Baseball Cards - Summary

Boys playing games with balls and sticks can be traced to Tudor England, Russia and Germany, but the true beginnings of “baseball” are shrouded in mystery.

In the early years, teams included both black and white players. When America’s Supreme Court declared that “separate but equal” was an acceptable way to treat African-Americans, however, things changed for black baseball players. “Jim Crow Laws” led to a “color line” which resulted in separate baseball clubs.

“Negro Leagues” continued until Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey (manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers) broke the color barrier in 1947. Twelve more years would pass before all major-league baseball teams were integrated.

Along the way, baseball cards in tobacco-product packages became popular. Although historians are not sure who made the first cards which stiffened a pack of cigarettes, James Buchanan (“Buck”) Duke gets the credit. Those package-insert cards were perfect for advertising, and Allen & Ginter is known as the first company to put baseball cards in tobacco products. Soon thereafter a hobby was born.

In this story behind the sport and the hobby, take a look at pictures from the early days of baseball. Learn when the first professional teams (male and female) were formed. Discover how baseball became America’s favorite pastime and watch a video depicting how the game was played in Canada during 1838. See examples of early advertising and highly valued baseball cards.

Uncover nineteenth-century health concerns about the use of tobacco and learn how cigarette production was mechanized. Find out why a Honus Wagner card - which cost less than a penny when issued - became the most valuable card ever when it sold for a reported $2.35 million in February, 2007.


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016

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"Baseball Cards" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2005. Feb 25, 2020.
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