Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2009 Gummie Awards

If you have not head on over and vote on what you think are the best and worst of the year.

I just have one bone to pick with the votes so far that I see. The voting for the Jefferson Burdick Award for Contributions to the Hobby in particular. You have the choice between Keith Olberman, Mario Alejandro, Stephen Judd and Sy Berger.

For those of you who are not sure who Jefferson Burdick is, he is the father of card collecting. His research in the fields of cards, postcards, valentines and basically everything paper related he could find led to a system for cataloging of cards that we still use today. Jefferson's collection is stored and displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His cataloging helped out the early pioneers of our hobby learn what was out there. If cards were even made. How rare something was in the 1940's. Today we take all this for granted but that was a tough task in the 30's. 40's and 50's.

I my opinion there should be no contest. Sy Berger should have 95% of the votes. In the history of baseball cards he is the Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Nolan Ryan and Johnny Bench all rolled into one. He is the man who made the modern baseball card. He was the designer, back of card writer, idea man, strong armed contract guy signing up everyone he could and finally the champion of selling cards that kids WANTED in the 50's and 60's. Without Sy there would be no 1952 Mantle. Without Sy there would be no 1973 Topps. Without Sy there would be irregular, low budget sets throughout the years since he was the man who convinced the higher ups at Topps Co. best way to sell more gum for the was to add it to baseball card packs.

In the days before ESPN, inter webz and when kids still watched This Week In Baseball and read box scores and even listend to the Reds on transistor radios, Sy was the man who gave those kids the face to go with the stat line in the box score. He showed kids in Louisiana what the uniforms looked like for the Los Angeles Angels. Sy inspired the cool facts on the back of the baseball cards like Mark listens to records on his hi-fi system in the off season. Bob was a pitcher on the California Little League World Championship team in 1972. Dayf believes in getting high on cards and not drugs. I am sure you have a goofy or cool one you have memorized.

Has Olberman done anything as groundbreaking as this? Not even close. He has written some pretty good articles for SCD that helped me fill in some gaps on vintage isues. But he is best known to me for snapping up as many short prints and rarities as he can as fast as he can. Not inspiring kids to collect or learn.

Mario definitely had a big influence in 2009. But outside of constantly telling me how great cards in the 1990's were compared to today, I really can't think of the year's from now we will still use work he did. Sure he pissed off Beckett. But that was easy once he got large enough to matter to them. If my blog wrote the same things, they wouldn't give a flip. Box breaks are a dime a dozen on video and he was not the first to do those. Nor the best. In Wax Heaven's short life it gave people a place to speak out. But it did not change collecting. If you are going by inspirational value fo the vote, Ben Henry did more to show bloggers and collectors how it's done with style and good writting to those of us who started in the early days of blogging.

As for Stephen Judd I can't comment because I don't know who he is. I will remedy that today.

In the words of James B. Anama:
These are just the words of this humble blog writer.


Collective Troll said...

Very nice write up my friend... I agree that Sy Berger is the Granddaddy of cards and has and always will be the most influential... He got my vote. I will say that because the awards are specifically suited for 2009 that some others may be considered more influential-basically because many people dont know who Berger is. For that reason I do appreciate your history lesson here. I thought the Gummie Awards were a lot of fun to vote for. Vote Topps Attax for Worst in '09!

Matt Runyon said...

The Burdick award should be a "lifetime achievement" type of award. I voted for Mr. Berger.

Dinged Corners said...

Agree 100 percent.

Mark Aubrey said...

I just voted the at the Gummies and I had to look up Stephen Judd's info. I remember that his blog shared information gleaned from working with the major card companies.

Like the ladies at DC, I agree 100 %. Sy was the man. SABR has a nice interview with him.

Anonymous said...

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I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as the price of memory decreases, the possibility of uploading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could see in my lifetime.

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