It’s a debate many collectors have had over the years – what’s the best card ever produced?
The parameters for such a discussion would lead to different answers, but it’s a fun debate nonetheless.
The Topps Co. jumped into this debate as part of its Diamond Anniversary 60 Years of Collecting promotion that is going on throughout 2011. As part of the celebration, Topps asked collectors and fans to vote for the top 60 cards produced by the company over the course of its lifetime. Well, the votes have been cast, and Topps has now revealed which cards made the cut.
Because voting was wide open, the results (which can be seen on http://vote.topps.com) are rather interesting. Do you vote based on perceived value? Scarcity? Because it was a rookie card of a Hall of Famer? All of these factors came into play as the list was compiled.
So let’s break it down a bit. The final five (Nos. 60-55) to make the list included the 1973 Rookie Third Basemen that featured Mike Schmidt, 1983 Wade Boggs, 1974 Dave Winfield error (Washington Padres), 1958 Roger Maris and 2007 Derek Jeter (with President Bush and Mickey Mantle in the background). So as you can see, there are different ranges in the spectrum already.
The first of three Mantle cards in the group appears at No. 55, with the 1956 card.
Then you get into future Hal of Famers and ones already in place – 1989 Randy Johnson, 1987 Greg Maddux (Traded), 1967 Tom Seaver, 1956 Sandy Koufax and 1948 Jackie Robinson.
The interesting pick among that group is at No. 52 – the Draft Pick card of Manny Ramirez. A rookie card of a Hall of Famer is always nice, but who is to say Manny will join the exclusive group with the steroid cloud hanging over him? For the record, Mark McGwire’s 1987 card is rated No. 45. McGwire’s 1985 Team USA card was No. 11.
Today’s greatest slugger, Albert Pujols, makes his appearance at No. 37 with his 2001 Topps Traded rookie card. Dwight Gooden’s 1985 card checked in at No. 32. His teammate with the Mets, Daryl Strawberry was voted No. 21 with his 1984 card.
Despite their checkered past, Barry Bonds’ 1987 rookie was No. 17 and Pete Rose’s 1964 pasteboard was No. 16.
Cards Nos. 10-2 are as follows: 1952 Willie Mays, 1973 Roberto Clemente, 1986 Bo Jackson (Traded), 1954 Ted Williams, 1980 Rickey Henderson, 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. (Traded), 1968 Rookie Stars with Nolan Ryan, 1952 Jackie Robinson and 1954 Hank Aaron.
You can all guess No. 1 . . . the 1952 Mantle card.
So what do you think? Obviously some of these cards pale in comparison to others in terms of value, but they were significant at the time of release.
Topps will include original versions of these cards in its 2011 products.