Picks and Pans Review: Topps Baseball Cards

updated 12/16/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/16/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Frank Slocum

If you can't find a 1952 Mickey Mantle and one of the nation's 100,000 or so serious card collectors is on your gift list, this book would make a terrific substitute. It includes pictures of all the more than 21,000 baseball cards issued by Topps Chewing Gum Inc. from 1951 through 1985, with statistics on all the players and year-by-year summaries of the events in the major leagues and in collecting. (Topps' legal battles, such as its successful fight against monopoly charges, are all but ignored.) One reason cards from the 1952 set are so scarce, for example, is that Topps found itself overstocked at the end of the season and dumped part of its surplus into the Atlantic. Most of the fun, though, is in searching out that '53 Preston Ward or the '66 Moe Drabowsky or the '80 Steve Comer—those cards the kid down the street always had and would never trade, even for a Stan Musial or a Hank Aaron or a Reggie Jackson. (Warner Books, $79.95)

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