Tuesday, January 14, 2014

1962 Topps Combo Player Cards

Not too long back I shared my complete Giants team set from the 1962 Topps set.  1962 Topps seems to be a favorite with collectors with its distinctive wood grain borders and a checklist full of Hall of Famers and stars.  One of my favorite parts of sets from this era are the multiplayer cards and the Giants were lucky enough to be featured in two of these cards.  I thought it would be fun to take a little deeper look of these 2 cards.

This card features a nice photo of the two 1961 Home Run Leaders in baseball.  I am guessing this must have been taken at an All Star Game as this was well before inter-league play brought teams from the NL and AL together.  The Baby Bull is showcasing a nice bat barrel shot while packing his glove under his arm. Cepeda looks much taller that Maris in this picture and a quick look at baseball-reference.com shows Orlando listed at 6' 2" and Roger at 6' 0" - this picture makes it seem like a bigger difference.  I like the design with the simple white oval overlaying the wood grain containing the text.

With this being the 1962 set, this card celebrates Roger Maris' record setting year of 1961 when he broke the Babe's record with 61 homers.  I have heard Maris' season referred to as a fluke but it was actually his second great season in a row, not too many players have put together back to back MVP seasons. Roger barely beat out teammate Mickey Mantle winning 202-198 in points and 7-6 in first place votes.

Orlando lead the NL in HR and RBI but came in second in the NL MVP voting losing out to Frank Robinson. Interestingly Robinson got 15 of 16 first place votes with the other vote going to Reds pitcher Joey Jay who went 21-10 with a 3.53 ERA.  Cepeda would get his MVP with the Cardinals in 1967.

I love the fact that the Home Run Leaders were celebrated in a multiplayer card such as this.

The second multiplayer card featuring a Giant in 1962 showcases arguable the two best all around players in the game at the time and perhaps in history.  This picture also appears to have been taking at the All Star game and I believe you have Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron in the background. I am not quite sure who is over Mickey's right shoulder.  This card is titled Managers' Dream and I can't imagine a sweeter dream from a manager than having one of these two patrol center field for your team.  Great picture and great subject matter make for a great card I am so happy to have in my collection.

The back of this card really celebrates the careers to this point of both players.  They obviously have amazing credentials.  While neither player won the MVP award in 1961, both had great years.  Mays had 40 HRs, 123 RBI and batted .308.  He made his annual trip to the All-Star Game and won a Gold Glove.  Mantle had 54 HRs and 128 RBI and batted .317.  He too made the All-Star Game (he won his only Gold Glove one year later) and challenged the Babe's record with teammate Roger Maris.  The card back and most stories I hear indicate that injuries spoiled his bid but he did play in 153 of 162 games so the 7 extra homers were far from a given had he remained healthy.  Two of the greatest players on one of my favorite vintage cards.

I have declared that I am a fan of these multiplayer cards, do you like them?  Have a favorite?

1 comment:

  1. I very much like them!! I am thinking of making these kind of vintage multiplayer cards a focus one of these days...