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Go Back   Net54baseball.com Forums > Net54baseball Postwar Sportscard Forums > Postwar Baseball Cards Forum (Pre-1980)

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  #1  
Old 02-07-2019, 06:26 PM
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Albert Bee
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Default 1960s Topps MLB Union fighting

interesting old story
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2019, 06:30 PM
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Default Topps MLB

The story goes Topps was being extremely cheap with the players in the mid 60s... Marvin Miller played hard ball and forced Topps to pony up more money.

Can some math major calculate - based on Topps Profits in 1968....with packs of cards being 10 cents....how many cards they sold ( yes..its also non sports, and bazooka gum, etc.. )

I estimate 10 million baseball cards produced
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2019, 06:42 PM
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I find it amusing that Topps paid players a whole 5 bucks ! when they were in the minors...and a whole $125 it they made it....the massive amount of money they made using player images for about 15 yrs !..
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2019, 07:25 PM
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No doubt Topps was being cheap in 1968-69. The evidence is in the old photos the company continued to use. By the late '60s, it seemed like half the cards are just head shots without caps, or head shots with caps that have had the logo blacked out because the player was traded. You can find many photos that were used years after they were taken. Most photos are taken in East Coast cities — Topps never even bothered to visit many of the ballparks.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:23 PM
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I know this thread is about the 60,s but as a Young Mets Fan in 1972 I went all over Long Island trying to find the elusive Rusty Staub card in a Mets uniform. I guess I was to stupid to realize Singleton, Foli and Jorgenson were on Mets cards but no Rusty. At least I got one of the coolest cards of the childhood the 1972 Topps Expos Team card with the batting leaders on the back. Every category from AB's,hits,doubles,triples,HR's RBIetc has Staub listed. If you look at the back of the card it looks cool and will probably never be duplicated again especially for a team 3 years into existence.
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  #6  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:50 AM
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Default topps union

Also read during the late 60s early 70s MLB Union struggles , Marvin Miller told the players to play " hard ball " with Topps and don't sign anything or agree to photos.


This was that period when we seem to saw a load of " no team logo " stuff , because the owners also played " hard " and would not allow team names on stuff

I understand the late 60s Coke bottle caps had to get a last minute -air brush, to erase the team logos
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:07 PM
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There was a time in the 50's when the Yankees players got double the $125 rate. They were selling 250 Million cards a year roughly, if their PR is to be believed. They never made a ton back in the day, they had tight margins and moreso after buying out the Fleer Baseball contracts for $395K in '66. They weren't hurting but the bigger profits came in the 80's.

Last edited by toppcat; 02-08-2019 at 06:13 PM.
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  #8  
Old 02-08-2019, 07:14 PM
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Default topps

I read were they sometimes gave players a sets of cards as " payment ".....I guess back then most guys would rather had had the 100 bucks or so
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  #9  
Old 02-09-2019, 09:42 AM
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That actually seems quite high.

All of the contracts I have seen in the 80s and 90s were well under 100 per year and not even real money. They sent the players a catalog with things such as televisions and toasters and they could use the "money" to order from it. So essentially they were paid in green stamps during the absolute peak card boom.

Here is a scan of John Cangelosi's extension showing the catalog language from eBay.
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:36 AM
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Default topps

wow, that's pretty cool...Im thinking with the blank spot for yrs, length of contract and money.... those figures would be filled in a bit higher for Nolan Ryan,Pete Rose, etc..
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  #11  
Old 02-10-2019, 09:17 PM
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All I have seen are at the standard 75 across the board, but it's possible.

I can't find Ryan or an 80s rose, but there is a 71 rose contract online and its the same 75 that sy berger did for years.

It wasn't until the late 90s that players started really trying for more. I think that most players see them as a business card that builds their fan base and make the real money on appearances and memorabilia
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:27 PM
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Basically, Miller went to Berger to renegotiate, Berger said "you have no muscle", so Miller convinced the players not to sign with Topps, and Berger called back and said "I see your muscle, let's talk."

Read Miller's autobiography; absolutely fascinating look at the business behind the game, and some choice smack talking about Bowie Kuhn, Charlie O, and some of the other characters in management.
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  #13  
Old 02-10-2019, 11:38 PM
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Also read “Mint Condition” by Jamieson. Whole chapter devoted to this.

The key here is Marvin Miller battled Topps for several reasons. Yeah, he got the players some extra money and made a progressive and visionary deal to make the union self funding, which was important as it had little/no resources. He also got language into the contract that gave the union rights to bargain all collective deals for the players, but the biggest thing was he proved to the players the union could get things done for them. He gained their trust in the process. Remember he came from steelworkers union with an economics background and was a relative outsider. This deal built the foundation for him to gain the juice to take on the league on major issues (obviously free agency being one of the biggest.) It’s an absolute master class in trade unionism. Miller remains a huge hero to those of in the labor world.

Last edited by swabie2424; 02-10-2019 at 11:45 PM.
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  #14  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:15 PM
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Default MLB Union

I found it interesting that during this era..being a player rep was a bit of a dangerous job...Owners and Mgmnt hated you

You'd had better be a pretty good player or a respected veteran - I saw names like Torre, Bunning, McCarver, R.Roberts, ...and even some of these guys were traded out of - " " tired of this guys rebel rousing" or " unload this troublemaker"
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