The Cracker Jack Collection Review: New Book Provides Insight into Fabled Cracker Jack Set

The Cracker Jack Collection Review: New Book Provides Insight into Fabled Cracker Jack Set

The Cracker Jack Collection cover 246x300 ImageCracker Jack. The name conjures up much more than the caramelized popcorn treat beloved by millions. For many people, and almost every baseball fan, Cracker Jack is synonymous with our national pastime. A single stanza of a relatively obscure song contains the lyrics recited by fans across the country at every baseball game's 7th inning stretch. For collectors, the name brings a whole different meaning. The confectionery company that manufactured Cracker Jack utilized a signature marketing practice of including a small token prize in every pack. In the years 1914 and 1915, the featured prize was a singular baseball card. Today, the Cracker Jack baseball card sets are one of the most recognizable sets of the dead ball era, and also one of the most valuable.

To commemorate the set, and more importantly, the story of its players, authors Tom and Elle Zappala take a detailed look at the lives of the men who became known as the "Cracker Jack Ball Players." Their new book The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball’s Prized Players, serves not only as celebration of the cherished set, but also a historical documentation of the company.  The book is a testament to the longstanding relationship between the sweet treat and the very American game of baseball. Using beautiful imagery and detailed analysis, the book is now the absolute authority on the 1914-15 Cracker Jack sets.

The husband and wife writing duo, with the help of a talented research team, provides stories of players that will enrich the experience of any collector. When combined with the collectible and market analysis of Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) President, Joe Orlando, the book provides an unsurpassed level of detail into one of the hobby's most iconic baseball card sets. However, you don't have to be currently pursuing the set to enjoy the stories contained within The Cracker Jack Collection book.

Published by Peter E. Randall, the coffee table-sized book provides 177 pages of biographical, statistical, and anecdotal information on every player making an appearance in the set. What makes the book unique is its focus on the players. While collectors might appreciate a bit more detail on the historical sales data of the cards themselves, the book still provides enough insight to make this a must have book for your hobby library.

As an example of what readers can expect, the back cover of the book provides these teases:

  • This John Hopkins graduate was a much better doctor than he was a ballplayer.
  • If it were not for his "emery pitch" this pitcher might never have had a career.
  • This player went from the baseball diamond to the Senate.
  • What player was referred to as the "$22,500 lemon?"
  • This guy had a.000 batting average over the years the Cracker Jack cards were issued. Why was he included in the Collection?
  • This pitcher threw a six-inning no-hitter. The game ended because the opposing team had to catch a train.
  • This self-promoter was referred to as the "Ty Cobb of the Federal League."

The book is organized by player position and includes a self-created Cracker Jack All-Star Team, as designated by the authors. Also included is a handy player index in the back of the book, allowing for quick access and easy reference of every player. An easy to read piece that will immerse yourself in a by-gone era, The Cracker Jack Collection:  Baseball’s Prized Players is a nostalgic delight, much like its namesake confectionery.

Attendees of the 34th National Sports Collectors Convention will be able to enjoy a host of activities and attractions related to the Cracker Jack set. PSA will be displaying two of the most valuable Cracker Jack sets ever assembled. In addition, the authors will be on-hand to sign copies of The Cracker Jack Collection, which will be made available to collectors, free of charge, when registering or renewing membership in PSA's Collector's Club. For more information, including how to buy the book, visit the book's website at www.CrackerJackPlayers.com.

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Rob Bertrand

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Rob Bertrand is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby. He is one of the site's most accomplished writers, as well as the co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio. You can follow him on Twitter @VOTC.

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