Saturday, May 26, 2012

1963 Topps Baseball #5, NL ERA Leaders

Topps spared no expense putting this league leader card together. They bought the best pair of scissors available, tossed back some Falstaff Beer, and turned five archive photos into tiny bonsai baseball players.

Topps sourced two floating heads from past sets; the other three appear to be alternates from on-field sessions that produced the regular card.

This reuse shows up throughout the decade and Don's 1963 head shot even popped up six years later (!) as 1969 Topps checklist #314.

Thanks in part to their pitcher-friendly home park at Chavez Ravine, Drysdale won 1962's NL Cy Young and Koufax followed with three more from 1963-65. Bob Shaw and Bob Purkey both reached at least one All-Star team, but never the stature of GIBSON, KOUFAX, and DRYSDALE.

Today's card sat below #30 Harvey Kuenn on the printing sheet, as seen on this mis-cut.

Topps leader card design changed to larger photos in 1964 (with more Drysdale and Koufax) and added team-specific leaders in the 1980s, with occasionally hilarious results.

Speaking of Falstaff Beer, have you enjoyed the manly pleasure of jumping from a plane right to your local bar?

Impossible to park outside the bar; parachutes are the answer.

Value: League leaders cost less than regular player cards, but the presence of three HOFers bumps this up to about $5 in low grade.

Fakes / reprints: Topps reused the 1963 style for their 2012 Heritage set, so floating heads (and--ugh!--trademark symbols) are back, with one Dodgers still pitching lights-out.


gcrl said...

however, in 2012, topps forgot to put the number 1 guy in the diamond in the middle of the card. i;ve posted before about how hilarious that photo of drysdale is - and how he looks intimidated by bob gibson on more than one occasion.

Matthew Glidden said...

Ha, true! Hadn't noticed Gibson and Drysdale's interchange on the card before, but that's spot-on.