Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Best of the 1950's

I've been looking for an excuse to show off some of my favorites from the vintage cards framed on my wall. So I decided to dedicate a post to them today, mainly because I can't really think of anything else to write about at the moment.

Okay, the following cards aren't really "dime box" material, which is why I've largely strayed away from showcasing game-used or autographs thus far on this blog. But these cards are some of my favorites, and I enjoy showing off vintage cards much more than memorabilia. Plus, as you'll see from their condition, they weren't all that expensive, either. I didn't pay more than a few bucks for any of the following cards. I'll show off my favorite card from each Topps set from 1952 to 1959 (Hoyt Wilhelm cards not included since I've already dedicated a couple posts to him).

The 1950's are often called the "Golden Age of Baseball". In many ways, the cards deserve that honor, too.

1952 Topps #132 Clyde Kluttz

Why is this one my favorite? Because it's the only '52 Topps card I own. I set out to finally purchase a 1952 card a few years ago, but I didn't have the money to buy a card of anyone I'd heard of. So I settled for the guy with the best name. It doesn't get much better than "Clyde Kluttz" in that department.

 1953 Topps #119 Johnny Sain

Surprisingly, this card is listed as a short-print in Beckett. I didn't even know they had short-prints in 1953. This is Sain's final Topps issue (he had a card in the '52 set). Sain was part of the famous "Spahn and Sain...pray for rain" Braves pitching staff of the 1940's. I picked this one up for $4 earlier this year.

1954 Topps #45 Richie Ashburn

I'm glad this card is in baaaaad shape, because I could never even dream of owning an upgraded copy. This could quite possibly be my favorite 1950's card of anyone not named Hoyt Wilhelm. Ashburn is of my favorites from the "golden" age, and he owns one of the best "baseball names" in history. I remember seeing this one in a big low-grade vintage box at a card show a long time ago. I think I paid around five or six bucks for it.

1955 Topps #145 Elmer Valo

I only own two cards from the '55 set. This Valo card and a Stan Hack manager card. It was tough to choose between the two, but I chose this one. Valo is one of the few Czechoslovakians to ever play major league baseball. His 1957 Topps issue is one of the finest shots of any 1950's baseball cards.

1956 Topps #250 Larry Doby

I found this one and the '53 Johnny Sain I previously mentioned at the same card show. I was really surprised when I saw this card priced at only $4. A 1956 Topps card of the first African-American to play in the AL and a Hall of Famer. For only $4? Sold.

1957 Topps #62 Billy Martin

The 1957 Topps issue was the start of the "normal" card size that is still in use today. There's some writing (in between Martin's arms) and a big print line running down the front of the card, but who cares? It's Billy Martin as a Yankee!

1958 Topps #288 Harmon Killebrew

This one gives the Ashburn a run for its money as my favorite non-Hoyt Wilhelm card from the '50s. I found this one and the Ashburn in the same box at the same card show. What a box! Out of these 1950's cards, this one was probably the most expensive. A whopping $8. I'm not sure what the heck happened to the right side of this card. All I know is that it made it a lot cheaper for me.

1959 Topps #420 Rocco Colavito

I like this one because it gives "Rocky" Colavito's actual first name, Rocco. It makes him sound a lot more Italian, which is where my family hails from. Final cost: $5.

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