SABR review of baseball card books

Several years ago Arthur Zillante reviewed a few baseball books for SABR’s Baseball Research Journal.  You can read his review here.  Feel free to “comment” about these books and others.

– Mark


Author: Mark Armour

Long-time SABR member, founder and past chairman of the Baseball Cards Committee, founder and past chairman (2002-2016) of the Biography Project, current President of the SABR board of directors, author of several books and dozens of articles on baseball. See

5 thoughts on “SABR review of baseball card books”

  1. For some reason I’ve never read any books about baseball cards EXCEPT the one great one. I would love for someone to write a compelling history of Topps, though. Would definitely read that!


  2. That’s a fun piece–thanks for reviving it. I’ve read all but the T206 book, and that one known but haven’t gotten to yet. The last book listed, from 1997, really is an academic sociological study that happens to focus on baseball card collectors. I was a poor (law) student when I read that and I will admit that I read it one afternoon at a Barnes & Noble cafe rather than buying it. Anyway, it was fascinating but my least favorite of the three in a way. There were (IIRC) a lot of assumptions drawn about collectors. We are mostly white and male (probably true), we have an obsession with completing things (possibly true), and we are more comfortable with objects than with people (not true for me–but I can get lost in my card collection, so maybe that is just relative to others).

    Cardboard Gods was great and it really made me want to write my own book through baseball cards. What initially attracted me was the cover, which is based on a 1977 Topps pack (my first year really collecting).

    Mint Condition is the best book written in terms of teaching about the history of baseball cards. A lot has changed since that book was written, including Bill Mastro (one of the “stars” of the book) being sentenced to 20 months in prison for fraud. It’s still an excellent book, and reading the review makes me want to read it again. Jefferson Bursick for the Hall of Fame!


  3. I would echo steveinphilly’s praise of Mint Condition. An excellent, well researched book. I’d also add a plug for Kevin Glew, who nowadays writes most of the articles focusing on a different series of cards for PSA’s Sports Market Report. He is a SABR member (or has been), an expert on Canadian baseball and, I hope, a member of this group. His pieces include comments from the top collectors of each series and provide real insights into what attracts them to the particular cards. (full disclosure: He quoted me a while back)


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