is no longer a part of the calculation.

We will limit the number of cards for a specific player that can be inducted into the Hall of Fame to one, single card per player.  Other cards of note for that player will be referenced in related articles about each Hall of Fame card and player.

In the past we have emphasized the importance of art in baseball cards and created a Baseball Card Hall of Fame based on related assumptions. This previous model has its merits and has been transferred to the Baseball Card Gallery of Art. The cards that differ from those in the new Baseball Card Hall of Fame have been grandfathered into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame and will remain a part of it. Artistic cards may be added to the Baseball Card Gallery of Art in the future.

So, welcome to the Baseball Card Hall of Fame and enjoy your visit to the past.

Inductees into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame™

The cards are listed in the order of their ranking for induction the Baseball Card Hall of Fame.

1952 Topps Red Schoendienst
1952 Red Schoendienst #091
1966 Topps Tony Perez #072
1966 Tony Perez #072

Honorary Inductees into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame

Honorary Inductees into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame represent the cards of individuals who have played a significant role in or made a significant contribution to baseball card collecting.

Sy Berger - Father of the Modern Day Baseball Card

Sy Berger was the first honorary inductee into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame on October 24, 2008.  His card meets none of the criteria for induction into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame.  He was not a player, manager or baseball executive.  But, without the efforts of Sy Berger there would not be a Baseball Card Hall of Fame website and there would not be baseball card collecting as we have known it since the 1950s.
 
Sy Berger is responsible for the design of the Topps 1952 Picture Card set which marks the beginning of baseball card collecting as we know it today.  His enthusiasm for the game, his association with the players and his insight into what would appeal to the card collectors in 1952 literally changed the face of baseball cards from then on.  He transformed the typical baseball card into an encyclopedia of baseball information for the kids of the USA.

He worked for Topps for 50 years and is considered the Father of the Modern Day Baseball Card.

For a comprehensive interview with Sy Berger, check out this issue of Sports Collectors Digest.

 

Honus Wagner T206 - The Mona Lisa of Baseball Cards

While the first inductee into the Golden Age of Baseball Cards Hall of Fame may have been a surprise, the second is certainly not. On May 18, 2009, we inducted the iconic baseball card of Honus Wagner (T206) from 1909, considered the Mona Lisa of baseball cards.  This card has few of the requisite conditions for normal entry into the Golden Age of Baseball Card Hall of Fame, but it is important to baseball card collecting because it legitimized the hobby.  It established the premise that if a baseball card had certain qualities it could become valuable.

No one is sure why the Honus Wagner card has the value it does.  The sale of the card over the years has established its market value. Recently, in 2007, it sold for $2.8 million.  It may be because there are relatively few of the cards in existence, and only 10 of decent quality.  It is suggested that Wagner opposed the exposure of children to cigarette smoking, and had his cards taken out of production, even though he did chew tobacco and supported other tobacco products. Folklore has added to the mystery of the card, which has retained its place over the decades as the most valuable baseball card in existence.

 

Who's In and Who's Out

Baseball Hall of FameAs the process played itself out, the cards selected for the Baseball Card Hall of Fame matched closely those players who actually were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  When you stop to think about it that makes a good deal of sense.  Excellent players are generally more popular with fans and baseball cards of those players, likewise, are the most popular.

What then becomes particularly interesting is which cards make it into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame for those players who did not achieve the honor of being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and vice versa, which players have been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but whose baseball card did not achieve the distinction of being voted into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame.

Who's In

Roger Maris

The first such card is that of Roger Maris, which is ranked 15th of all cards from the Golden Age of Baseball Cards and rightly has a place in the Baseball Card Hall of Fame for Maris's accomplishments during that period.  In the same manner it is fully understandable why Maris was not elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, since his career statistics probably did not warrant it.

Gil Hodges

The second card is that of Gil Hodges, which is ranked 28th of all cards from the Golden Age of Baseball Cards. Hodges deserves a place in this Hall of Fame because of his record over 18 years in the Majors. He comes up a little short without more than 2,000 hits and his lifetime .273 batting average make it difficult for him to be included in the real Baseball Hall of Fame, though many will argue that he belongs there also.

Billy Martin

The third card is that of Billy Martin, which is ranked 37th of all cards from the Golden Age of Baseball Cards. Billy Martin was one of the most fiery players of the Golden Age. His stats do not merit Hall of Fame status and his managerial career, while stormy as well, does not merit Hall of Fame status. He does, however, represent another iconic player of the time.

Tony Oliva

The fourth card is that of Tony Oliva, which is ranked 45th. With three batting titles and a lifetime .304 average Oliva should have considerable consideration, but with a career shortened by injuries and his inability to get to the 2000 hit mark, there are good arguments for either case. He still has a chance. Time will tell for Tony.

I will not tell you in advance which player's cards have made it into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame even though the player has not been elected to the Hall of Fame.  But, I think it's fair to discuss a few of those players whose cards surprisingly, or not, did not make it into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame.

Who's Out

Jackie Robinson

One player who did not make the Baseball Card Hall of Fame is Jackie Robinson.  It was surprising not to see enough interest in his cards to get one of them into the new Hall of Fame.  He did make our Gallery of Art based partially on the value of his cards and the aesthetic value of the cards. Why the lack of interest at the time of the compilation is not known.  We will see if that changes as new evaluations are done.

Pete Rose

Another player whose cards did not make it was more of the infamous variety.  Pete Rose as a player deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  For his actions off the diamond he has not received the support necessary to be elected.  In like manner, there is very little interest in his baseball cards, even though his rookie card of 1963 has significant value.  The value of this card is based somewhat on its rarity since it is a composite of four players.  It is still surprising that the scores for his cards in general were nowhere near close enough to qualify for the Baseball Card Hall of Fame.

We will continue to discuss those elections that are surprising, but except for a very few, the results make a good deal of sense.