Matt Podolsky

Author Archives: Matt Podolsky

I'm a documentary filmmaker who recently unearthed my childhood baseball card collection. I'm a big Red Sox fan and particularly interested in exploring how baseball history is a reflection of American history.

MLB Lockout, Baseball Cards, And Heroes Of Player’s Union

MLB Lockout, Baseball Cards, And Heroes Of Player’s Union

Major League Baseball Is Broken. Shall We Count The Ways? 

The most obvious is the current owner-imposed lockout. The debate between franchise owners and the players union boils down to this. 

Owners want to make more money, and players want more fairness - both for the players and the game itself.

The owners want permission to advertise on players’ jerseys, and they want to expand the playoffs.

The players union hopes to address a decline in the player salaries, despite big increases in broadcast revenue for owners.

The median player salary is $1.2 million, and the MLB minimum salary is $570,000. 

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Celebrating The First Female MLB Player (Toni Stone Baseball Cards)

toni-stone-dreams-fulfilledNot one but three women have played Major League Baseball.

I was a baseball fanatic as a kid. I obsessed over my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox.

I attended countless games at Fenway, collected baseball cards, and sought their autographs.

The Ken Burns Baseball VHS box set provided my baseball history lessons.

And yet I was unaware of the three women who integrated a professional sports league.

Three amazing women who would later compete with their male counterparts on an equal playing field.

So, how could this enormous accomplishment not be a more recognized part of baseball history?

In this article, I seek to explore answers to these questions. I also discuss the limited number of baseball cards representing these amazing women.
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Integration, Baseball Cards & The 1948 World Series

doby-exhibitsMajor League Baseball was in the throes of integration during the 1948 season. Throughout the 1947 season, all eyes were on Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

After Robinson’s standout performance took the Dodgers to the World Series that year, many sportswriters and pundits predicted that there would be a flood of black players into the league.

This did not come to pass, as most white team owners and many white players continued to harbor racist beliefs and attitudes.

While not a flood, there was a trickle of black players entering the league. Although the vast majority of the attention in 1947 went to Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers, the Cleveland Indians also integrated their team that same year.

But while Robinson excelled in his first season with the Dodgers, Larry Doby struggled at the plate and didn’t get the playing time to prove himself adequately.

Despite being partially attributable to poor management, Doby’s disappointing performance provided fuel for racist detractors of baseball’s integration. 

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1959 World Series Cards: Building A Collection & Jewish Players

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The 1959 World Series was one of the most historic matchups in the history of baseball.

And not only for the competitive matchup but for the significance from a cultural perspective. 

The 1959 series featured the first Jewish World Series MVP, the first Jewish battery, and a key turning point for one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

In this piece, I dive into the cards issued throughout the years that commemorate the 1959 World Series. 

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Collecting The World Series Cards Of The Boston Red Sox

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If you’re a baseball fan, you probably have memories of watching your favorite team battling to make the playoffs, or if you’re lucky, seeing them win the World Series. 

I’m a Red Sox fan who grew up in the ‘90s watching the team disappoint in the playoffs year after year.

I was steeped in the Red Sox folklore associated with the Curse of the Bambino, and as frustrated as I would get watching the team fail in the playoffs year after year, I reveled in the rich history of the franchise. 

I pored over books and documentaries detailing the handful of World Series appearances made by the Red Sox after trading the Babe in 1918 and loved the drama behind each near miss.

So when I pulled out my old baseball card collection this past year, I found all those players from the ‘67, ‘75, and ‘86 teams that came so close to winning it all – Carl Yastremski, Rico Petrocelli, Jim Longborg, George Scott, Tony Conigliaro, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Louis Tiant, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, and Dwight Evans. 

As I uncovered these treasures, I envisioned displaying some of my favorite cards.  But first, I had to fill in the gaps.

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