Series on Topps Baseball Cards

Partly to test out our brand new blog (for SABR’s Baseball Cards committee), I thought I would provide links to a series of articles I wrote in the spring of 2016 on Topps baseball cards. Here they are.

April 7. Part 1: Introduction.

April 14. Part 2: Taking Over. (focus on 1956-57)

April 21. Part 3: Innovative Subsets. (focus on 1958-61)

April 28. Part 4: Men Without Hats. (focus on 1962-63)

May 5. Part 5: Rookie Cards. (focus on 1964-67)

May 12. Part 6: Conflict. (focus on 1968-69)

May 19. Part 7: Collecting. (focus on 1970-71)

May 26. Part 8: Grey Backs. (focus on 1972-75)

June 2. Part 9: Competition. (focus on 1976-80)

June 9. Part 10: The Best of the Best.

More posts like this coming.

— Mark Armour

Author: Mark Armour

Long-time SABR member, founder and past chairman of the Baseball Cards Committee, founder and past chairman (2002-2016) of the Biography Project, current President of the SABR board of directors, author of several books and dozens of articles on baseball. See

7 thoughts on “Series on Topps Baseball Cards”

  1. Topps did a lot of airbrushing on the action photos in the lower right card fronts of the ’63 set. A prime example is the Oriole symbol painted on Luis Aparicio’s hat. Oddly — I suppose it’s because the card is one of the first in the ’63 series — pitcher Pete Burnside is shown in his full Senators’ uniform, even though he is listed as a Baltimore Oriole, to whom he had been traded.


    1. (You should sign your comments so everyone knows who you are!).

      Also, this would be a great blog post — a look at the entire 1963 set and how Topps handles various team transfers. I would love to see this for each year. One example I remember — in April 1969 (after the season started) the Indians and Red Sox made a six-player trade. Dick Ellsworth actually showed up in a late series as an Indian, while the other five were all with their old teams. If you sort your set by teams, as I do, you get a collection of players who were not necessarily teammates.


      1. I had a bit of trouble creating an account on that blog site, thanks mostly to my own ineptitude, but i will try to get my real name (Andrew Sharp) up there. I’ll work on a piece about the ’63s. Some of the comments about players on the back, btw, are a hoot, ie, “Bill will always remember his dramatic home which won the 1960 World Series.”


  2. Over the past several months, and I am pretty sure that Mark inspired, this, I’ve been working on beefing up my collection of cards of the 1960s. I’ve been enjoying the design, that is, baseball cards as a work of art. The 1961 Topps card is simple is nature, though, my favorite will always be the 1965 series.


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