Remember the days when you’d flip over a baseball card to learn all the information you could about the player on the front of your piece of cardboard? Maybe you wanted to memorize their stats or you liked the little factoids and cartoons that would bring you a little closer to the players you pulled out of the wax. Or maybe you flipped it over and realized that the bubblegum stain just ruined your otherwise pristine Rickey Henderson rookie, eliciting an audible string of foul language that subsequently got you grounded. Well, the Card Vault is like that but without the stains. Mostly. Here you’ll learn some of the lesser known facts not on the backs of your cards and a whole lot of funky observations about the fellas on the front.

  • All The Rookies You'll Need

    On July 15, 1959, Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. ran a full page advertisement in The Sporting News. “Today… right this very minute… kids are mailing their votes for the first All-Star Team of its kind… a team elected by young fans to honor their idols who are playing their first season.”

  • The Parade of Decapitated Heads

    When I was a kid, I loved a parade. It didn’t matter whether it was celebrating Memorial Day or Uncle Butchie’s release from Federal Prison, if you lined up a few different forms of entertainment and marched them down the street, I would have been the first one there. I have nostalgia for B-grade clowns, shopping cart pretzels and inflatable elephants that deflated the second the vendor turned away down MLK Boulevard. I got that nostalgic feeling again when I was flipping through the 1962 Topps checklist and came across the last eight cards in the set. They were the Rookie Parade cards. The 1962 set is terrific on its own. It’s the year with the wood paneling to match your grandma’s basement. The cards feature color photos that look like posters hanging on the paneling with the bottom right corner peeling up to reveal the player’s name, team and position. Most collectors love this set and the 1987 revival. The others can meet me at the Gates of Hell. The first 590 cards make up the regular issue and then Topps threw themselves a parade with the final eight cards. Things couldn’t be more perfect.

  • Lou Gehrig Says... Here's Shanty

    If I had to create a band name based solely on baseball cards, Shanty Hogan and the Goudeys might be tough to beat. Shit, the artwork for the first album is right there on his 1934 Goudey baseball card. The 1934 Goudey set is absolutely iconic and its place in history is just. It has great artwork and little silhouettes of baseball players in action. This creates an effect on some cards where a player looks like he is high on LSD and imagining these little men playing ball in space.

  • Moe, Larry, Curly & Homer McSlugger

    Baseball. It’s America’s Pastime. It’s the game we play as children, watch as adults, and share with our children and grandchildren. It’s played a role in shaping the nation, from the Civil War through to the Civil Rights Movement, and has permeated many aspects of American life, including culture, fashion, food and entertainment.

  • I'm Thinking Zack Wheat Was Drinking

    When I think of early Fleer, usually the 1981 and ’82 sets come to mind. They are awash in awfulness, afros, moustaches and the like - and while they weren’t quite bizzaro baseball cards, they did seem to be from an alternate dimension. A dimension of Jheri Curl and caps too tight to hold in said curls. I clearly remember when Gambino’s Deli was out of Topps, I’d settle for a pack of Fleer and still enjoy it. At least I could rip a pack. The wrappers were dollar-store quality and for some reason there was entirely too much sugar powder that came with the gum. After opening a few packs, it looked like you spent the afternoon with Tony Montana and Dwight Gooden. The photos on the cards appear to be taken through the bushes by a questionable looking fellow who had just smeared butter from his popcorn across the lens of his Minolta. They were the baseball card equivalent of 1960s Godzilla movies.

  • Lenny Randle is Out For Blood

    The 70s. A decade of cultural change and freedom of expression. Where fashion was bold and bright, and personal style was used to express one’s individuality. It permeated every aspect of society, including baseball. Uniforms became brighter and tighter. Stirrups were pulled up higher than ever before. Pullover jerseys and powder blue were on trend. And the St Louis Cardinals had, arguably, the best uniform in baseball.

  • Billy Martin vs. Not Jim Breuer

    A baseball card isn’t just an old piece of cardboard with a picture and some stats on the back. A baseball card can take you on an adventure you never knew you were looking for. Starting as early as the 1860’s the card business was originally a marketing ploy to sell gum and cigarettes. In 1951, Topps printed its first set as part of a card game with player pictures. In 1952 they went all in and printed their first run of cards - a 407-card set released in 7 different series. Printing delays had them entering the market right before football season and sadly, most of the cards were returned to Topps and destroyed. This is the same set that contained Mickey Mantle’s rookie card, but I’m not crying… it’s allergies.

  • One Tough Cookie Who Lost Their Marbles

    Baseball cards started as an afterthought. First in the 1860’s by Peck and Snyder, a New York based sports company who used the Cincinnati Red Stockings team photo, still just a “baseball club” as a marketing gimmick for an equipment company. It wasn’t exactly world changing but that didn’t stop companies from trying. People back then smoked - a lot - and the next marketing ploy would hit differently. If you’re a fan you already know this and the name N167 doesn’t sound like the next flight departing for Delta out of La Guardia or Space-X rocket launch out of Cape Canaveral.