On the occasion of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, taking place this year at the home of the New York Mets for the first time since 1964, the Library is proud to display its copy of the Honus Wagner baseball card. One of the rarest of all baseball cards, it is part of the Leopold Morse Goulston Baseball Collection in The New York Public Library’s George Arents Collection.
The Honus Wagner baseball card, which was distributed with Sweet Corporal cigarettes, ca. 1910, is a well-known part of the baseball legend. It is touted as one of the rarest of all baseball cards because Wagner caused it to be pulled from circulation. His granddaughter set the record straight in 1992: “[H]e always had a wad of chewbacca in his mouth, and he wasn’t against tobacco at all. His concern was he didn’t want children to have to buy tobacco in order to get his card. . . . That’s the fact behind it. It wasn’t that he didn’t get paid for it, or he was against tobacco, he just didn’t want children to have to buy tobacco at a young age in order to get his cards.”