Sy Berger, One of the Creators of the Modern Baseball Card, Passes Away at 91
The hobby has lost a legend. Sy Berger, a long-time Topps executive, has passed away at the age of 91. Save for a couple of cards, Berger wasn't a person people collected. That said, he's probably more important to the hobby than Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr. or any rookie, relic and autograph card. Without Sy Berger, baseball cards and trading cards as a whole might look a lot different.
Berger is credited as being the creator of the modern baseball card. Early in his career with Topps, he designed what would become the modern card. While cards existed long before, with 1952 Topps Baseball, Berger made them bigger and in color. Team logos and the previous year's stats were something Berger's baseball cards introduced.
With Topps, Berger did more than just design cards. He looked after the business side as well, developing relationships with players and getting them to sign contracts to appear on Topps cards.
Sy Berger retired as vice president for sports and licensing at Topps in 1997 but stayed on as a consultant for several more years.
It wasn't until after he left that Berger finally got a Topps card of his own. Not only does he have a base card in 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites, but an autograph as well. 2011 Topps Baseball also pays tribute to Berger with a spot in the History of Topps insert set.