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“Kids used to buy cards for the GUM.” Who believes this nonsense?

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  • “Kids used to buy cards for the GUM.” Who believes this nonsense?

    I’m getting tired of hearing this foolish old worn-out CLICHE.

    ”We only bought cards for the gum.”

    Just admit it. It SOUNDS quaint, charming, and
    Norman-Rockwell-esque. It ALMOST gives anonymous
    baseball “fans” some “street cred” - some authority as they speak about their very distant past...ya know, the Obama years.

    I’m not ancient, but I started buying 10-cent packs of cards as a seven-year-old in 1971. The packages were clearly marked as “cards” with a CHEAP, STALE, CRUNCHY, POWDERY stick of gum STUCK to the back of one of the cards, tossed in as an afterthought. And yes, I realize that Topps (and others) started as a gum manufacturer, and their original intention was to promote their gum.

    If we wanted GUM, we could easily reach for a pack of gum.
    Like the cards, gum was clearly labeled.

    Buying baseball cards has never been a means of obtaining
    a SINGLE piece of bad-tasting gum.

    Whaddaya you guys think?

    Charlie
    from 70th Street,
    Bayridge, Brooklyn

  • #2
    I never believed that either. Always seemed like a lame excuse for spending a ton of money on cards, especially when the person doesn't have any that are particularly valuable.

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    • #3
      I used to like the gum. Once you got past the stale crunchiness and chewed a few times it wasn't so bad. It was no Bazooka (for a penny!), but what was I gonna do, throw it out? Not likely lol.

      Granted, tho, I cannot remember anyone ever saying to me they bought a pack of cards for the gum.
      Put it in the books.

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      • #4
        Same kids who supposedly said that, grew up to later say that they only bought a certain "photo journalistic magazine" for the articles.

        Just for the record: Back in the day, it was "Dubble Bubble" that was the gum of choice at the ballpark concession stands in our area. Much softer, and longer lasting than that little pink square Bazooka rock pad. Lol...
        In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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        • #5
          Nowadays baseball cards don't come with any gum, or anything at all, so when I was in elementary and middle school, if I spent my money on cards and didn't get any good ones, there was no consolation prize. Just the cards and a few less dollars in your pocket. But I regret nothing! Buying and collecting cards is fun. I don't do it anymore, but that's just because I've outgrown trading them and I'm too young to have the money to buy any older interesting ones (which are all quite expensive, if not absurdly so).
          How dear to my heart was the old-fashioned batter / who scattered line drives from the spring to the fall / He did not resemble the up-to-date batter / who swings from the heels and misses the ball.

          The up-to-date batter, I’m not very strong for / he shatters the ozone with all of his might / And that is the reason I hanker and long for / those who doubled to left, and tripled to right.

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          • #6
            I don't remember specifics, so thins is going to sound kind of vague, but in the 1980s, when Fleer and Donruss challenged Topps' monopoly, there was something somewhere about how baseball card packs had to include "something of value" - hence the gum and other items. For a couple of years Donruss' packs described their product as "Baseball puzzle and cards," as if you were buying it for the puzzle and the cards were of secondary importance.

            What I didn't understand at the time was - why did cards have to include "something of value?" Why couldn't cards be sold for their own merit, as they are today? Unless it was the fact that it was sort of like gambling in the sense that you didn't know which players you were getting - like the classic Peanuts strip where Charlie Brown buys 500 packs of cards in an unsuccessful attempt to get Joe Shlabotnik, his favorite player, only to see Lucy buy one pack and pull a Shlabotnik.

            https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...94e79a61_c.jpg
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Gary Dunaier View Post
              I don't remember specifics, so thins is going to sound kind of vague, but in the 1980s, when Fleer and Donruss challenged Topps' monopoly, there was something somewhere about how baseball card packs had to include "something of value" - hence the gum and other items. For a couple of years Donruss' packs described their product as "Baseball puzzle and cards," as if you were buying it for the puzzle and the cards were of secondary importance.

              What I didn't understand at the time was - why did cards have to include "something of value?" Why couldn't cards be sold for their own merit, as they are today? Unless it was the fact that it was sort of like gambling in the sense that you didn't know which players you were getting - like the classic Peanuts strip where Charlie Brown buys 500 packs of cards in an unsuccessful attempt to get Joe Shlabotnik, his favorite player, only to see Lucy buy one pack and pull a Shlabotnik.
              I seem to also recall language to that effect, Gary. But I'm not sure they issue cards with specific player values. I could be wrong, but I think there's a line drawn between attaching values to specific players and issuing a short series of "superstars."

              Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
              Same kids who supposedly said that, grew up to later say that they only bought a certain "photo journalistic magazine" for the articles.

              Just for the record: Back in the day, it was "Dubble Bubble" that was the gum of choice at the ballpark concession stands in our area. Much softer, and longer lasting than that little pink square Bazooka rock pad. Lol...
              Thanks, mud. We'd been toying around with names for our two new twin kittens, and I think we may go with Dubble and Bubble.

              Speaking of the gum, confections were the main products sold by companies like Fleer and Topps, first and foremost to their forays into trading cards. The Fleer Chewing Gum Company produced Dubble Bubble, the first successful bubble gum and the standard by which all others were measured, and Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., produced Bazooka, that company's earliest success. Trading cards and collectibles were an afterthought for both.

              But Topps' period of monopoly on baseball cards is probably why in my preteen years I knew Bazooka quite well and Dubble Bubble not at all. Well, that and my local deli carried the penny Bazooka. But Fleer didn't start putting out baseball cards again until the 1980s and I collected mostly in the mid-1970s when Topps still had the monopoly. And as we see, it was no coincidence that Bazooka and the sticks in the Topps card packs were similar in both taste and initial hardness.

              Last time I collected was 1993, and it may be a while before I do again. I recently saw a fat pack of 34 Topps cards for sale while waiting on line at Walmart. Twenty bucks. Thanks anyway. And I never enjoyed buying the complete set without also collecting pack by pack, opening them one by one. Part of the fun for me is getting to "know" the cards.

              Anyway, given the histories, there was indeed once a time when someone would feasibly prefer the gum to the cards. Not that they'd buy a pack of cards, throw them away and chew the gum, tho. But that they'd instead prefer to buy Dubble Bubble or Bazooka.
              Put it in the books.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by milladrive View Post
                I seem to also recall language to that effect, Gary. But I'm not sure they issue cards with specific player values. I could be wrong, but I think there's a line drawn between attaching values to specific players and issuing a short series of "superstars."
                The "something of value" was the gum, or the puzzle pieces, or the marbles, or the cookie, or whatever came with the cards - not the cards themselves. In that context, the cards had no value, it didn't matter if you pulled a Mickey Mantle or a Mickey Klutts.

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                • #9
                  It is quite possible that some mean-spirited older brothers would buy the packs for their younger tyke brothers, steal the gum then and hand the cards over. This was not my experience, but I knew a lot of older brothers of friends who would meet the description.
                  Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

                  A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

                  Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

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                  • #10
                    When I started buying baseball cards, you got a single piece of (not great tasting) gum (that probably damaged the card it stuck to) for 35 cents. You could buy an entire pack of chewing gum for 25 cents at that time.

                    This is total virtue signaling BS along the same lines of claiming old-timey players didn't play ball for the money, but only for love of the game (implying today's players are the opposite). These are the types of statements that alert me to ignore anything else the fool wants to opine on.
                    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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