DOUBLE-THREAT JOURNALIST
Sports Card Monthly|March 2021
WRITER AND SPORTS CARTOONIST MURRAY OLDERMAN ACCOMPLISHED A LOT IN HIS 98 YEARS, INCLUDING DRAWING SOME OF THE EARLIEST SKETCH CARDS
CHRIS MIXER

MURRAY OLDERMAN WAS A LEGENDARY SPORTS CARTOONIST FOR OVER 60 YEARS. AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS CAREER, HIS CARTOONS COULD BE SEEN IN MORE THAN 750 NEWSPAPERS. MR. OLDERMAN’S IMPRESSIVE RESUME EVEN INCLUDES HIM DRAWING TRADING CARD ART FOR TOPPS IN THE 1950S. IN 1985 HE RETIRED AS A NEWSPAPER CARTOONIST, BUT TOPPS HAD ONE LAST PROJECT FOR HIM IN 2005.

Topps Gallery has been around baseball card circles since 1996, but didn’t issue a release in 2004. The Topps non-sports department had been making sketch cards for sets since 2001 under then art director, Jeff Zapata. In an effort to reinvigorate the Topps Gallery brand, Topps’ sports department turned to Zapata in 2005 to learn what it would take to insert sketch cards into their sports product for the first time. Jeff recommended that a known and respected artist was more buzzworthy than an up-and-comer, so Topps struck a deal with Murray Olderman.

Olderman wasn’t a classically trained artist. Instead he studied journalism at the University of Missouri, where in 1941 he was able to publish one of his drawings in The Columbia Missourian newspaper. After graduating Mizzou with a Bachelor of Journalism degree, he continued his education at Stanford University with a Bachelor of Science in Humanities, and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism with a Master’s degree in Journalism. A big break came when he was then hired by the McClatchy Newspapers of Sacramento as a sports cartoonist.

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