Apparently, this is the summer of the baseball card. At the tail-end of May, Cooperstown‘s National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum launched a standalone exhibit on the production and proliferation of the collectible card. (One of the many cards the museum had on display was the modern-day “Mona Lisa,” at least IMO, the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle.) Then, just this past week, the annual National Sports Collectors Convention wrapped just outside of Chicago; it’s where all of the top collectors in the world convene to show and sell their wares. And now, according to whomever decides what the next unofficial holiday to celebrate is on social media, this Saturday, August 10, marks National Baseball Card Day. (I celebrated it last year at one of these fine, local establishments, so it’s a “thing.”)
If you’re looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle of Saratoga Race Course and have the collecting bug as bad as I do, I’d urge you to head down to Old Fulton Plaza in Brooklyn, NY—right by the picturesque Brooklyn Bridge—where first, on Friday, August 9, the OG baseball card producer, the Topps Company, will be setting up a mobile baseball card giveaway truck. You won’t be able to miss it, because it’ll be decked out completely in baseball cards, and an attendant inside will be handing out free wares to all interested parties. The giveaway will begin at 11am sharp.
On National Baseball Card Day itself, Topps will also be handing out free, National Baseball Card Day-branded baseball cards at Major League Baseball stadiums across the country. (If you’re wondering, The New York Yankees are out of town this Friday and Saturday, but the New York Mets will be playing a series at home at Citi Field against the Washington Nationals, and will not only be giving away free baseball cards on Sunday the 11th, but also free t-shirts on the 9th and free Hawaiian shirts on the 10th.)
“National Baseball Card Day is about celebrating the infectious hobby of card collecting and remembering the best moments in baseball, through our collections,” says Clay Luraschi, Topps’ global vice president of product development. “We’re thrilled to share an exclusive set of cards at no cost to new and long-time fans, as Topps continues to be an integral part of baseball, our national pastime.”
Of course, Topps will also be giving away free packs of cards at local hobby shops in the US and Canada, too, including at Matt’s Baseball in Watervliet, which will be open on Saturday from 9am – 3pm, and handing out packs to customers, per Owner Matt Wheeler. (For a full list of participating hobby shops, click here; Walmart and Target will also be taking part in the free giveaway.) The specially produced packs will feature stars such as Los Angeles Angels’ slugger Mike Trout, New York Mets’ rookie phenom Pete Alonso and Houston Astros (and Tri-City Valley Cats alum) José Altuve; and in addition to the normal star cards, some lucky collectors will be able to find randomly inserted autographed cards within their National Baseball Card Day packs.