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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ted Williams Baseball Cards

Ted Williams baseball cards are some of the most sought after cards in the hobby.  Since Dean’s Cards is featuring the 1939 Play Ball set break that includes the Ted Williams Rookie Card this week, it is an ideal time for Ted to be our Player of the Week.

Williams was the best pure hitter in the American League for both the decades of the 1940’s and 1950’s.  He was an American Hero that took almost five seasons off to fight in two wars.  If Ted did not take time off to be a fighter pilot, he could have possibly broken Babe Ruth’s All-Time Home Run record.

Ted Williams is often compared to Joe Dimaggio as the most popular players of their day.  That debate will never end, but in terms of the most popular in terms of collectors, the nod has to go to Williams because he played nine years after Joe D retired and had many more cards than the Yankee Clipper.  Joe DiMaggio was never featured on a contemporary Bowman or Topps Card.

Ted Williams has to be the only player to have contemporary cards issued by Play Ball, Bowman, Topps and Fleer.  Williams really seemed to know how to work the card companies for the most money possible.

The 1939 Play Ball #92 Ted Williams Rookie Card is a fresh change for many of the portrait shots of that particular set.  The 1940 Play Ball and 1941 Play Ball Ted Williams cards are case in point.

Williams signed with Bowman in 1950.  The 1950 Bowman and 1951 Bowman Ted Williams baseball cards are nice looking – although similar cards.  Ted was in Korea and did not have cards issued in 1952 or 1953.  Ted Williams reprint cards are available for 1939 Play Ball, 1940 Play Ball, 1941 Play Ball, 1950 Bowman and 1951 Bowman.

The 1954 Bowman #66 Ted Williams card is his most valuable card.  Due to a contract dispute, the card was pulled and very few were printed.  Ted had jumped to Topps in 1954 for the big bucks and is featured on both the first and last cards of the 1954 Topps set.  Years later, Williams was one of the few players to not give permission for his card to be reprinted in the 1954 Topps Reprint Set.

Williams remained with Topps through 1958, until he jumped to Fleer in 1959 to have an entire set of cards printed about his life story.  1959 Fleer #68 "Ted Signs for 1959" is the most expensive card of the set due to being pulled from production, because Bucky Harris did not want Fleer using his image.

Be careful when buying this 1959 Fleer #68 card as it was heavily counterfeited back in the 1970’s.  Dean’s Cards has seen quite a few 1959 Fleer sets where the seller was unaware that his #68 was a fake!  A counterfeit card #68 looks whiter than other 1959 Fleer cards when placed in the stack, has a thicker paper stock and somewhat of a checker board pattern on the front of the card.

Ted's last Topps cards feature him as the Senators manager from 1969 to 1972.