It pains me to do this for my least favorite team in all of baseball – but the Cardinals did win the World Series last year, and the 1963 Topps and 2012 Heritage sets have a World Series subset, so I figured I’d look at a couple of cards from the World Champs.
World Series subset – cards #142-148
The 1962 World Series went 7 games, so there was a 7-card subset in 1963 Topps. Conveniently, the 2011 Series also went 7 games – so making that subset the same number of cards was easy. I picked the two cards from the subset that I thought were most relevant to show the overall theme from last year’s World Series. The first card I picked was #144, which covers the 3 home run outburst by Albert Pujols. This historic performance put him in the company of Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson – and made him the first non-Yankee to accomplish the feat. The performance truly did remind me of what I’ve seen from the Reggie Jackson game. It was a blowout. That third home run wasn’t exactly necessary, but it was awe-inspiring nonetheless.
The other card was of course the game 7 card – I wanted to get the winning moment in here. Though game 6 was a pretty big deal, too. Despite the fact that the team I hate won it all last year – I have to admit – it was a hell of a World Series!
The 1962 World Series didn’t have quite the historic drama that the 2011 Fall Classic did. Nobody hit 3 homers in a game, and the team that won it never went down to their last strike, let alone twice. But it was a back and forth affair, as neither team won consecutive games. The Yankees won game 1 and they alternated from there. For the first card below, I went with game 6, when the Giants had their backs against the wall. 16-game winner Billy Pierce, who wasn’t even with the Giants the year before, outpitched legendary Yankee Whitey Ford to keep the Giants alive for one more game.
Where the first 6 games lacked the incredible moments that 2011 featured, Game 7 was far more dramatic than the finale of the 2011 Series. Ralph Terry had won 23 games during the regular season – by far his best effort. He capped it off with an incredible pitching performance. Facing the no tomorrow situation of a Game 7 in the World Series, Terry threw a complete game shutout. The vaunted 3-4-5 hitters in the San Francisco lineup had 3 Hall of Famers – all in their prime! But Terry held Mays, McCovey and Cepeda to 2 hits. In the bottom of the 9th, with a 1-run lead, he gave up a bunt hit to Matty Alou and a double to Willie Mays with 2 outs. With potential extra innings standing on 3rd and the end of the season standing at 2nd, McCovey smashed a Terry pitch – only he hit it right to Bobby Richardson.
I’m going with a 2-point split here. I absolutely love the Game 6 card from 1963 – it’s a tremendous photo, and coming from 1963 I respect that more than having something like that in today’s cards. But I’ll give the rest of the subset to the Heritage set. As mentioned, I didn’t include the Game 6 card that shows Freese rounding first after his walk-off home run.
2012 Heritage leads, 18.5-15.5
World Series MVP Card #130 – David Freese vs. Dick Groat & Ralph Terry
Speaking of Freese, let’s look at his card. Here it is:
I like the Freese card. He isn’t looking directly at the camera, which is more like the 1963 shots than the majority of the 2012 Heritage cards. His counterpart in the 1963 set is Dick Groat:
This card is kind of sloppy by Topps, even by 1963 standards. The 1960 NL MVP, he was traded by the Pirates in the 1962 offseason. They sort of airbrushed his cap – but not really. You can still make out the “P” for Pittsburgh in the cap if you look hard enough. And they did nothing with his collar which sure looks more like a Pirate uniform than a Cardinals one!
I don’t know if I like the comparison with Groat and Freese. He hadn’t played a Cardinals game yet, and Freese is a third baseman, not a SS. So I don’t want to give any points to either of these cards. What I will do, though, is take a look at the ’62 Series MVP. Now this is a card I think Topps should have considered using to parallel Freese – Ralph Terry. I know it’s different teams, but wouldn’t that be a better connection? Particularly for Terry, who is card #315. Card #315 in the Heritage set is young Yankees pitching prospect Hector Noesi.
The Freese / Terry connection would have been better. I’m awarding a point to 1963 Topps here.
2012 Heritage leads, 18.5-16.5