A look back at 1962 Topps

20 04 2011

I’m through the 1980’s for my lifetime Topps project, so I’m going to take a brief pause from said project (at least as far as posting on this blog).  Eventually, I’ll get through this project and will set some new “collecting goals”.  I think one of the things I’m going to start collecting will be various retro sets like Heritage that I missed out on in my years away from the hobby.  I’ll start now doing some similar stuff with what I do for each Topps set – except first I’ll do posts for the original set the “retro set” is paying homage to.  I’m starting with this year’s Heritage set – so first up is 1962 Topps.  If you’re reading this, and you know any info I could add – feel free to post a comment (and thanks!).

598 cards in the set – 11 more than the year before.

  • Subsets: League Leaders (#51-60), Babe Ruth Special (#135-144), World Series (#232-237), In Action (#311-319), Sport Magazine All-Stars (#390-399, #466-475), Rookie Parade (#591-598), Multi-player specials (11 cards throughout), Team Cards (18 cards throughout), Managers (19 cards throughout), Topps All-Star Rookies (9 cards throughout).  For the third year, Topps announced an All-Star Rookie team and placed a trophy on the players’ cards in the set.  The Babe Ruth special was a 10-card subset honoring the Babe after Roger Maris had passed his season home run record the year before.  In Action cards were a new subset showcasing multiple shots of star players making a specified play.  The All-Stars were selected by Sport Magazine – Topps was alternating years between that publication and the Sporting News.  Rookie Parade was the first multi-player rookie card subset featured 4 or 5 players in the “floating head” design.
  • Set Design: The design features a wood-grain border around a player photo.  The lower right hand corner made to appear as if it is peeling away, with the player name, team and position shown in this corner.  Certain players were denoted as rookies with a yellow or white star on their card.  The back features lighter-gray cardstock with reddish-brown areas.  The card number is in the upper left corner inside a baseball, next to the player name, team and biographical information.  Below this is a write-up of the player, next to a comic and a quick blurb on the right hand side.  The player’s prior year and lifetime statistics are at the bottom in a reddish-brown box that continues with the wood-grain theme from the front of the card.
  • Packs: Topps issued the set in 7 series (see below).  Cards were available in 5-card wax packs (5¢) that came 24 to a box, 1-card wax packs (1¢) and 11-card cello packs (10¢).  As was usual for the time – the last series is perceived as rarer than the rest.  There are also some cards in that series that were short-printed.
    • Series One #1 – 109
    • Series Two #110-196
    • Series Three #197-283
    • Series Four #284-370
    • Series Five #371-446
    • Series Six #447-522
    • Series Seven #523-598
  • Rookies: Lou Brock, Gaylord Perry, Joe Torre and Boog Powell are the key rookie cards from this set.  Tim McCarver also had his RC in the set, and Bob Uecker and Sam McDowell were both part of the Rookie Parade subset.
  • Hall of Fame: There are 40 41 (or 42 44 – depending if you count the broadcasters) Hall of Famers in this set.
    • Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente, Ernie Banks, Casey Stengel, Eddie Mathews, Orlando Cepeda, Brooks Robinson, Stan Musial, Harmon Killebrew, Warren Spahn, Babe Ruth (subset), Miller Huggins (as part of the Babe Ruth subset), Lou Gehrig (part of the Ruth subset), Al Kaline, Gaylord Perry, Mickey Mantle, Richie Ashburn, Walter Alston, Robin Roberts, Billy Williams, Willie Mays, Whitey Ford, Hank Aaron, Luis Aparicio, Don Drysdale, Frank Robinson, Bill Mazeroski, Yogi Berra, Dick Williams, Early Wynn, Lou Brock, Jim Bunning, Carl Yastrzemski, Duke Snider, Juan Marichal, Whitey Herzog, Bob Gibson, Willie McCovey, Hoyt Wilhelm, Red Schoendienst {***Ron Santo}    (Out of these guys – Perry, D. Williams, Brock, Yaz and McCovey all had cards in the 1980 set – where I started my lifetime Topps project.  Frank Robinson, Berra and Herzog would have MGR cards in later sets)
    • Bob Uecker, Tony Kubek {***and now Tim McCarver} have both won the Hall’s Ford C. Frick award as  broadcasters
  • Last Active player: Carl Yastrzemski was technically the last active player from this set – he played his final game with Boston on October 2, 1983.  Gaylord Perry’s final start was September 21, 1983, while Jim Kaat retired in July of that year.
  • Variations: The entire second series has a variation where the cards are shown in a green tint.  Apparently, with sales higher than expected, Topps moved printing to a different plant, and the printing plates were slightly damaged in the process.  This created cards with a green tint variation for the last cards run of printing in the 2nd series.  There are a number of variations involving the photos in the 2nd series – from “cap-less” versions (Wally Moon, Carlton Willey), to portraits instead of poses (Lee Walls, Ed Yost, Bill Kunkel) to different caps (Bob Buhl, Willie Tasby).  There are 4 variations of card #139.  The “real” card is part of the Ruth subset, called “Babe hits 60”.  There is a version with and without a pole in the background.  Additionally, Hal Reniff’s card #159 has a typo on the back showing it as #139 – and there is both a portrait and pitching pose version of those 2 cards.  There are a few uncorrected errors that Topps paid homage to in the Heritage set.  Don Zimmer was listed as a Red, though pictured in a Mets cap.  Clete Boyer’s picture is a reverse negative showing him from the wrong side of the plate.  The card of Jacke Davis lists him as an outfielder on the front but a pitcher on the back.


The green and white wax box has the word BASEBALL over a line of baseballs on half of the box.  On the other half is a bunch of dimes and some messaging to the “retailer” advertising the stamps that come with the pack and the album that can be purchased to hold the stamps.  The side of the box has further advertisement for this.

Parallel Set

Topps issued a parallel set of 198 cards in Venezuela (creatively referred to as Topps Venezuelan).  The first two series of the base set, totalling 196 cards, were printed in Spanish.  Elio Chacon and Luis Aparicio, who were natives of Venezuela, were also releases as cards 199 and 200.

Promo Cards

  • Topps issued 3 card advertising panels to market the set.  The 3-card panels had 3 player cards on the front of the card, a Roger Maris back on one of the cards and promotional language with blue background on the other two card backs.

Insert set

  • 201-stamp set – stamps came in panels of 2 (1 panel per 5¢ wax pack or 10¢ cello pack)


  • Each pack and box had an advertisement to purchase a stamp album and record book to store the stamps inserted into the wax and cello packs.  Collector’s could buy these albums for a dime from local retailers.

Other releases associated with the Topps flagship set

#1 – OK, so it wasn’t associated with the flagship.  But, I’m putting it in here because they included it in the Heritage set.  Topps issued a first-time “Baseball Bucks” set in its own 1-card package for a penny.  Cards from this 96-card set resemble US currency, with the depicted player on the front.

I had an autographed card of Whitey Ford from this set.  I bought the card at an antique store with my mom (who used to love “antiquing”) and then got it signed at a card show with my dad.  I have no idea where it is – but I hope it’s somewhere buried back home.




3 responses

22 04 2011
2011 Topps Heritage overview « Lifetime Topps project

[…] 500 cards in the set – same as the year before, 98 cards less.  The set pays tribute to the 1962 Topps set – which I’ve discussed here. […]

27 11 2012
guenther w sagabn

I have a yellow, white and black twins embroidered patch that came in a 1962 card pack. I recently sold the entire 1962 set with all variations, but I still have the patch. Anybody know anything about this patch??

2 12 2012

No clue on my end

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