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.
Baseball Cards Of The Players That Shaped Toni Stone’s Career
In a previous article, I wrote about Toni Stone, the first female MLB player.
Stone played in the Negro Leagues with the Indianapolis Clowns in 1953, and the Kansas City Monarchs in 1954.
Here, I will dive deeper into her story, exploring how she reached her lifelong goal of playing professional baseball at the highest level.
Along the way, I will identify some of the famous ballplayers who lent her a hand.
Much of the information I present here comes from the excellent biography of Toni Stone, “Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone”, by Martha Ackmann.
I’d encourage those interested in Toni Stone’s story to give it a read!
Celebrating The First Female MLB Player (Toni Stone Baseball Cards)
Not 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.
Integration, Baseball Cards & The 1948 World Series
Major 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.
HOF Cards From The Forgotten Yankees & Athletics Rivalry
A History of Basketball Cards
While we already covered the history of baseball cards, we deemed it about time to delve into the world of basketball cards.
The history of basketball cards is quite interesting; notably the first official set wasn’t issued until 1948 by Bowman, even though the first professional league (the National Basketball League) was formed in 1898.
Thus, the path for basketball cards has gone down a bit of a different path versus baseball cards. Basketball didn’t really become a household sport until the late 1940’s even thought it was quite popular at American colleges.
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A History Of Baseball Cards
I’ve been collecting cards for over thirty years now. Until recently I wasn’t really interested in learning about the history of baseball cards.
When I started back in the 80’s, I was more focused on collecting cards of the guys that I watched. Rookie cards of Cal Ripken Jr., Wade Boggs, Eric Davis, Andre Dawson, and Eddie Murray were more my speed.
Sure, I knew of the all-time greats such as Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Robinson, et al, but it didn’t interest me as much as my own heroes.
But as the years moved on, I slowly got this itching desire to learn more about the early days of baseball history and the associated trading cards.
Thus I embarked on a fact-finding mission; to learn as much as humanly possible about where baseball cards got their start.
I consider this a living, breathing document, so if I have anything wrong–please let me know (I’ll fix it!) I would also love to hear any stories you might have regarding early baseball cards. Feel free to share your story in the comments section below!