MAD about baseball cards

If I’m not mistaken, the original goal of this blog was to only write about baseball cards. Regardless of whether or not that is true, it appears that I have finally CRACKED as I am writing an entry about some truly oddball cards.

Published by Lime Rock International, Inc., MAD Magazine trading cards were issued in 1992 in two separate series. These unique cards depict classic MAD Magazine covers that have littered newsstands around the globe for decades. I didn’t purchase cards from either series when they were new. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of their existence until the fall of 2001. Actually, that doesn’t read well; so let me instead say, autumn of 2001.

I had a pretty decent thing going on with eBay in those days. I would pick up a box of non-sport trading cards for less than ten bucks, usually build a complete set of whatever it was, then turn around and sell “modified” duplicate cards as magnets and actually turn a profit. MAD cards proved to be one of the better moneymakers. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for me to sell a single magnet for more than what I had paid for the entire box of cards.

Ah… the good old days of exciting bidding wars. The key, I found, was timing and limiting the number of auctions up at the same time. Eventually I got squeezed out by people doing the same thing- except that they were listing magnets of practically every card available, and using the buy it now feature to sell them for $1.00 or $1.50. I guess their marketing strategy was to make money in volume sales- but it pretty much ruined my deal.

There are a couple of baseball-themed trading cards included in the MAD set, so I wanted to share those with you as your reward for having continued reading this far.


MAD Magazine issue no. 296, published in July 1990, featured this outlandish cover depicting Alfred E. Neuman as an inept umpire, the likes of which would not be witnessed again until the 2008 World Series. “What Me Worry?” indeed! That issue also contained an article on “Making Baseball Card Collections Complete.” And there you have it.


Mad Magazine issue no. 282, published in October 1988, featured a short stack of baseball cards on the cover. The top card is possibly Alfred E. Neuman’s rookie card, but that is purely guesswork on my part. It is obvious that the young “Designated Hittee” was completely ignoring the advice of his manager while posing for his baseball card photo- “Keep your eye on the pie, Alfred!”


Whether you read MAD Magazine once or three hundred times, you are probably well aware of the fact that the writers spoofed sports as often as any other topic. Let’s face it- sports and athletes ARE funny! Baseball was featured on the cover of the second issue of the magazine that was published way back in 1952. Although this cover is interesting, a little voice inside my head thinks it’s a crying shame they didn’t spoof 1952 Topps baseball cards instead. If only Harvey Kurtzman had known the major role that baseball cards would assume in the hearts and minds of countless generations of fans to follow…

Your options for picking up these cards on eBay today are limitless. You can buy entire sets for a couple of bucks, or bust a box for around ten. (Yes, I have a ton of these things I can trade, but no guarantee that I have any extras of the cards I mentioned in this post.) I’ve also seen MAD stickers, but never bothered to pick them up. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that those also contain baseball and baseball card themed artwork.

– Kris

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One Response to “MAD about baseball cards”

  1. jpyne Says:

    It’s funny (to me) that the 1988 cover shows a baseball card in the style of the 1988 Topps set. One of the worst sets in the history of cards– even worse than that stupid wood-grained set from 1987 (sorry– I know how much you like those) or those god-awful 1990 cards. I hated the backs of those cards– just cheap, unfinished cardboard. That was a real dark era in the history of cards.

    I suspect that making magnets out of cards and selling them on eBay is one of the “secrets” of making millions (or at least dozens) of dollars out of the comfort of you own home that they shout about on those late-nite infomercials.

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