Monday, October 31, 2011

1964 Topps Baseball Coins #5, Dick Groat

Congrats to 2011 World Series winners St. Louis, who captured their 11th overall title with a string of amazing comebacks in game 6 and a dominant game 7. I had no horse in the series, so enjoyed each twist and turn for its own sake, as great October baseball.

Today's oddball coin set coincides with St. Louis' 1964 series win over the Yankees, their first since Stan Musial led the Cardinals to three titles in the 1940s. Topps packaged individual coins in baseball card wax packs that year, with 120 regular players (#1 - 120) and 44 All-Stars (#121 - 164).

These three All-Star variations run the master set (normal + variations) to 167 total.
  • #131 Mickey Mantle AS (left- and right-handed poses)
  • #161 Wayne Causey AS ("NL" vs. "AL")
  • #162 Chuck Hinton AS ("NL" vs. "AL")

All-Star coins dropped the "collect the entire set of 120 All-Stars" headline, since their own numbers exceeded 120. As with other sets, the (c) T.C.G. tagline stands for Topps Chewing Gum, since just about everything they created was sold to move sweetened gum or candy.

Dick Groat's All-Star coin, #147

Groat pulled a hidden-ball trick on Mickey Mantle in 1964's World Series, one of only two known successful instances in the post-season. Dick faked a return throw to pitcher Roger Craig in the third inning of game four and caught Mantle off second when he took a lead. The play ended New York's threat and Ken Boyer's grand slam powered St. Louis to a 4-3 win. Haven't seen someone try that lately in a major league game--anyone witness one this year?

Value: Low-grade coins cost $1 or so, up to several dollars for HOFers like Mantle.

Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any in the marketplace and it'd be a hard set to fake.

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