They've filled binders and boxes. You use them as bookmarks and investments. They're art pieces that fit in the palm of your hand, and they can make your bicycle sound like a (very weak) motorcycle.
Whether you're a collector, dabbler, or simply a baseball fan, there's no way to escape baseball cards. Before baseball was broadcast on TV in stunning hi-def -- heck, before Major League Baseball was on the West Coast -- baseball cards were a way to bring fans closer to their heroes. And now, when every highlight you could ever want is simply a click away, they still capture our attention and dreams like few things can.
But just which single card is the people's favorite? Is it the famous Honus Wagner card that just sold for more than $6 million? A Mickey Mantle rookie that is so rare because thousands were dumped and left to rot at the bottom of the ocean? Could it be a more recent card, like a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie or one featuring Mike Trout? Or maybe the very best card of all-time is one that makes us laugh, like Mickey Hatcher's infamous giant glove card?
Well, we now have our answer. After five hard-fought rounds and thousands of votes, the people have spoken. So, in the inaugural Top of the Pack sweepstakes, the voters declared that the most iconic, greatest, most wonderful card of all-time is (drum roll please) ... Honus Wagner!
It's not overly surprising -- Wagner was the likely favorite entering the competition as his T206 card is both the most famous and most valuable piece of cardboard in history. But Hank Aaron and his mistakenly reversed Topps card gave him a run for his money in the final. Wagner won in a narrow vote, 53-47, to capture the title.
(Click here to view the bracket in full size)
Thank you to all who voted and campaigned for your favorites. Who knows, we may have some more card competitions in the future, so keep your eyes open and your collections in mint condition. And make sure you download the Loupe app and create an account for a chance to win $10,000 in free cards!
Design by Mario Clavasquin, Xavier Murillo and Cate Nolan. Interactive elements by Bryan Rogalski.