A friend of mine and I were chatting about baseball and baseball cards in particular today and the topic of the Topps George Bush baseball card fiasco came up. It’s a local story from 11 years ago I was woefully ignorant.
The details can be summed as such:
In 1990, Lee Hull and Dan Cook were owners of Who’s on First, a baseball card shop in Champaign, Illinois. They bought what they thought was a typical Topps baseball card set from a woman. Among the other cards though, was a baseball card with George Bush dressed in his 1947 Yale uniform. Very odd.
As told by the owners of the shop, the were sued by a local lawyer who claimed the shop owners offered up for sale for fifteen cents. Rumor has it they were asked how much they thought it was worth and they gave their opinion with no intention of selling it (let’s face it, do baseball card shop owners EVER sell any cards for 15 cents).
Here’s the rub: Topps got wind of the lawsuit and heard about one of their George Bush baseball card floating around. The baseball card company claimed that only 100 of those cards were made and they were presented to the White House (remember this was back in 1990 when Bush was in the White House).
Topps went as far as to accuse Who’s on First baseball card shop of possessing stolen property.
The story had all the twists and turns of a late night B movie. Even People magazine picked up the story back in 1990 As for Hull and Cook, they resolved to stay strong:
Hull calls the suit ridiculous and vows to play hardball with any and all comers. As for Topps, he says, it “asked if we’d give it back if George Bush asked us to. I said only if he came here or we got to go to the White House.”
As for how the story ended, I’m not really sure. Who’s on First folded after a year a so and I’m not finding any news reports that give any conclusion to our little melodrama.