Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Completing the best Dodgers team set of all-time

What would you say is the greatest Dodgers team set?

There are a few that you could name. The 1952 Topps Dodgers set is the Boys Of Summer, a very desirable and almost impossible-to-complete team set. The 1953 Topps Dodgers set also commemorates the Boys Of Summer but in painted form.

The 1955 Topps and Bowman Dodgers team sets came out the year of "Next Year," when the Dodgers finally won the World Series. But neither set is all that it could be because each card company had exclusives with their own players.

The 1964 Topps set shows the Dodgers who swept the Yankees in the Series and also features a tremendous World Series subset to underline the fact. The 1975 Topps set colorfully marks the Dodgers' return to prominence as a World Series team.

The 1978 Topps set is the one I associate with those back-to-back Dodgers World Series teams, the first teams I watched on television. And the 1982 Topps, Donruss and Fleer sets recall the Fernandomania year.

But I think for the majority of people, the greatest Dodgers team set is the 1956 Topps set, issued mere months after the Dodgers' epic Series championship.

Yesterday, I completed that set.

Not more than a week after receiving the 1956 Jackie Robinson card, I received a one-card package from Nearly Mint and in it was this Pee Wee Reese card. The set is finished.

But just to make sure, let's view every card in the team set in order by card number:

#8 - Walter Alston, manager

#30 - Jackie Robinson, third base

#42 - Sandy Amoros, outfield

#58 - Ed Roebuck, pitcher

#63 - Roger Craig, pitcher

#79 - Sandy Koufax, pitcher

#83 - Karl Spooner, pitcher

#99 - Don Zimmer, second base

#101 - Roy Campanella, catcher

#145 - Gil Hodges, first base

#150 - Duke Snider, outfield

#166 - Dodgers team

#173 - Johnny Podres, pitcher

#184 - Don Bessent, pitcher

#190 - Carl Furillo, outfield

#223 - Randy Jackson, third base

#233 - Carl Erskine, pitcher

#235 - Don Newcombe, pitcher

#260 Pee Wee Reese, shortstop

#270 - Billy Loes, pitcher

#280 - Jim Gilliam, outfield

#295 - Clem Labine, pitcher

#299 - Charley Neal, second base

#333 - Rube Walker, catcher

And, just so I'm absolutely sure that the set is finished because I've been burned many, many times and I just know there are people lying in wait to leave a comment that says "you missed one," here is a re-check:

It checks out. I'm done.

Really, I'm done. I'm not going to try to find all of the white backs or any team card variations. As for upgrades, I might try a couple, but it's far down the priority list.

I'm so excited about this that I have to do a break down of the set, but I don't have much time so it won't be as obsessively detailed as usual.

Number of cards in the set: 24
White-back cards that I own: Sandy Amoros, Karl Spooner, team card
Most expensive card in team set: Sandy Koufax
Most I spent on one card: $80, Duke Snider
Least I spent on one card: zero, including several gift cards (Robinson, Reese, Koufax)

First cards I acquired: Dodgers team card, Carl Erskine, Randy Jackson, Don Newcombe, Don Zimmer. All five came out of the large brown grocery store bag that my father's friend at work gave us. I don't remember which card I pulled out first. I'm very pleased that the Dodgers team card was one of those as it's one of the more expensive cards in the set.

Last card I acquired: Pee Wee Reese (thanks, grogg!)
Cards I thought would be the last I acquired: Koufax and Robinson
Cards that were the last I acquired: Reese and Robinson
Cards that I passed up at card shows repeatedly: Alston, Hodges, Reese. I don't know what was wrong with me.

Players who should have been in the set: None. Topps did pretty well. The two '55 Dodgers with the most playing time that weren't in the set were Don Hoak and Russ Meyer and they were traded to the Cubs in December of '55 (for Randy Jackson, who was included in the set). Memorable '55 Dodgers with very little playing time that are not in the set are Tom Lasorda, George "Shotgun" Shuba and Joe Black.

Favorite cartoons: Too many to show, but just a few:

 (That Koufax taking off his head cartoon is awesome).

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the set, and thanks to the dealers who sold me cards (some cheaper than they should have), and thanks to that guy at my dad's work who got this all started.

Now that it's finished, I don't think I can go through this again.

Before, I thought if I completed the 1956 set that I'd have to get a second card of all of the Dodgers so I could still retain a separate team set. But I'm not going to do that.

This is cool enough. I'm not going to get greedy.


  1. A thing of beauty - congratulations!

  2. That's a nice team set NO. Congrats on completing it!

    Although the 2022 Dodgers headlined by Kershaw, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Jose Fernandez ought to be even scarier.

  3. Congrats! Love the 56 set as well.

    Just so I can be one of the lying in wait guys, you have Carl Furillo listed as a pitcher :-)

  4. Congrats. The 56 set is one of my favourites. I look forward to the day that I complete a Tiger set from before 69.

  5. Congrats on the great accomplishment!

  6. Gorgeous, congrats! Great set of a great line up (I say begrudgingly).

  7. Congrats. One of my favorite sets

  8. If the cards themselves were not enough the cartoons make them even better!