Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Which Ted Williams Card Should I Get?

I realized recently, that I had a gaping hole in my Red Sox collection. I did not have a single vintage card of the greatest player ever to put on a Red Sox uniform. I didn’t have a single card from Ted Williams’s playing days. How could that be? Well, I know how it could be. His cards are friggin expensive. But, what with places like ebay around, I should have tried to get a low-grade version of one of his cards to meet my collecting needs. I’ve decided that I need to do this. But, that leaves one very important question. Which card should I go after?

I decided pretty quickly which ones not to go after. As much as I’d love to have a copy of his 1939-41 Playball cards, those are off the list. In order to fit into my collection budget, those cards would need to be torn in half, and glued together backwards. That’s not the type of card I’d like to add. Same goes for the 1954 Bowman. I don’t need a card that looks like a dog chewed it, just so I can afford it. That really leaves me just where I’d like to be left. Since I am (basically) a Topps collector, it would make sense to have an early Topps Williams. But which one?
A quick look through an old Beckett gives me six choices. I want to stick to base cards. No All-star cards or any other type of specialty card. That leaves me with two choices in 1954, and one each in 1955, 1956, 1957, and 1958. I don’t think I want the 1958. The idea of his last Topps card is appealing. But, Ted played a few more years after this, so it’s not like it would have his career stats on the back. Plus, I think Ted just looks old on this card. It’s sort of an “old Elvis” or “young Elvis” choice. I also don’t think I want the 1957. I’ve said before that I don’t really care for the design. Old cards can either look “classic” or “old.” I think this design just looks old. The same cannot be said for the 1956 version. I think this is a sharp card. It definitely is up for consideration. The 1955 is almost an exact match of the 1956 card. I think the ’56 has a few more bells and whistles in the design though. So, I’ll eliminate the 1955. In 1954, we were treated to two different Ted Williams cards. I have no idea why. I assume Topps was just excited to have signed such a mega-star to be on their cards. So, they put him as the first card, and the last card in the set. I don’t know if one version is considered his “regular” card more than the other. Card #250 uses the same headshot that is found on the 1955 and 1956 cards, along with a smaller action shot, both on a yellow background. It doesn’t really do much for me. Card #1, though, has a fuller body shot along with an action shot on an orange background. For some reason, it just appeals to me more.

So, I have a decision. The 1954 #1, or the 1956? Or, was I too harsh in eliminating one of the other choices?

What does everyone else think?


  1. Before I read your entire post and got to the part where you narrowed it down to 2 cards, I read the title and thought - he's got to get the '56 Topps Williams. It's just a classic card from a classic set.

  2. Go for the 56. But I have a totally different reason than anyone else will give you. See I already have a 56 but not a 54 so if you are bidding on a low grade 56 you won't be running up the bidding on the 54 that I need.

    BTW I would take the 54 Bowman or the Playball dog chewed cards first.

  3. 1971 Topps Senators Manager Ted Williams!

    (dodges tomatoes and boos from the Red Sox fans)

    Ok, ok... go with the '56....

  4. Unless you get the '54 for considerably less, you gotta for the '56! That card looks amazing.

  5. Buy one from his 1959 fleer set. They were produced while he was playing, there are many to choose from and they are a hell of alot cheaper than the topps or bowman cards...or you could just buy a reprint and spend your money on hundreds of other red sox cards with the savings.

  6. Good point about the affordability of 59 Fleer Williams cards. 1956 is my favorite by far, though...

  7. Wow, the '56 seems to be a popular choice!

    I understand the 1959 Fleer. It certainly would be cheaper. They always felt like a gimmick set to me, like a Staw Wars set or something. I can't seem to get excited about them.

    I'll definitely keep my eyes open for any of the Playball or Bowmans that have been chewed up and spit out.

  8. I always loved the 51 Bowman, but of these, the 56

  9. '56! '56!

    (And '71, as dayf suggested!)

  10. Get the '56...cause I have one for sale! $300.


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