Sunday, December 30, 2018

Topps Page-a-Year: 1954

Since 1952 - 1956 Topps are a little larger than the 1957 - current cards, only 8 cards fit on a page.

Topps continued to downsize its set size in 1954 with a 250 card set, two of which, card #1 and card #250, feature Ted Williams whom Topps had signed to an exclusive 5 year contract at $400 per year.

Let's take a look at my 1954 page.

#242 Curt Roberts - Curt Roberts career was short, lasting only parts of 3 seasons, but he was the first black player for the Pittsburgh Pirates and paved the way for those to come after him, including Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.

#222 Bill Wilson - Bill's four seasons in the big leagues were interrupted by 2 years spent in the Army. Although he was known as a power hitting minor league player, Wilson hit just 32 dingers at the major league level, one of which was the first in Kansas City big league history.

#42 Don Mueller - In 1954 Mueller finished second in the N.L. batting title to teammate Willie Mays, but continued his hot hitting, batting .389 in the World Series. Mueller was an All-Star in 1954 and 1955 for his efforts.

#2 Gus Zernial - Gus hit 237 home runs in his career and often hit them in bunches.In May of 1951, Gus hit 7 homers in 4 games. He was also the first player to hit 3 home runs in the final game of a season. Zernial is also responsible for introducing Joe DiMaggio to his future wife, Marilyn Monroe.

#33 Johnny Schmitz - Schmitz bounced around between 7 different teams during his career, but enjoyed two All-Star appearances and led the A.L. in strikeout sin 1946.

#237 Mike Ryba - Last appearing in a major league game as a player in 1946, Mike was a coach, mostly under manager Eddie Stanky for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1951-1955. Not sure why he garnered a spot in this 250 card set. Anybody have any idea?

#189 Bob Ross - Ross lost 2 seasons (1952-53) to military service and appeared in just 20 major league games in 1950, 1951 and 1956. It appears Topps was guessing that Ross would in the big leagues in 1954. They guessed wrong.

#27 Ferris Fain - This 5 time All-Star was the A.L. batting champ in 1951 and 1952. Fain experienced some legal troubles in his later years for growing and selling marijuana out of his home in California in the 1980's.

I found it interesting that the backs of the 1954 Topps cards aren't all printed the same way. Anyone know if they were printed both ways or if all of say card #242 are printed one way and all of card #42 are printed the other way?

I flipped it the other way in case you wanted to check out all the card backs.

What are your thoughts on the 1954 Topps set? If you're familiar with the 1953 set, I think most would agree it was a step backwards for Topps. Do you have a favorite card from the set?


  1. Good question raised about the card back printing. I have no clue either.

  2. Very cool observation Interesting to know which cards have flipped backs. For example... are there two different versions of the Hank Aaron rookie card?

  3. My favorites from the 1954 set are Washington Senator Angel Scull, and the card featuring the O'Brien brothers. Whitey Ford's card stands out a bit as well.