The Quest for the 1960 Topps Set, Part XVIII
November 3rd, 2010 by slangon

Now that that pesky World Series is out of the way, let’s get on with the real business of collecting pieces of cardboard printed with images of baseball players on them.

Recently, I was able to score 3 more cards from the 1960 set, all from the same eBay seller which meant combined shipping. What made these three cards pretty exciting is that all 3 were of Hall of Fame players. What made it even more exciting was that with shipping, all three cards cost well below the price of a blaster.

#210 Harmon Killebrew

I was always a little fascinated by Harmon Killebrew when I was a little kid. I think it was a combination of the sort of unusual sounding and fun to say name with the stories I’d heard about his massive home runs. When I was researching him for this post, I was also a little surprised to learn that it was a bit of a controversy when he was inducted into the Hall in 1984, due to his lifetime .256 batting average. By the way, did you know that there’s a legend that Harmon is the basis for the MLB logo?

As most people are, I’m a big fan of the old Topps cartoons that used to appear on the backs of the cards. Probably the thing I enjoy most about them is pointing out weird little things about them, which usually isn’t too hard considering that most of them are chock full of weird little things. This cartoon celebrating Killebrews tying Roy Sievers franchise home run record is a good example. In it, the player that’s supposed to represent Harmon Killebrew is wearing a brownish, goldish uniform (what exactly is that color they use on the backs of these 1960 cards?) while all the players that are congratulating him are wearing white uni’s. Is the opposing team really that happy that one of their opponents broke a franchise record, or in his haste to get out there and mash the ball, did Harmon suit up in the wrong uniform?

#420 Eddie Mathews

Here we have the man that basically redefined the 3rd base position. Before Eddie came along, third was basically a defense first position. While he was a very good defensive player, he also added power to the position that has pretty much stayed there since. You don’t see too many teams now-a-days with light hitting 3rd basemen. Or at least not too many good teams. Hell, Ty Cobb himself said of Eddie “I’ve only known three or four perfect swings in my time. This lad has one of them.”

Some other random facts about Eddie – he was the only player in Braves history to play with the team in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta – and he was on the cover of the very first issue of Sports Illustrated.

You have to love a cartoon that shows a fan chastising a player because that player hit that fan in the head with a home run ball. Classic. It’s also interesting that all the fans in the bleachers are wearing suits. I’ve always been kind of fascinated by that era of baseball (and I guess society in general) when men always wore suits to the ballpark (and everywhere for that matter).

#493 Duke Snider

Lastly, we have The Duke of Flatbush himself. Out of all the star cards from the 1960 set, his was one that I had been wanting for quite a while, but it just wasn’t happening. Either the bids would go too high, or I would put the auction in my watch list, meaning to place a bid closer to the end, but then forget about it. Luckily, I was remembered to bid on this one and the same seller had the Killebrew and Mathews cards as well.

All in all, 3 really great looking cards of 3 really great players. One of my favorite things about the backs of the 1960 cards are the Season Highlights. I like that out of the 21 different highlights listed on these 3 cards, 17 involve home runs. I also like that on all 3 cards, the trivia cartoons are all about homers. I guess that happens when you’re talking about 3 guys who in their careers combined for 1492 round-trippers.

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