Some Weirdo Mets Cards Revisited
November 15th, 2010 by slangon

Many, many moons ago, I had written a post about some oddball Mets cards that I had acquired sometime during my first foray into card collection back when I was a youngster. That post elicited one comment from a mysterious “MrHaverkamp”. Mr. Haverkamp wrote:

Do some searches on cards from the era called “Broders”. They were unlicensed and created by a man named, strangely enough, Broder.

With that cryptic sounding clue in hand, I duly fired up the old Google machine and anxiously awaited the results. Results were still pretty slim pickings, but I did at least stumble across one site that had a little bit of additional information. According to the site:

While not so prevelent these days, the period from 1986-1993 (the boom years of baseball card collecting) saw a proliferation of unlicensed sets of baseball, basketball and football cards focusing mainly on the top stars and rookies of the period. Widely known as “Broders” after a few early sets that were produced by sports photographer Rob Broder (which may even be a pseudonym, no one seems to know who he actually is or was), these sets were produced without the approval or license or either the major sports leagues or the related players associations.

This information immediately piqued my interest thanks to the tantalizingly vague inclusion of “which may even be a pseudonym, no one seems to know who he actually was”. Of course, a Google search for Rob Broder didn’t return anything other than links to either the cards themselves or other people named Rob Broder who have nothing to do with sports photography or unlicensed baseball cards.

To further complicate matters, I found a few references to cards called “Broders” in the old Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. I think there were about 5 different sets mentioned, all from the 1970’s. The description of each of those sets started with the sentence “Veteran collector Ed Broder produced this collector’s issue.” There was no reference to the 80’s and 90’s sets of which I actually have examples of though. On that site that I mentioned earlier, the author did mention “Some sets used to be listed in older copies of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, but those have since been removed to make room for the endless parallel sets of recent sets from Topps and Upper Deck.”

This second Mr. Broder seems to be as wily as his sports photographer counterpart, although I did find a reference to a couple of guides on Japanese Baseball written by an Edward A. Broder during the 70’s. I also tracked down the online version of Larry Fritsch’s “One of a Kind” vintage cards that features “the artwork of noted photographers Mike Anderson, George Brace, Ed Broder, Jeff Morey and Norman Paulson among others.”

Hmm. So now we have unlicensed sets produced during the 80’s that were supposedly put out by a sports photographer named Rob Broder, who may or may not really exist. Add to that several other similar unlicensed sets produced by people other than the shadowy Rob Broder that get lumped under that title. Now we have to also consider a bunch of sets called “Broders” from the 70’s that were supposedly put out by a collector named Ed Broder who is referred to as a “noted photographer” by none other than Larry Fritsch Cards.

Will we ever get to the bottom of this? Who knows, but in the meantime, I have acquired another of these frustratingly mysterious cards.

As you can see, they follow the same basic design strategy as the original 2 cards that I posted. It has a full bleed color photo on the front with very minimal copy, although this one gives more information than just the players name. The back is plain white with the set name and card number printed in black, although this also features that nifty, MAD magazine style cartoon of a possible member of the Phillies smashing the sliding runner in the face with the ball while the ump calls him out.

One Response to “Some Weirdo Mets Cards Revisited”

  1. I’ve got a slew of Broder Twins cards; they were all over when I lived in LA back in the late 80s.

Leave a Reply