Hobby Musings: Favorite Topps Baseball sets – 2021 Topps Series I Baseball released last week, which made me think of all the storied sets in the product’s history.
I wrote a few weeks ago about why the Hank Aaron 1954 Topps rookie is an important card to me. Beyond the Aaron though, I’ve always enjoyed that set. The design is pure classic and besides the Aaron, it also has rookie cards for Ernie Banks, Al Kaline and Tommy Lasorda. The 1985 set is a close second for me.
For more input, I asked shop owners around the country for their favorite Topps Baseball set of all time.
My favorite base Topps set is easily 1953. I feel every card is a piece of art. The 1953 Mickey Mantle has always been my favorite base Mantle and the Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson cards are equally amazing. Lastly the backs are so well designed from the large font of the set # to the bio, stats, and facsimile signature superimposed across it. (Matt Myers, Omaha Sports Cards)
1992 Topps would have to be my favorite as that was the product that got me hooked into ripping packs as a kid. I remember every ounce of change I could find I would head down to the local candy shop daily to buy those packs trying to pull Manny Ramirez, Cliff Floyd and Brien Taylor RCs. Best part was searching for Topps Gold cards and scratching every Match The Stats Game in the packs. (Ryan Bannister, RbiCru7 Sports Cards and Collectibles LLC)
My favorite Topps Baseball base set of all time is the 1956 Topps set. I love the layout, design and look of the card as well as the colors. Many of the cards have such vivid colors and to think of the technology in that era compared with today’s technology, I think it’s quite impressive that they look the way they do. In fact, I tell that to our customers all the time. For me, they’ve stood the test of time and would certainly be very collectable today if they were released in the present time. (Donna Rubin, American Legends)
After careful thought, I ultimately landed on 1953 being my favorite base set Topps has produced. There is just something about that set that is really beautiful. Each card looks more like a piece of art, than a baseball card. As a collector myself, it is also a set that is important to me as I cannot afford a 1952 Topps Mantle, but the 1953 has been a great replacement in my key RC collection. I enjoy sets that have challenging short prints, which 53 does. The Willie Mays image is one of my favorites! 1953 is a base set I intend to eventually build, just need to get the Mays in order to be aggressive completing it. I feel the best stretch of Topps sets is 1965-67. That three-year run has always been my favorite. Great rookies, clean set designs and plenty of tough short prints you don’t see a whole lot. (Chad Weldon, Sports Card Junction)
55 Topps. Roberto (Clemente) and (Ted) Williams, Roberto a great man and gone way too soon. Growing up in Central PA, my neighbors were from Pittsburgh, they had so much stuff and I just remember it from those days and who Clemente was, and what he was all about. (Chris Keller, Top Shelf Breaks)
1965 Topps– Just love the classic clean design. Plus loaded with HOF rookies. (Mark Hansen, Legacy Sports Cards)
My favorite Topps Baseball set is the 1957 year. I have always been drawn to that set for many reasons. I love how they chose so many cool action shots like the Mantle and Mays instead of just head shots. Unlike some of the sets from the 1950’s like the 1959 where you lose so much of the photo area to card design, you get a well framed picture of the player. The off white/gray border screams vintage to me. It is the first standard sized card from Topps so storage is much easier. Also the rookie selection is pretty strong with Brooks Robinson, Don Drysdale and Frank Robinson among others. As for the back (which also counts), I love the complete player stats, the cartoons which are so much fun and the great player bios that are included. I have never owned a complete set before and if one came in, it might just stay in my PC. (Mike Fruitman, Mike’s Stadium Sportscards)
Some of our GTS staff weighed in as well.
1957, the first now standard-size set and Topps used a really solid design accompanied with really sharp photos to introduce the new sized cards to collectors. The preponderance of stars and superstars in the first two series indicated how concerned they were with the size switch. However, the greatness of the simplicity won out and 57 is the classic turning point set. (Rich Klein)
As much as I love the 1985 series for the Puckett RC and 1984 as being the first I ever broke packs of, I have to go with 1991. Yes it was horribly over-printed, but the design resonates and Chipper’s RC holds its value well. Add the Desert Storm cards and you’ve got an underappreciated classic. (Jon Waldman)