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New book pays homage to iconic 1952 Topps set

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In a salute to the legendary 1952 Topps baseball card set, a new hobby book has been published that takes an in-depth look at the iconic cards that forever changed the collecting landscape.

“Baseball & Bubble Gum: The 1952 Topps Collection” (published by Peter E. Randall, $35) details what life was like for athletes during and after World War II and how their love of baseball kept the country moving forward.

Joe Orlando, president and CEO of Collectors Universe, wrote the fourth and final chapter that delves into the 1952 Topps baseball card set, going into “the elements that make (it) the most iconic of the postwar age.”

As the chapter intro says, Orlando “breaks down the overwhelming appeal of the 1952 Topps baseball card set, from composition to design to its place in pop culture.”

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The 248-page, colorful and glossy book authored by Tom and Ellen Zappala showcases each of the 407 cards featured in the set, including the most famous of all—the #311 Mickey Mantle rookie card.

A tribute to Sy Berger, the former Topps executive who was the man behind the set’s creation, is included from his son, Glenn Berger.

“The popularity of Topps baseball cards kept the careers of players like me alive for decades after our retirement,” former MLB All-Star pitcher Carl Erskine said in a statement about the book. “As a player featured in the ’52 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.”

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The images of the 1952 set are from John Branca, the nephew of pitching great Ralph Branca. John owns one of the Top 5 overall sets, according to the PSA Set Registry.

“This book was certainly a labor of love for us because this wonderful collection brought back memories of our childhood,” Tom Zappala said in a statement. “Unlike the T206 collection and Cracker Jack collection, the 1952 Topps set was part of the fabric of our youth. That is what made writing the book so appealing.”

The book can be found on Amazon or at

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