Aug 09, 2020
Fresno State holds a vintage baseball card exhibition in the Henry Madden Library, April 14, 2016. The exhibit consisted of 20th century Major League Baseball players including Frank Chance, Tom Seaver and Bobby Cox. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

Historical baseball cards showcased at Henry Madden Library

Around 400 baseball cards highlighting players with a connection to Fresno will be on display at the Henry Madden Library until May 30.

The inaugural exhibition of the Fresno-based American Baseball Card Museum was founded by local attorney, Jeff Jaech. Jaech, who specializes in estate and trust law, hopes to build the collection by gathering tax-deductible donations from old collectors wishing to get rid of cards.

“My idea was to collect cards — old cards — from old guys like me, who as they got older had wives and kids who didn’t care about the cards anymore and didn’t know what to do with them,” Jaech said. “I thought that there might be people like that who would be willing or want to donate their cards to a museum rather than trying to sell them on eBay or to a dealer, and they could get an income tax deduction.”

The collection is focused on older baseball cards and all the players have some connection to Fresno or Fresno State, Jaech said.

“We wanted to do an exhibit so the public could see some of these old cards,” Jaech said.

In addition to Fresno High alumnus and Chicago Cubs player, Frank Chance — Dick Ellsworth, Jim Maloney, Pat Corrales, Rex Hudler and Tom Goodwin all have cards in the collection.

The exhibit at the Henry Madden Library was curated with a local audience in mind.

“I designed the exhibit so it would be of interest to people in Fresno,” Jaech said. “It feature the Fresno ball players in the 20th century who have some connection to Fresno.”

There are 28 players featured and 400 cards total.

“My favorite [in the exhibit] is a Frank Chance — it’s called a cabinet card — because it’s back in the 1908, 1909 in coupons from cigarette packs,” Jaech said. “You send in the 10 coupons to the company and they’d send you the oversized card. The idea was you’d display it in your cabinet at home.”

In addition to displaying the card, there is also an augmented reality part of the exhibit and an application for Apple devices, which allows the public to look at the cards, said Cindy Wathen, a spokeswoman for the library. The application was written by Kevin Ripka, a professor at University of Iowa.

“You can download the app and if you hold up certain cards, it will flip the card over for you so you can read certain information on the back,” Wathen said.

The American Baseball Card Museum hopes to curate shows for other cities and universities in the future, Jaech said.

The Fresno exhibit will be open until May 30.

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