Wednesday, December 21, 2011

1964 Topps Rookie All-Star Baseball Banquet #5, Election Committee (with Jackie Robinson)

Thanks to his HOF career and all-round significance, one of these Topps Rookie All-Star Team Honorary Election Committee members is somewhat better-known than the others. See if you can identify him. :-)

4" x 6" card front (blank back)

This stately group of gentlemen helped pick Topps All-Star Rookies between 1959 and 1964, usually designated as such on the card itself. Willie McCovey's rookie card is one of the best.

1960 Topps #316, Willie McCovey 

In 1959, collectors could mail in votes for All-Star Rookies, thus the "selected by the youth of America" tagline.

Topps hosted a 1964 banquet in honor of their trophy-winning ballplayers and gave them a commemorative boxed set of 35 cards. Today's #5 includes a "page 5" note at lower-right because their set copied the event's full-sized program design note-for-note.

Will only a few hundred attendees, it's no surprise that very few All-Star Rookie boxes reached the 21st-century collectors market. Some singles appear on eBay, but complete sets usually sell at higher-profile auctions.

New York uniform trivia #1: Yankee reliever par excellence Mariano Rivera continues to hum along as the last guy to wear All-Star Rookie consultant Jackie Robinson's #42. The MLB retired for his uniform number for all teams in 1997, but allowed active players to continue using it.

New York uniform trivia #2: Once New York retires Derek Jeter's #2, the only active number under #11 will be #6, which they've left unissued since Joe Torre's departure in 2007. Jeter might be the last Yankee to wear single-digit pinstripes.

New York uniform trivia #3: The Yankees retired #8 for HOF catchers Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey at a shared ceremony on July 22, 1972, one of baseball's few such double-dips.

Superlative card blog The Topps Archives showed scans of these 1964 Rookie All-Star cards (and program) in A Moveable Feast? and Feast on This. (The latter article includes a full 35-card checklist.)

Value: I bought this #5 for $120 on eBay. Since so few exist, the market price varies significantly based on how many collectors go for a given auction or listing.

Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any in the marketplace. Not sure if enough people care about this set to make reprinting it worthwhile. (Jackie Robinson's popular for collectors, so #5 would be vulnerable to fakery if any exists.)

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