1966 Topps Baseball Wantlist

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Better than a Blaster Red State Blue State Edition

Do I have your attention? Good, this isn’t a Red/Blue State thing-but in a time of over the top politics in the middle of the over the top political season I thought I could use a good hook. Really, this is Better than a Blaster 1951 Topps Red/Blue Back Edition.
I haven’t been posting much since the end of the 2015 season so I have some catching up to do.  It isn’t often one can say they completed a 1950s team set, but alas I did-behold the 1951 Topps Redbird team set-yep just two cards, so not that exciting. In 1951, Cardinals outfielder Tommy Glaviano had 104 at bats in 54 games, 20 runs, 19 hits, 1 home run, 4 runs batted in, and a .183 average. While pitcher Howie Pollet started the year with the Birds he played most of the year with the Bucos. With the Birds in 1951 he made appearances in just 6 games, starting 2 of them, with 4 losses, 1 save, and no wins and a 4.38 ERA.  It should be noted he had an excellent career with the Birds beginning in 1941 and had 21 wins in 1946, and 20 in 1949. However, in 1951 he had his best years behind him.

I find the diminutive 1951 Topps Red Backs to be very attractive and approachable. Lucky for collectors, and not for hard-core investor, a find of boxes of Red Backs in 1980s has kept prices down and made them very affordable.  I haven’t been able to find the story behind the find but one of the fantasies I have is to be that person that finds some unopened vintage boxes.

The two 52 card Red and Blue Back issues were available in packs of two for a penny, which also included a piece of taffy, mmm… taffy. The Red Backs were also issued in hanging plastic “rack packs” of all 52 cards for a whopping 29 cents and because they were designed to be played as a game it came with a game board as well.

The Red Backs contained star power; Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Early Wynn, Roy Sievers, Ralph Kiner, Preacher Roe, Gus Bell RC, Jerry Coleman, Dom DiMaggio, Bob Feller, Ray Boone RC, Hank Bauer, Warren Spahn, Gil Hodges, Al Rosen, Duke Snider, Ted Kluszewski, Eddie Stanky, and Monte Irvin RC.

Here are two videos, one is from Antiques Roadshow on which a women has her grandfather’s 1951 Red/Blue Back Topps valuated and the other is a penny pack being busted, which is of particular interest as it relates to one of the subjects of this post.

Someday, perhaps I will find a stash of Blue Backs that would contain the big three Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst, and Stan the Man. The Blue Back Redbird checklist is Red Schoendienst, Gerry Staley, Red Munger, Billy Johnson,
Harry Brecheen, and Enos Slaughter.


  1. I love the 51 Topps cards. I have the Glaviano and am trying to put together all the 51 Topps sets. I have a few other non-Cardinals. I believe the story behind the find was this: An abandoned storage locker was auctioned off in California and the lucky winner found a stash of unopened baseball cards in the back of the locker including a case of Topps 51 Red Backs. Yes, it did drop the price dramatically and made these available in top condition to the point where Beckett prices them in NM-MT condition as opposed to NM which is common pricing for the era. Take a look at the 51 Connie Mack All-Stars. If you can find any that don't have the tops torn off, they're superb.

    1. thank you for the story behind the find-I would have dropped had I been that guy-I will check out the Connie Macks

  2. I was also going to mention that Glaviano put up MVP-like numbers in 1950 which is how he landed in this set.

    1. That would make sense and I don't know I why I didn't see that, thank you

  3. These are really cool. I remember hearing (possibly reading) about that find. If I come across the article, I'll send you a link.