From 1960 to 1977–with the exceptions of 1966 and 1976–Topps included in their set World Series cards that highlighted each of the previous year’s games. Collectors could acquire four, five, six or seven cards depending on the length of the “Fall Classic.” The front usually featured the star of the game, a brief headline and the box score on the back. For example, these are from 1968 (showing games from the 1967 Series).
Additionally, an extra card was included that provided the total series stats on back and a celebration photo on the front. The celebrants were either in the euphoric clubhouse or cavorting on the field. The cards didn’t always favor star players since coaches, managers and benchwarmers all show up. This practice lasted until ’77 with exception of ’66. Also celebration cards for the first three years of the League Championship Series were produced. Let’s take a look at the celebrating champs.
The Dodgers are the happy champs in this ’60 card. In only their second year in LA, the Dodgers took down the White Sox in six games in ‘59. The man getting soaked with “suds” in the Comiskey Park clubhouse is pitching coach Joe Becker.
The architect of the most famous “walk-off” homer in history, Bill Mazeroski, is fittingly featured on the 1961 card. Teammate Gino Cimoli clowns around with a fedora.
This happy trio is all smiles after clinching the ’61 championship in five games. On the left is Johnny Blanchard who started in right field in game five and went three for four. Journeyman Bud Daley (middle) replaced Ralph Terry in the 3rd inning and went the rest of the way for the victory. Elston Howard rounds out the group in this ‘62 card. Notice the skylight in the Crosley Field clubhouse.
Series MVP Ralph Terry and Hall-of-Fame great Whitey Ford “whoop it up” in this ‘63 card after defeating the Giants in a close seven game series in ’62.
The ’64 celebration card moves from clubhouse to the field as the ’63 champion Dodgers mob Sandy Koufax after the four game “sweep “of the Yankees. Number 24 is manager Walt Alston, 23 is Bart Shirley, 7 belongs to Lee Walls and 33 is pitching coach Joe Becker.
Cardinals Tim McCarver and Bob Gibson embrace as others pile on after the last out in game seven of the ’64 series in this ’65 card. Incidentally, this card along with the previous celebration photos were colorized black and white photos. The artist who did the colorization painted the Cardinals caps blue instead of red. ’64 was the year St. Louis starting wearing red caps at home. The accompanying photo and this video show the red “lids” and this article explains it all.
Topps didn’t include World Series cards in the ’66 set.
After sweeping the Dodgers in four games to win the ’66 title, game four winner Dave McNally and manager Hank Bauer embrace. Bauer appears to have been the recipient of a “shaving cream pie” to the face. As you can see, Topps switches to black-and-white photos for the World Series cards in ’67. The “TV screen” format reminds me of a black and white portable I had in my room as a kid.
In ’68, the Cardinals celebrate after waking up the “Impossible Dream” Red Sox by winning the ’67 series in seven games. ’67 NL MVP Orlando Cepeda is doused with Champaign by an unknown player as Tim McCarver (far left), future Seattle Pilots manager Joe Schultz (back) and Nelson Briles join in the fun. The player in foreground appears to be Joe Horner with Dal Maxvill beside him. Joe Schultz undoubtedly “pounded the old Budweiser” at some point during the celebration.
Another black-and-white photo graces the ’69 card with the victorious ‘68 Tigers ecstatic after eking out a seven game win versus St. Louis. 31 game winner, Denny McClain (center), joins the hat-wearing Dick McAuliffe and slugger Willie Horton in jubilation.
1969 marked the beginning of divisional play which necessitated League Championship Series. In ’70, Topps created cards for each game and included pennant-clinching celebration cards. The “Miracle Mets” are number one in the NL as Ken Boswell, Tommy Agee, Nolen Ryan and Wayne Garrett attest. Frank Robinson, Paul Blair, Andy Etchebarren and Davey Johnson celebrate winning the AL flag for the Orioles.
The Mets pull off an incredible upset in the World Series, winning in five games. Ed Kranepool, Tug McGraw, Ed Charles and Ken Boswell celebrate “one for the record book.” Bud Harrelson is in the back with the unbuttoned jersey
Topps goes with a “sepia tone” look for the 1971 playoff cards. Lee May, Woody Woodward and Angel Bravo congratulate Bobby Tolan for helping defeat the Pirates. Davey Johnson and Andy Etchebarren show up again along with Curt Motton, coaches Billy Hunter and George Bamburger and Boog Powell in the AL card as the Orioles record their second straight sweep of the Twins.
The ‘71World Series card is in full-color with Andy Etchebarren, Merv Rettenmund, Mike Cuellar, and Boog Powell celebrating after wrapping up the Series in five games in ‘70. Not sure of the player in the right foreground, though it could be Tom Shopay.
The Pirates and Orioles pennants in ’71 are commemorated in ’72 with Brooks Robinson shaking hands with Mark Belanger and Jackie Hernandez making a catch in front of Willie Stargell.
The buoyant Bucs celebrate a series win with Manny Sanguillen hugging manager Danny Murtaugh, Steve Blass is next, Jose Pagan is on the right in front and # 44, Coach Frank Oceak, rushes to the pile.
Topps went with one playoff card for each league in ’73 and ‘74 depicting action shots but not a true celebration. In ’75 one card featuring both LCS’s is produced. Our remaining cards are for the World Series.
The A’s win the first of three titles in ’72. The traditional pile on pitcher and catcher photo is used in the ’73 version as Rollie Fingers, catcher Dave Duncan and an obscured Sal Bando are pounced on by Ken Holtzman and a leaping Ted Kubiak in the back. The Red walking in the background is third base coach Alex Grammas. Number 41 is A’s Coach Jerry Adair.
The A’s win again in ’73 producing a ’74 celebration card showing Sal Bando and Ray Fosse embracing Darold Knowles after the final out of game seven against the improbable National League champion Mets.
In this ’75 Rollie Fingers is congratulated for beating the Dodgers in five games in ’74 by Reggie Jackson and pitching coach, Wes Stock, in the white coach’s cap. The numberless bat boy might be Stanley Burrell, who will become famous as the pioneering “hip hop” artist, MC Hammer.
Burrell worked in various capacities with the A’s from ’73-’80. “Hammer’s” primary role was providing play-by-play over the phone for Charlie Finley when he was out of town. Also, he spied on the players and reported their antics to Charlie. Reggie Jackson nicknamed Stanley “Hammer” due to his resemblance to Henry Aaron.
UPDATE: MC Hammer himself has confirmed that he is not pictured on the card. But he did tell us who is!
In ’76 Topps departs from the practice of issuing a card for each game, producing only one card. The center picture is of the Reds celebrating their win over Boston in a classic series. Tony Perez hugs closer Will McEnaney and a hidden Johnny Bench. Joe Morgan is on the right and I believe Terry Crowley is the player coming up in the rear. I am unsure of the other jubilant guy.
Topps is back to producing a separate celebration card in ’77 with Will McEnaney “reaching for the sky” after recording the final out of the ’76 series sweep against the Yankees. First baseman, Tony Perez, is the other player.
If you know of more contemporary celebration cards or versions from manufacturers other than Topps, please leave a comment here or on Twitter.
6 thoughts on “The Champs Celebrate”
I was trying to figure out which photo depicts the highest degree of inebriation. Looking ahead to the rest of the night its probably the 61/62 Yankees shots, since they are likely all headed to a whorehouse. But as for inebriation at the time of the photo being snapped, it might be the 67 Cardinals.
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I’m sure the old Budweiser was liberally pounded.
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Isn’t the guy next to Terry in the ’63 card Moose Skowron? Doesn’t look anything like Whitey (from the hair alone)
If you look at color shots of Ford, his hair was more Brown than white. It’s conceivable that it’s not White, but it doesn’t look like Skowron. His features were very distinctive. However I am not 100% certain it’s Whitey.
Thanks for this article. It answers a lot of questions. In regard to the 1968 “Cardinals Celebrate” card, the unknown player pouring champagne has a number 9 on his jacket sleeve. According to Baseball Almanac, the ’67 Cards had only two players on their roster whose number ended in 9: Roger Maris (#9) and Larry Jaster (#39). Since it appears that the nine on the jacket sleeve is the second digit of a two digit number, the first being obscured, I think it’s a safe bet the unknown player is Larry Jaster.
The Oriole in the right foreground of the O’s Convincing Victory card is a very young Bobby Grich wearing #16. I don’t think Grich was activated, but he was there.