The 1950's were a simpler time. Gas was cheap, work was abundant and the babies were boomin'. During this time a popular little candy company named Topps started putting picture cards of baseball players in with their stale slabs of gum. Of course they couldn't just put any old player on their cards, they had to compensate them. But how so? A trip into Topps Ebay store tells us.
Over the last few years Topps has begun to sell their well curated history off for pennies on the dollar via Ebay. Among my favorite items are the file cards used to track each individual player's card for the season and the compensation they received. Often the players weren't paid with cash, but with simple gifts that any young man in the day would need. It was a pretty fair trade. Joe Baseball would get himself a shiny new toaster for the misses and to top it off he'd have his picture on a bubblegum card.
I recently acquired the file card held by Topps for Sammy Esposito, a utility player and war hero from the Chicago White Sox. The card documents Esposito's card and compensation for each season.
Samuel Esposito 1957 Topps RC #301
Created in exchange for a Longines Mens Wrist Watch
|See if the boys in the clubhouse respect me now!|
Sam Esposito 1958 Topps #425 and 1959 Topps #438 was created in exchange for...
Westinghouse Air Conditioner (not necessarily this one)
|Sorry I made you sweat it out all year honey, but that sure was some wrist watch!|
Sammy Esposito 1960 Topps #31 was created in exchange for...
Webcor Tape Recorder
|Now look sweetheart, I can't play ball forever. I just know the execs in Nashville will be begging to sign me up if they can only hear my demo!|
Sammy Esposito 1961 Topps #323 was created in exchange for...
19" RCA Portable Television
|Okay sweetie, I know you really wanted that oven... but look at it this way, now I won't have to lug around that mammoth console TV set on the road with me anymore!|
Sammy finally got it right in 1962 and 1963 when Topps created these in exchange for...
Two and a half of these.
|Fine doll, buy yourself something nice. I'm gonna sit by the phone and wait for Nashville to call.|