Is Sorare MLB live?
Sorare Baseball MLB is not available at the moment, however from what Nicolas Julia announces in several interviews, we expect the platform to release the MLB game pretty soon. Just like Sorare NBA, we can't wait for the new game to be released. But before that, let’s dig into the history of some of the most famous MLB trading cards. Serena Williams has just joined the Sorare Advisory Board, we should also see tennis coming to So rare! Read our page about Sorare Sports.
NFTs: Main American baseball teams MLB
Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
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New York Yankees
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baseball trading cards history
One of the peculiarities of US sports compared to European sports, and especially pronounced in baseball, is the proliferation of printed cards depicting players or teams. Every year there are different stamps and different collections for MLB teams, and many collectors are looking for the rarest cards or those of mythical players. But where does this typical American hobby come from?
The first baseball cards, which were not really cards at all, appeared in the years 1840-1860, at the same time that photography became popular. These cards, called "cabinet cards" or "calling cards" at the time, used group photos to represent some of the teams of that primitive period of baseball. The format of these cards at that time was the same as the "cabinet card" in French (hence the name in English), which in turn came from the term "cabinet of curiosities" where aristocrats displayed their most unusual items. This format was used for the first iconographic reproductions in Great Britain and then throughout the world from the 1860s.
Measuring 4×6 inches (10 cm x 15 cm), these "cabinet cards" were closer to team photographs than to "baseball cards" as we know them today. It should be noted that these "cards" had no other function than to represent the team, and that this served a purely commemorative purpose (like any good family photo) and was not yet commercial, as it would later be.
In the late 1860s, Trade Cards became very common in the United States. They represented different themes (animals, presidents, etc.) and were offered by brands for promotional purposes without having to buy their product. Baseball, which was becoming more and more popular, was not left out as a theme on these cards.
In 1869, Peck and Snyder, a New York sporting goods manufacturer, was the first to distribute the first baseball cards in history for promotional purposes. The Cincinnati Red Stocking was the first team represented on these trading cards, which still gave little or no individual treatment to the players.
Advertising cards for tobacco products
From the mid-1880s through the 1890s, the U.S. tobacco industry, recognizing the public's growing interest in baseball trading cards, mass-produced and distributed cards that were included with every pack of cigarettes. The Goodwin and Co. of New York was the first company to do so with its Old Judge and Gypsy Queen brands. It was quickly copied by all the other tobacco companies of the time (Allen & Ginter, Buchner & Co., etc...) who produced thousands of cards about teams and players between 1885 and 1890.
Cap Anson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939 with a record of 27 consecutive regular seasons in MLB (1871-1897). He was the first player to reach 3,000 hits and had a career WAR of 94.3. He played primarily for the Chicago White Stockings (21 seasons) and was also their manager during most of his Chicago career.
In the late 1880s, the tobacco companies merged into one (The American Tobacco Company - ATC). As a result, competition disappeared and the need for advertising and trade cards became unnecessary and all but disappeared. By the end of the 19th century, there were almost no baseball cards left.
Right at the beginning of the new century, the American government managed to break the tobacco lobby, and independent companies emerged again. As a result, advertising and trade cards reappeared on cigarette packages, but also increasingly in the candy sector. This period coincided with the rise of baseball in the United States and the craze for "The Ballgame." The variety and quantity of cards produced in the early 20th century made this period the "Golden Age" for baseball cards.
Honus Wagner: The "Flying Dutchman" was a shortstop for 17 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and 2 years with the Louisville Colonels. His career batting average is .329 over 21 seasons, making him one of the best hitters in history (3420 hits). He won the National League Batting Title 8 times and his number 33 was retired by the Pirates in 1956. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936. This is the most expensive baseball card in the world today.
The most famous and coveted series of cards is undoubtedly the T206 series. This series, nicknamed the "Monster List," was issued from 1909 to 1911 by a tobacco industry group (American Tobacco Company). They can be recognized by their white edges and pastel colors. The most famous is the one depicting Honus Wagner playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This card was very rarely distributed (less than 200) and was the only card featuring this player, who eventually refused to have his image used to advertise tobacco to children. The rarity of this card, as well as the outstanding achievements of this player, make it the most expensive card today: about $3 million per card!
During World War I, tobacco companies stopped distributing baseball cards, leaving the space to candy and gum manufacturers. The most famous companies were the Goudey Gum Company of Boston and the Delong Gum Company, which today produced highly sought-after cards featuring players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and many other stars from that blessed era of baseball. Among other companies, the leading gum company, Bowman Gum Company, also issued cards from 1939 to 1941. Again, card distribution was drastically curtailed during the World War II due to paper restrictions.
Do we still need to introduce the most famous baseball player in the history of the sport? As a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox from 1914 to 1919 and then as a successful batter with the New York Yankees until 1934, Babe Ruth won a total of 7 World Series with these two teams. He played one final season with the Boston Braves in 1935. He set an impressive number of records, some of which have not been broken to this day (SLG .690; OPS 1.164; WAR 182.5). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936. What can I say, he was The Babe!
In the early 1950s, the Topps Chewing Gum Company began distributing baseball cards. The first set from 1952 is highly sought after by collectors today. Topps soon became the leader in post-war cards, which are still sold in gum packs. Note that the two big stars of the time, Joe DiMaggio (Yankees) and Ted Williams (Red Sox), were not represented in the 1952 Topps series: one because of the end of his career the previous season and the other because of his return to the military as a fighter pilot during the Korean War (as well as during World War II). Topps eventually took over the management of the baseball card from the Bowman company, which stopped publishing the card in 1955.
The era of the advertising-free baseball card
Due to the quality and wide selection of its cards, Topps quickly gained a monopoly on the baseball card business, which led the company to abandon the gum business. Every year since 1952, the company has released card sets featuring all active teams and players, and sometimes famous players who have played in the MLB.
This card is the most expensive card issued after World War II (over $2.8 million) for this player who started his career the year before the first set of Topps cards. Mickey Mantle played his entire career (1951 to 1968) primarily in center field for the New York Yankees. He won 7 World Series in 12 appearances and holds many records in the finals (HR: 18; RBI: 40; Runs: 42; Walks: 43 and Total Bases: 123). During his career he hit 536 home runs and his number 7 was retired by the Yankees in 1969. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
Each year, there are "Opening Day" and "Series 1" series featuring the new season's players at their respective clubs, although errors sometimes occur due to the late signing of some contracts. The "Chrome Series" (often a copy of the "Series 1" on a chrome background), the "Series 2", the "Update Series" with some updates after the mid-season trades, the "Archive Signatures" and no less than thirty other series such as the "Gypsy Queen" or the "Allen & Ginter" that recall the old cards used by the tobacco companies in the 19th century.
Other series include "Archives", which represent the players of the year with the design of Topps cards from another decade, "Tributes", which represent the most successful players, "Stadium Club", which highlight the players with beautiful photos, and the very expensive "Definitives", which are luxury cards with a relic insert (a piece of jersey).
Other companies entered the market, but never reached the fame and sales figures of Topps. The Fleer company, which had already issued cards in the 1960s, took over distribution between 1981 and 1995. The former Donruss company, which distributed sports cards in the 1960s and baseball cards from 1981, was bought by the famous Panini company and now issues baseball cards without MLB license (no logo on the pictures). The Italian company, known in Europe for its soccer sticker card albums, has also revived the American brand Pinnacle, which existed in the 1990s, and has been publishing cards under that name since 2013, but without a successor. Panini has also been publishing baseball cards under its name since the early 2010s.
Bowman, which distributed cards in the 1940s (Bowman Gum), began publishing cards again in 1989 after being acquired by giant Topps. The company specialized mainly in prospect or rookie cards and today offers a good alternative to its former competitor, which had lost its leadership role in the early 1950s.
If Sorare works alongside the MLB to create a Sorare MLB game, it will with no doubt have a huge impact on the trading cards market.