Though 1968 was a year of change in nearly every facet of life one couldn't say that about the 1968 football Cardinals. Another futile year for the Redbirds, 1968 was the 20th consecutive season without a playoff berth, yep 20 years! They had a record of 6-7-1. Old Skool football as Willis Crenshaw rushed against the Steelers.
Nineteen Sixty-Eight would see Jim Hart take most of the snaps behind center as QB with 13 games versus 7 for Charley Johnson. Johnny Roland, Willis Crenshaw, Roy Shivers, Jackie Smith, Larry Wilson, and Bobby Joe Conrad were the most well known of the players on the 1968 roster. Wide Receiver Jerry Daanen was the only rookie. I recognize I am not writing about the Packers or the Cowboys but the Football Cardinals, but hey it is about the cards right? Ken Gray pleading his case, "Hey it's not my fault we stink."
After a hiatus of 4 years from producing NFL cards, Topps returned. Unlike Philadelphia and the last Topps issue in 1963, the 1968 issue would not have teams group together but spread through out the checklist. Topps issued the 1968 Topps in two series. For the first time in sometime no team specific team card was issued. There were 8 Cardinals in the set.
The money card in 1968 set is the Jim Hart rookie card #60. Dave Williams’ rookie card was in this issue as well. Topps hit a home run with the design in 1968. The fronts have framed in white of the player either in portrait or posed action shots. Along the bottom there are two rounded boxes with the players name and team in blue and position in a yellow box. The Cardinals logo is in the top right or left hand corner.
In contrast the reverse is blah, the design has two boxes, the top is beige and green with player name, card number, and the usual bio and history. The bottom box has a football shaped oval with the usual and tired “Coin Rub” gimmick. UPDATE: Reader Roy pointed out that "The second series of 1968 cards had blue text on the back, instead (of) green, and the coin rubs were not on all the cards.
There also seems to have been two different colors of card stock, bright white and slightly grayer." Thank you for the important info.
Topps would include two different inserts in their packs. For series 1 an “All Star Pin Up” was inserted, the front shows the player and reverse is the blank. If your were to open a series 2 pack you would have received a “Football Stand-Up Plank” AKA Stand-Up Cards. Kicker Jim Bakken was the sole Cardinal pin-up and rookie Jim Hart the lone Cardinal stand-up.
There two rare Topps' test issues in 1968. One a horizontal team card-which is hella cool, and the other a cloth patch which is also hella cool. Both will set you back about $75.
There were no oddball cards in 1968 that I am aware of. Score card 8/8 1968 cards-team set minus inserts complete.