Thursday, February 18, 2010

1952 Topps Baseball Card Set

The 1952 Topps Baseball Card set was the first mainstream set issued by the Topps Gum Company and far surpassed all earlier sets in size, quality and quantity.  The giant sized cards symbolized America’s new postwar prosperity and became an instant hit with collectors and set a new benchmark for the hobby.

The upstart Brooklyn based Topps company carefully planned their attack on Bowman’s dominant position in the baseball card market.  The 1952 Topps Baseball Cards were the first set that was issued in six series.  Each series was carefully proportioned with a fairly equal number of stars and players from each team.  The 1952 Topps cards were 52% bigger in size than the 1952 Bowman cards and had 61% more cards in the set.

Topps clearly saved the best for the last series that aimed directly at their hometown and biggest market.  Series #6 was a Who’s Who of Gotham stars starting with the first card in the series, #311 Mickey Mantle.  This was followed by #312 Jackie Robinson, 1951 Giants “Shot heard around the world” Hero #313 Bobby Thompson, #314 Roy Campanella and #315 Leo Durocher.

Most people can name the most valuable post-war baseball card as the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle, but few realize that it was "double printed", which means that the printed sheets contained two Mantle cards and twice as were printed when compared to normal cards.  (The first three cards of the 6th series were double prints.)  One can only guess what the value of Mickey's 1952 card would be if it were not a double print!

These cards were soon followed in the 6th Series by more stars from New York City, such as Bill Dickey and the rookie cards of Gil McDougald, Joe Black, Hoyt Wilhelm and Boston’s Eddie Mathews.  Unfortunately, most collectors would never get a chance to purchase these great cards of Series 6.  Many retailers, who had not yet become accustomed to late season attraction of the super stars in the last series, refused to buy more product in September and did not place orders for the sixth series of cards.

The 1952 Topps 6th series was distributed in such low numbers that it is the toughest and most expensive high number series in the history of collecting and the hardest set to complete.  For the next decade, Topps tried to give away these cards at various promotions, until they finally gave up and dumped the remaining 1952 Topps cards into New York Harbor!  Just think, in 1960 someone could have purchased these cards from Topps for pennies on the dollar.

Dean’s Cards is currently offering the best selection of 1952 Topps cards that we have ever seen.  We have just added about 400 of the 1952 Topps baseball cards to our inventory, including many high numbers.  Although the cards vary in condition, many grade PSA 6, PSA 7 and PSA 8.  One of the #261 Willie Mays came back as a PSA 7.5!

PSA graded the Mantle as a 5, which is a joke.  (In my humble, yet biased opinion.) If it were any other card, it would bet it came back as a 6 or 7.  Please feel free to take a look at the scan and video and see if you can see a flaw.

The very nice 1952 Topps Reprint set is available at Dean’s Cards for the budget collector.  The 1952 Topps Reprint Baseball Cards are an affordable way to buy a Complete Set or build a Team Set at an affordable price.  Here is your chance to own a 1952 Topps Mantle.

1952 Topps baseball card set facts:
  • Issued by: Topps Gum Company
  • ACC#: R414-6
  • Size: 2 5/8” x  3 3/4”
  • 407 cards.  Issued in 6 series.
  • Innovations: Largest card size to date, Largest set in number of cards, Color Team Logos, detailed player statistics and stories.
  • # of Rookie Cards: 30
  • Most Expensive Card: #311 Mickey Mantle
  • Rookie Cards of Hall-of-Famers: #392 Hoyt Wilhelm, #396 Dick Williams and #407 Ed Mathews
  • Hall-of-Fame Players: 23
  • HOF Player’s best card: #37 Duke Snider
  • HOF Player’s worst card: #33 Warren Spahn
  • Reprint set available

Willie Mays Baseball Cards

Willie Mays baseball cards are some of the most desired in the hobby.  During the decades of the 1950’s and 1960’s - Willie Mays was arguably the best player in the game or at least in the NL. (Please see Mickey Mantle)

Willie Mays was first 30 HR/30 SB guy and also the first career 300HR/300SB guy.  Not only was Willie the first real five tool player, he could probably do each of the five skills better than anyone else in the game - except for maybe Mantle.

During his playing days Willie Mays was quite popular with the fans.  My clearest memory of Willie Mays was of him playing in the 1973 post season for the Mets.  The Mets beat my Reds in 5 games to go to the World Series.  By that time, Mays’ skills were about gone, but he was still fun to watch and actually had a very respectable post-season.

The thing that I always liked about Willie Mays baseball cards was that he was one of the few super stars that did not sign an exclusive contract and had both Bowman and Topps Baseball cards from 1952 to 1955.  I am not sure how Willie managed that and have never really heard any stories about it.

Willie Mays cards in nice condition are often tough to find.  The only reason that I can think of that makes his cards so condition sensitive, is that he was so popular with the kids when the cards were issued.  It seemed that everyone wanted to handle his card.

Willie's Real Autograph
Two of the toughest Willie Mays cards to find in nice condition are his Topps cards from 1966 and 1970.  The 1966 Topps #1 Willie Mays baseball card is tough to find because it is the first card in the series.  We build a lot of 1970 Topps sets and it seems that we are always looking for the 1970 Topps #660 Willie Mays baseball card.

Our boyhood heroes usually live past their glory years and we get a chance to see what kind of people they really are - good or bad.  Willie Mays has attended many sports shows over the years and the reviews from dealers and fans have not been the best. I have never been at a show that he attended, but he has a reputation as a grumpy signer of autographs.

I am truly glad that I do not have any negative personal experiences with Mays, so I can  remember him for what he did on the field.   My hope is  that history will also remember him more for his over the shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series than for his autograph appearances.  My fear is that this will not be the case, as history has not been kind to many of the great players of the game.  Only time will tell.

Willie's Wife's Autograph
Be very careful when buying Willie Mays autographs.  Back in the day, he had his wife sign quite a few of his and baseballs. If you have a very clear and readable autograph, the chances are that she signed it.  Willie's true autograph is often a mess.

Dean’s Cards has just acquired two very nice Willie Mays cards that we are now offering for sale.  We have a 1952 Topps Willie Mays PSA 5 and 1952 Topps Willie Mays PSA 7.5 .  This is best example that I have ever seen of this card.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Retired numbers of baseball players

Here is the list of all the retired numbers in baseball.  I found it kind of fun to look through.   Topps seemed to overlook the importance of a player's number when they issued the baseball cards.

Since they went to all the trouble to compile the statistics, don't you think that Topps Baseball Cards should have included the players numbers?

Baseball cards of these players are available to view and purchase at Dean's Cards.
# Player Team
1 Billy Meyer Pirates
1 Pee Wee Reese Dodgers
1 Bobby Doerr Red Sox
1 Fred Hutchinson Reds
1 Ozzie Smith Cardinals
1 Richie Ashburn Phillies
1 Billy Martin Yankees
2 Red Schoendienst Cardinals
2 Nellie Fox White Sox
2 Tommy Lasorda Dodgers
2 Charles Gehringer Tigers
3 Babe Ruth Yankees
3 Earl Averill Indians
3 Bill Terry Giants
3 Harmon Killebrew Twins
3 Dale Murphy Braves
3 Harold Baines White Sox
4 Luke Appling White Sox
4 Earl Weaver Orioles
4 Duke Snider Dodgers
4 Ralph Kiner Pirates
4 Lou Gehrig Yankees
4 Paul Molitor Brewers
4 Mel Ott Giants
4 Joe Cronin Red Sox
5 Brooks Robinson Orioles
5 Carl Barger Marlins
5 Lou Boudreau Indians
5 George Brett Royals
5 Johnny Bench Reds
5 Willard Hershberger Reds
5 Hank Greenberg Tigers
5 Joe DiMaggio Yankees
5 Jeff Bagwell Astros
6 Johnny Pesky Red Sox
6 Steve Garvey Padres
6 Stan Musial Cardinals
6 Al Kaline Tigers
6 Tony Oliva Twins
7 Mickey Mantle Yankees
7 Craig Biggio Astros
8 Willie Stargell Pirates
8 Joe Morgan Reds
8 Yogi Berra Yankees
8 Bill Dickey Yankees
8 Gary Carter Expos
8 Cal Ripken, Jr. Orioles
8 Carl Yastrzemski Red Sox
9 Ted Williams Red Sox
9 Reggie Jackson Athletics
9 Minnie MiƱoso White Sox
9 Enos Slaughter Cardinals
9 Bill Mazeroski Pirates
9 Roger Maris Yankees
10 Sparky Anderson Reds
10 Dick Howser Royals
10 Phil Rizzuto Yankees
10 Andre Dawson Expos
10 Rusty Staub Expos
10 Ron Santo Cubs
11 Carl Hubbell Giants
11 Jim Fregosi Angels
11 Luis Aparicio White Sox
11 Paul Waner Pirates
12 Wade Boggs Rays
13 Dave Concepcion Reds
14 Ernie Banks Cubs
14 Kent Hrbek Twins
14 Larry Doby Indians
14 Ken Boyer Cardinals
14 Gil Hodges Mets
14 Jim Bunning Phillies
14 Jim Rice Red Sox
15 Thurman Munson Yankees
16 Ted Lyons White Sox
16 Whitey Ford Yankees
16 Hal Newhouser Tigers
17 Dizzy Dean Cardinals
18 Ted Kluszewski Reds
18 Mel Harder Indians
19 Bob Feller Indians
19 Billy Pierce White Sox
19 Jim Gilliam Dodgers
19 Tony Gwynn Padres
19 Robin Yount Brewers
20 Lou Brock Cardinals
20 Frank Robinson Orioles/Reds
20 Pie Traynor Pirates
20 Mike Schmidt Phillies
20 Don Sutton Dodgers
20 Frank White Royals
21 Bob Lemon Indians
21 Warren Spahn Braves
21 Roberto Clemente Pirates
22 Jim Palmer Orioles
23 Ryne Sandberg Cubs
23 Don Mattingly Yankees
23 Willie Horton Tigers
24 Tony Perez Reds
24 Willie Mays Giants
24 Walter Alston Dodgers
24 Jimmy Wynn Astros
24 Rickey Henderson Athletics
25 Jose Cruz Astros
26 Billy Williams Cubs
26 Gene Autry Angels
26 Johnny Oates Rangers
27 Carlton Fisk Red Sox
27 Catfish Hunter Athletics
27 Juan Marichal Giants
29 Rod Carew Angels/Twins
30 Orlando Cepeda Giants
30 Nolan Ryan Angels
30 Tim Raines Expos
31 Dave Winfield Padres
31 Greg Maddux Cubs/Braves
31 Ferguson Jenkins Cubs
32 Steve Carlton Phillies
32 Sandy Koufax Dodgers
32 Elston Howard Yankees
32 Jim Umbricht Astros
33 Mike Scott Astros
33 Eddie Murray Orioles
33 Honus Wagner Pirates
34 Rollie Fingers Brewers/Athletics
34 Nolan Ryan Rangers/Astros
34 Kirby Puckett Twins
35 Randy Jones Padres
35 Phil Niekro Braves
36 Gaylord Perry Giants
36 Robin Roberts Phillies
37 Casey Stengel Yankees/Mets
39 Roy Campanella Dodgers
40 Don Wilson Astros
40 Danny Murtaugh Pirates
41 Eddie Mathews Braves
41 Tom Seaver Mets
42 Jackie Robinson Dodgers/All Teams
42 Bruce Sutter Cardinals
43 Dennis Eckersley Athletics
44 Henry Aaron Braves/Brewers
44 Reggie Jackson Yankees
44 Willie McCovey Giants
45 Bob Gibson Cardinals
49 Larry Dierker Astros
49 Ron Guidry Yankees
50 Jimmie Reese Angels
53 Don Drysdale Dodgers
72 Carlton Fisk White Sox
85 August Busch, Jr. Cardinals
455 The Fans Indians