Sy Berger died a few weeks ago.  Who is he you ask?  Mr. Berger was the genius behind the baseball card.  He built a business linking the cardboard profiles and piece of gum to the joys of collecting.  

Thousands of boys exchanged and collected millions of cards throughout the decades.  Technology has taken away some of that thrill, but baseball cards were some of the earlier crazes to dominate childhood.

In the space of a few square inches, it included a photo, resume, career highlights and team affiliation.  The baseball card was the professional athletes’ rudimentary LinkedIn. 

Think of what you would put on your baseball card if you were to design one today.  What would be the highlights that you would share in your limited space?  

Designing your own card would be a great icebreaker or introductory exercise for a new team to take on.  I have also heard of workshop leaders creating cards of participants and handing them out at the door, so you seek out the person on your card, but don’t have to start the conversation cold.

Mr. Berger was on to something — not just to promote America’s pastime, but as a format to facilitate sharing and introductions of all kinds.  Don’t let his passing stop you from reviving the tradition to use in a more modern way.

— beth triplett

Source:  Died: Sy Berger, creator of the modern baseball card by Josh Wilker, in Time, December 29, 2014-January 5, 2015, p. 24

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