For decades, sports fans have been enamored by the furthest thing from an actual sport: inanimate images of players on a paperboard cutout. Trading cards have become a huge part of the sports memorabilia industry. Did you know that some of the most brilliant minds in history have also had their likeness printed on trading cards?
Before Wikipedia and Baseball Reference, sports fans raced to the store to collect cards filled with statistics on their favorite players. The last thing you would expect to find in your box of Topps cards is the mustachioed face of Albert Einstein. Alas, the Topps “Look N See” special deck of trading cards in 1952 not only includes the notorious physicist but also Alexander Hamilton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Galileo, and William Shakespeare. The special collection of cards included 135 cards and was one of the first non-sports collections from Topps.
Susan Lulgjuraj from Topps said, “Trading cards have been a way for people to connect with sports, entertainment and pop culture. It’s also a great way to record moments and celebrities from throughout history. So it’s been neat looking back through Topps’ archives to see the types of sets created and those that resonated with collectors.”
Sports trading cards were first printed around the time that baseball became a professional sport. Cards would generally come in packs of gum or cigarettes. The most infamous trading card of all, the Honus Wagner T206, was printed during this era. For some people, the cards became a common family interest, passing down boxes or binders of cards for generations. If you get the right card, you could be an overnight millionaire.
Just like the sports cards, the Look N See cards can also fetch a nice sum. They occasionally pop up at sports memorabilia shows. One auction house worker claimed that the cards can sometimes go for $500 each and that a whole set could cost thousands of dollars.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame Will Not Have Any New Inductees in 2021
In a rare turn of events, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will not have any new inductees in 2021. This has happened for the first time since 1960 and only the seventh time since the first elections were held back in 1936. Still, there is yet a chance for some of the MLB players to enter the Hall of Fame later this summer.
None of the 25 MLB Players Reached the 75% Voting Threshold to Enter the Hall of Fame
While none of the MLB players managed to get 75% of the vote for the Hall of Fame, some were quite close. Starting pitcher Curt Schilling came closest with 71%, getting just sixteen votes shy of an admission. He then asked the Hall of Fame to remove him from next year’s vote. The next induction day is scheduled for July 25.
Experts Say Curt Schilling’s Inflammatory Social Media Rhetoric Affected the Vote
While Schilling had a very compelling case for entering the Hall of Fame, it seems his history of posting intolerant comments on social media cost him some votes, and ultimately, the spot. The MLB star responded with a letter to the Hall of Fame officials, declaring that he will not participate in the 2022 vote. Schilling also released the letter to the public, noting that he had often stated he was not Hall of Fame material but would accept such an honor if former players thought he was.
The votes for Schilling have steadily increased over the years, rising from 51% in 2018 to almost 61% in 2019 and 70% in 2020. Despite that, he gained just four new votes this year and was not elected. This is the ninth time the Baseball Writers’ Association of America did not elect players to enter the Hall of Fame. Previous years with such an outcome were 1945, 1950, 1958, 1960, 1965, 1971, 1996, and 2013. Still, the BBWAA elected some twenty-two players from 2014 to 2020. Other players who got a big percentage of the vote were Scott Rolen with 52.9%, Todd Helton with 44.9%, Billy Wagner with 46.4%, and Gary Sheffield with 40.6%.