McMurray: As seen on TV, a review of the 1955 Bowman card set

From SABR member John McMurray at Sports Collectors Digest on January 21, 2014:

Because of its distinguishing horizontal design showing players as if they were appearing on a large, brown-bordered color television set, the 1955 Bowman baseball cards are among the most recognizable ever made. Apparently inspired in part by the 1950 Drakes baseball cards, which also employed a television-set presentation, the ’55 Bowman baseball cards represented an obvious departure from the understated styles which both Topps and Bowman generally used throughout the 1950s.

With many images of catchers about to field a pop up, Stan Lopata (No. 18) being a good representative example, and pitchers from the waist up about to begin their windups, such as No. 152 Johnny Klippstein, the 1955 Bowman cards are sometimes remembered for their consistently similar player poses, ostensibly all from photographs taken at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.

More distinctively, 31 umpire cards make up the only such subset of the period. Add to it Ralph Kiner’s only card in a Cleveland Indians uniform (No. 197), the only mainstream Mickey Mantle card produced in 1955 (No. 202) and Chicago Cubs outfielder Gene Baker appearing on a card with a giant Band-Aid on his forehead (No. 7), and it makes for a memorable card set.

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Originally published: January 21, 2014. Last Updated: January 21, 2014.