Was the Bazooka gum popular because of the Topps cards or were the cards popular because of the gum?
I long for those idyllic times when bubble gum and baseball cards went together like. . .well. . .like baseball cards and bicycle wheel spokes. It was a time when every boy was skilled at popping gum and cool was judged by how big a bubble you could blow before it broke. It was a time when the images on the cards like Mickey Mantle and Willy Mays were still heroes that boys could look up to and kids didn’t worry that playing with them could ruin them.
Even a kid with a quarter allowance could afford a pack of gum and baseball cards.
If you didn’t like a player, or a team, or you had duplicates, you either traded them or stuck them in your bicycle wheel spokes, another proof of how cool you were. The faster you pedaled the louder the card got until it finally wore out.
Many moms, in the process of cleaning out closets after their grown sons left home, threw the cards out, making the ones that survived that much more valuable.
Some of those lucky few, who rediscovered their cards while unpacking long forgotten boxes, managed to keep the hobby alive.