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1913 WG5 National Game card reverse
1913 WG5 / WG6 Tom Barker / The National Game Shoeless Joe Jackson
1913 WG6 Tom Barker card reverse

Game cards. What cards come to mind when you read those two words?

Magic the Gathering is what many familiar with collecting cards would think of first. If you have kids then you may think of card games like Pokémon.

If you are a vintage collector, you may think of some of the Topps card games over the years such as the 1951 blue and red backs.

Fact is there is a wide variety of gaming cards, or trading cards that you can play games with, on the market today. From the aforementioned Pokémon to sets featuring battling beetles and fighting robots, there is a card game set for everyone.

But I am more interested in the original pre-war gaming cards. I love the cards that were designed to play the American Pastime in the form of “indoor baseball.”

Card games related to baseball go back to the early days of baseball itself. Before radio became the way many in America followed baseball, there were only two ways you could keep up with the action of your favorite baseball team. If you lived in a large enough city, you could go to see the game in person or you read the box scores in your newspaper. And that was about it. And if you wanted to see what your favorite players even looked like, there was a black line drawing in the paper or cigarette cards with real photos that arrived in the late 1880s.

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