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Baseball & Bubblegum

The 1952 Topps Collection

by Tom Zappala and Ellen Zappala

with John Molori
Foreward and Contributions by Joe Orlando

What The Critics Are Saying

  • "Baseball & Bubble Gum is a blast of nostalgia for everyone who remembers the stars of the 1950s! Baseball fanatics and history buffs alike will love these brilliant images of -- and fascinating insights into -- the classic 1952 Topps baseball card set, justly regarded as one of the great trading-card sets in the hobby."

    - Edward Achorn, author of The Summer of Beer and Whiskey and Fifty-nine in '84

  • "Tom & Ellen have hit another homerun with Baseball & Bubble Gum, their book about the 1952 Topps Collection. It is my all-time favorite set and the first that I collected as young boy. Well done!"

    - Ken Kendrick, Managing General Partner, Arizona Diamondbacks

  • “The popularity of Topps baseball cards kept the careers of players like me ‘alive’ for decades after our retirement. As a player featured in the 1952 Topps set, I enjoyed reading Baseball & Bubble Gum. The stories about the players brought back memories of a great time in my life and a great time in the game of baseball. Excellent read!”

    - Carl Erskine, All-Star pitcher and member of the 1955 Dodgers World Series Champions

Baseball Fanatics, History Buffs, and Collectors Will Love This Book

Baseball & Bubble Gum: The 1952 Topps Collection details the most iconic postwar baseball set in hobby history. With the end of World War II, the advent of television, and an explosion of love for our National Pastime, the players making up this historic collection became bigger than life. Mantle, Berra, Robinson, and Spahn are just a few of the stars who helped Americans forget the ravages of war and who opened the door to Major League Baseball’s desegregation that was closed for so many years.

Ben Franklin Award Winner, Silver Medal, 2021

Baseball Fanatics, History Buffs, and Collectors Will Love This Book

Baseball & Bubble Gum: The 1952 Topps Collection details the most iconic postwar baseball set in hobby history. With the end of World War II, the advent of television, and an explosion of love for our National Pastime, the players making up this historic collection became bigger than life. Mantle, Berra, Robinson, and Spahn are just a few of the stars who helped Americans forget the ravages of war and who opened the door to Major League Baseball’s desegregation that was closed for so many years.

Ben Franklin Award Winner, Silver Medal, 2021

A Peek Inside The Book

The player narratives in this book give you a glimpse of what life was like for these athletes during and after World War II. Many of these men fought overseas, and some of them were even Purple Heart recipients. All of the 407 cards in the set are presented in full color along with a narrative about the player and their stats. Organized in chapters by the Hall of Famers, the Commons, and the Uncommons, it’s interesting to see that the love of baseball was the common thread between players like Hall of Famer Duke Snider; an uncommon player like Bobby Shantz, who, although not in Cooperstown, had a wonderful career; and a typical common player like Jim Busby, who played day in and day out without any fanfare.

The last chapter of the book discusses the great appeal of the 1952 Topps set; how the collection was developed; the nuances of particular cards, along with their scarcity, popularity, and in some cases, the card value. This set became the template for card collecting, and it is still going strong after 68 years. Kids and adults have been trading and collecting their favorite players for years. Today, collecting has become a big business, but when all is said and done, we are all still kids who love those little cardboard pieces of art. This book is a fun read for baseball lovers, card collectors, and baseball historians. Grab yourself some bubble gum, sit back, and enjoy the journey into the decade of “The Whiz Kids,” “Dem Bums,” and “The Bronx Bombers.”

A Peek Inside The Book

The player narratives in this book give you a glimpse of what life was like for these athletes during and after World War II. Many of these men fought overseas, and some of them were even Purple Heart recipients. All of the 407 cards in the set are presented in full color along with a narrative about the player and their stats. Organized in chapters by the Hall of Famers, the Commons, and the Uncommons, it’s interesting to see that the love of baseball was the common thread between players like Hall of Famer Duke Snider; an uncommon player like Bobby Shantz, who, although not in Cooperstown, had a wonderful career; and a typical common player like Jim Busby, who played day in and day out without any fanfare.

The last chapter of the book discusses the great appeal of the 1952 Topps set; how the collection was developed; the nuances of particular cards, along with their scarcity, popularity, and in some cases, the card value. This set became the template for card collecting, and it is still going strong after 68 years. Kids and adults have been trading and collecting their favorite players for years. Today, collecting has become a big business, but when all is said and done, we are all still kids who love those little cardboard pieces of art. This book is a fun read for baseball lovers, card collectors, and baseball historians. Grab yourself some bubble gum, sit back, and enjoy the journey into the decade of “The Whiz Kids,” “Dem Bums,” and “The Bronx Bombers.”

Baseball & Bubblegum

In The Press

‘Baseball & Bubblegum’— A Fun, Informative Look at Iconic 1952 Topps Set, July 2020

Featured on The Sports Bookie: A Sports Blog by Bob D’Angelo

“Thanks to the husband and wife team of Tom and Ellen Zappala, you can own a high-grade, 1952 Topps baseball card set for $35.
 
Well, sort of.
 
The Zappalas have put the iconic baseball card set into book form in a colorful, coffee table-sized format that includes photographs of all 407 cards and interesting sidebars. That includes the first Topps card of Mickey Mantle, one of the most coveted cards of the post-World War II era.
 
​There have been books that have shown individual photographs of the entire 1952 Topps set — Frank Slocum’s 1994 effort, Baseball Cards of the Fifties, comes to mind (I guess that means I have two pristine 1952 Topps sets now, in addition to the ragged condition, uncompleted real-life set I own) — but Baseball & Bubble Gum offers more. Call it a more sentimental look, almost as if it were seen through the eyes of a 1950s kid collecting cards.”

‘Baseball & Bubblegum’— Midwest Book Review, August 2020

“A beautifully reproduced coffee-table style volume compiled by the team of Tom and Ellen Zappala, and with the assistance of John Molori, and an ideal gift for any and all dedicated baseball fans, “Baseball & Bubble Gum: The 1952 Topps Collection” is unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library 20th Century American Popular Culture collections in general, American Baseball History collections in particular.”

‘Baseball & Bubblegum’— SMR Magazine Review, August 2020

Buy the Book

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Baseball & Bubble Gum:
The 1952 Topps Collection
First Edition, 2020

PRICE $35.00
Shipping $5.00 (U.S. Only)