Redeeming Topps Lineage #3 – comparing Topps Stand Ups

5 09 2011

Topps Stand Ups – 25 cards (1:12)

The next comparison for Topps Lineage is still in the 1960’s – 1964, specifically.  The Topps Stand Up set was an oddball set of die-cut cards that could be folded to stand the player image up in 3-dimensional fashion.  There are 20 current players in the 2011 set, 5 of whom are retired players.  Let’s compare the 2011 version to the old version of the same player – I’ll do this at some level for each of these insert sets.  The ’64 card is on the left, the 2011 Lineage version on the right.

First up is Hank Aaron.  In 1964, Aaron had a very good year, but it wasn’t the best by the lofty standard he’d set.  After leading the league with 44 HR and 130 RBI in 1963, ’64 was the only season between 1955 and 1973 where Aaron didn’t slug 25 home runs (he hit 24).  This was mostly due to minor injuries – Hammerin’ Hank did hit .328 and slugged over .500 to make his 10th straight All-Star team and earn 14th place in the National League’s MVP voting.  The Braves were part of a 5-team pennant race, behind an aging Eddie Mathews and a young Joe Torre, but they finished 5 games behind the eventual World Champion Cardinals.  Aaron wasn’t done, though – he averaged 37 home runs over the next 9 years, from age of 31 to 40.

Topps other big signing for its 2011 products was Sandy Koufax.  In 1964, Koufax was in the midst of what may have been the greatest 4-year pitching stretch in MLB history.  Koufax pitched his third no-hitter on June 4th.  He faced the minimum that day – Dick Allen reached base via a free pass but was then caught stealing.  This was the only season where Sandy didn’t win the Cy Young award between 1963 and 1966, but he did place third in the voting and led the league with a 1.74 ERA and .792 winning percentage (19-5).  He probably would have won the award, however he was shut down in mid-August due to arthritis in his pitching shoulder.  He’d pitch through pain over the next two years to finish up an incredible stretch, but his career was over at the end of the 1966 World Series.

The most valuable card in both the old and the new set belongs to the Commerce Comet.  Mickey Mantle was on the downside of his career in the mid-60’s, but he bounced back from an injury-plagued 1964 season to have one last great season in 1964.  Mantle finished 2nd in the MVP voting to Brooks Robinson, hitting 35 home runs and driving in 111.  He led the league with an OBP of .423 and an OPS of over a thousand.  He hit his 450th home run in 1964, smacked his 2,000th hit, and led the Yankees to the 12th pennant of his career.  They lost to the Cardinals in 7 games, but not at the fault of the Mick – he hit .333 in the series with 3 HR, to end his WS career with an incredible record of 18 homers.

As mentioned, Mantle lost that 1964 MVP vote to Brooks Robinson.  The greatest defensive third-baseman of all-time was deserving of his only MVP trophy after having the best offensive season of his career.  Robinson hit .317, smashed 28 home runs, and knocked in a league 118 RBI – all the best marks of his career.  He also had is only season slugging above .500, and won his 5th consecutive Gold Glove (he would win 10 more until he stopped playing full-time in 1976).  The Orioles and White Sox gave the Yankees all they could handle in 1964 – the O’s won 97 games but finished 3rd, just 2 games behind the Bronx Bombers.  Robinson would get his chance – his Orioles won the 1966 World Series behind a triple crown season by another Robinson, and Brooks won the 1970 WS MVP by hitting .429 and robbing the Big Red Machine of hit after hit.

To round out the other 5 is another dominant hurler from the 1960’s – Juan Marichal.  Along with Koufax, the Dominican Dandy is the only post-war pitcher with multiple 25-win seasons (both have 3).  Marichal was overshadowed by Bob Gibson and Koufax, but he was one of the great pitchers of the 1960’s – he never won a Cy Young award, but did win more games than any other pitcher in that decade.  In 1964, Marichal won 21 games and led the league with 22 complete games.  He made his 3rd of 9 all-star teams, and struck out over 200 batters for the 2nd time in his career.

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16 12 2012
Completed insert set – 2011 Topps Lineage Stand Ups « Lifetime Topps project

[…] The first 20 cards are current players, the last 5 are retired players.  All 5 of those guys are in the Hall, and all 5 had cards from the 1964 set. […]

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