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Thursday, February 18, 2010

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.