Friday, July 17, 2009

1958 Topps Baseball #5, Willie Mays

Today's superguest built his career across both phases of the NY/SF Giants franchise and eventually closed out with the post-'mazing Mets in the early 70s. This "poor old baseball card," featuring a freshly-moved team, fits right into my low-grade 1958 set.

Card front

The card itself sacrificed everything for some fairly sharp corners. Paper loss, glue marks, and tape residue? Check, check, and check. I'm tempted to get a ball-point pen and complete Mr. Mays' look with a "NOW A MET" update.

Card back

Topps leaned on the Say Hey Kid's popularity with 3 different cards in the 1958 set. Along with #5, he co-starred with Duke Snider (#436, "Rival Fence Busters") and as a Sport Magazine All-Star (#486). I remain a little disappointed with 1958's design, given all the solid-color backgrounds and frequent sub-par posing. Think of the great 1956 design, 1957's good stab at full-color photos, and then compare it to these selections.

Something about the one-note design set a low ceiling and lessened the chance to include any really great cards. Aaron and Mantle on #418 is pretty nice, but why is it vertical instead of horizontal? It's like sticking Baby in a corner. Overall, the overuse of close-up shots, omission of stadium backgrounds, and indistinct team photos place this release lowest on Topps' 1950s totem pole. I say, "Hey, let's look at that 1956 set again."


Matt Runyon said...

Mr. Zupo has one SERIOUS brow there! I agree that the '58 set is the weakest of the 1950s, but I'd still like to have 'em! :)

Carl Crawford Cards said...

However, worst set of the '50's still qualifies as pretty awesome compared to say, the late 1980's. I see your point, though. And, the Mays is awesome in any condition!

Matthew Glidden said...

True, don't want to be dismissive of a great era for cards; it's like picking the least attractive supermodel!