Sy Berger, who developed the design of the modern baseball card, died on Sunday of natural causes at the age of 91. His family announced his death.
Baseball cards still used black-and-white photos before Berger arrived at Topps in 1947. In fact, when he started with the company, he was marketing cards featuring figures such as Davy Crockett before he helped Topps go into the baseball market in 1951. Berger helped create baseball cards that came in color with photos taken at Spring Training, containing stats and a copy of the player's signature that were unveiled in the 1950s. He also began to persuade players to sign exclusive contracts with Topps, and the company eventually began to buy out its competitors.
Eventually, he became the vice president of Topps before retiring in 1997 to serve as a consultant for the company.
Berger was born in New York and grew up collecting baseball cards during a time when the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants were in town. He graduated from Bucknell University with an accounting degree after serving in the Army Air Forces during World War II.
Berger is survived by his wife Gloria, his daughter Maxine Berger-Bienstock and his two sons, Glenn and Gary.
Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.