McMurray: A ‘Giant’ among Topps baseball card sets

From SABR member John McMurray at Sports Collectors Digest on June 15, 2016:

Issued during a decade when many baseball card sets were renowned for the creativity of their front designs, the 1964 Topps Giants set offered the simplest design of all – and remains extremely popular because of it.

With only a baseball on the card fronts, which included the player’s position, name and team to accompany the player’s photo, the 1964 Topps Giants set serves as one of the best examples of how a baseball card set with a clean, uncluttered design can become a classic issue.

At a time when portraits and posed shots abounded in Topps’ regular-issue sets, the 1964 Topps Giants offered a different perspective, with nearly half of the set’s 60 cards including some kind of action shot. The cards of Bob Gibson following through with a pitch, of Willie Mays batting or of Leon Wagner about to catch a ball offered more unique poses and sharper images than the many portraits which filled Topps regular-issue set that year. Topps’ approach in this set was new and innovative and laid the groundwork for more varied card fronts in the years to follow.

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Originally published: June 16, 2016. Last Updated: June 16, 2016.