Buy Pete Rose, Trade Johnny Bench

A favorite childhood icon is a booming business worth millions

Memo to anyone looking for an outlandish but sound investment: Consider baseball trading cards. Those childhood icons, small rectangles of pasteboard often sold with a slab of pink bubble gum, have become a fast-growing, multimillion-dollar business. Not only are treasured cards of the past fueling a growing resale market but new and fancy product lines are popping up like Texas League singles -- all at increasingly over-the-fence prices. Powered by nostalgia and the consumer purchasing clout of the mid-'80s, the colorful collectibles are enjoying the kind of popularity normally reserved for the national pastime itself. Says Frank Barning, editor of a...