In 1952, the modern baseball card was born. Mega stars like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson would replace Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig as the game's biggest names.
1952 Topps - Willie Mays
It was Sy Berger who in 1952 developed that first "modern baseball card," complete with player image, team logo, vital statistics, and full playing record. The 1952 Topps (see above) would go on to revolutionize the hobby. Containing 407 cards, Topps' first regular-issue set was the largest to date. Card #311 features Mickey Mantle's rookie and is worth tens of thousand of dollars. To this day Topps continues to be a leader in the baseball card hobby. These first-year cards are expensive. A common in good condition could set you back as much as $20. Bowman would continue to compete with Topps for the attention of millions of kids, and their money.
1954 Red Heart Dog Food - Alvin Dark
Again, baseball card production was not limited to gum companies. In 1954 a dog food company would get into the act. The 1954 Red Heart Dog Food (see above) set consisted of 33 cards and is quite obscure. Cards can be had for about 10 bucks but are hard to find.
1955 Bowman - Willie Mays
Bowman would issue it's final set in 1955. Playing off the popularity of the new color television, players were depicted in them . The 1955 Bowman (see above) was Bowman's only venture into horizontal cards. Cards are fairly inexpensive depending on player and condition. Topps would become the hobby's only major producer of cards until 1981.
1962 Post Cereal - Roger Maris
In 1961, Post Cereal produced their first set with 200 cards. Cards were cut from boxes or obtained from Post. The 1962 Post (see above) included a card of new home run king Roger Maris. Post would produce their final set in 1963. Prices vary depending on condition.