More 59s from the Shriners

So going to try to bang out a quick, long-awaited post as I have absolutely had no time lately. I feel as the last two weeks have been barely sleep, work, eat, freelance, barely sleep, feed the dog, let out the dog, feed the cats, pick up the kids stuff, soccer games, practices, and on and on and on. So before I start what hopefully will just be an hour of freelance, here are the 1959 Topps I was able to grab at the Shriner’s show a couple of weeks ago.

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First up, several cards that I found to be favorites of mine. The set’s opening card Ford Frick, the Commissioner of Baseball. Frick was the National League president from 1934 to 1951, and then became the third Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1951 to 1965. The Blasingame and Bolling cards are classic fielding poses from the 1950’s sets. Something about those cards and the ballparks in the background always get my attention. Don’s is set in Wrigley and there’s no mistaking the classic facade of Old Yankee Stadium on the Bolling card. I found Tex Clevenger’s card interesting as it has (maybe that day’s starter) a pitcher warming up with the catcher in the background.

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Next up, some miscellaneous stars and well knowns. Bobby Thomson was winding down his career and would move onto Boston in the 1960 Topps set. Billy Martin had drunk himself out of New York and Billy Pierce was one of the top American League hurlers of the 50s. Cool to see the LA Coliseum in the background of Gil Hodges’ card. Gil would complete a three-year run of Gold Gloves at the conclusion of 1959. It was also his last year he would hit for double digits in home runs (25).

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More semi-stars and no I didn’t mean to segregate so my apologies, completely random. 1959 was Larry Doby’s last card. The former 7-time, American League All-Star would split his last season between Detroit and the Chicago White Sox. In only thirty-nine games, he would 26-113, 0 HRs, 13 RBI, and hit only .230. At age 35, he would out of baseball. Here’s an interesting fact about Minnie Minoso that I just learned … he led the American League in hit-by-pitch TEN TIMES!! Including a streak of six years from 1956-1961.

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Next were a bunch of Red Sox I still needed for my set. Ike Delock pitched all but 7 games in his career for Boston. If you happen to be a Sammy White super collector, you better be ready to spend some dough! He happens to be in a number of tough food issues from the 1950s. 1953 First National Supermarkets (Stop & Shop I believe), 1954 Red Heart Dog Food, 1954 Wilson Franks, 1955 Wilson Franks Booklets, and if those aren’t tough enough, he’s in the 1952 Topps high number series. Yikes!!!

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A handful of ex-Red Sox. Bob Smith is another (and not the same Bob Smith pictured as a Red Sox, 1958 Topps) guy I need to create a custom card for my All-Time Red Sox collection. Add Marv Grissom to that list. I do have a pretty decent B&W photo and where he played for the Sox in 1953, makes it easy to create a custom 1953 Bowman B&W card.

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Team cards galore!!! All but the Red Sox is marked but I got these for fifty cents apiece. I do wonder as it just caught my attention, why the Cubs card has “Cubs Team” and the other team cards do not. And why were the Cubs in all those team cards from the 1970s just their little heads ala 1963?? I always wondered why, why, why????

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Next up, some nice high numbers, one in particular Darrell Johnson was given to me for free by Mathew at Number 5 Type Collection who I met via Mark Hoyle at the show.

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And lastly, more cards from the high number series—the All-Star variety!! This batch of high number cards brings me to only nineteen more I need in the tough series. Of course, of those include the Bob Gibson rookie, Campanella, and All-Star cards of Mantle and Mays.

All in all, I ended completing eight pages in the 59 album, including one in the high series. And with that, off to do some freelance work and hopefully I’ll have some time to bang out a couple of quick custom cards that won’t need much work (ie; 1968 Floyd Robinson).

A Whole New Game

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1968 Topps Game

The 1968 Topps Game cards are probably the most popular insert set of the 1960’s. This 33-card set full of Hall of Famers measure just smaller than a standard size 1968 Topps bubble gum card. They were issued with the 1968 regular baseball cards and are very similar to the Topps Red Back and Blue Back sets issued in 1951. The cards were designed to be used as a baseball card game. I also believe that these 1968 Topps Game cards were also sold in complete box sets.

I had picked up about eight of these cards over the last year to go at the back of the 1968 Topps set I am working on. However, I saw an auction for a complete set that I couldn’t say no and also just a smidge over $40. The Mantle has some wear but alone runs anywhere from $20–$40 in this condition.

Looking at the Matty Alou (and Clemente) reminded me to ask Pirates fans or Uni-Watch fans, why did the Pirates have those sewn/glued on rectangle “P” patches on these hats in the 1960’s? No other team did this to my knowledge.

I do wonder, how a couple of players failed to make the cut. Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tony Oliva, Boog Powell just to name a few. Overall, this is a beautiful set and a real winner.

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A Display of Power

While trying to add to my growing 1959 Topps set, I came across one auction that led me to look at the sellers other items. Low and behold, he had six 1959 Topps star cards I was going to need! I pretty much pounced at the last second of each of these auctions. Sure the condition isn’t top notch, but it’s right in my wheelhouse to complete a set like this. We have four HoFers, plus Maris second year, and a high number All-Star card.

The colors on each of these pop—especially on the Say Hey kid’s card. All had clean backs and speaking of backs—check out these stats …

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These two were absolute monsters as they began carving out Hall of Fame careers in the mid and late 1950’s. Entering the 1959 season, Aaron and Mays had already won MVP Awards, nine All-Star selections, and three Gold Gloves! Moving to the opposite coast Mays enjoyed one of his better seasons as a Giant, the first as San Francisco.

I’m making some great headway in this set, but do have some higher priced cards to track down. Among those, Sandy Koufax (#163),  Bob Gibson rookie (#514), and Mickey Mantle (#564) All-Star card.

Anyone that has even one or two 1959 Topps cards, hit me up. I have many commons and stars from 1954 through the present. I would love to help other collectors cross off some needs on their own sets. Of my 100 dupes from my partial set lot, 63 are headed to Shane at Shoebox Legends as I help him with his own 1959 Topps Set. Thank you for reading.