30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Shall We Play A Game?

Do you enjoy collecting vintage baseball cards of hall of famers that are really affordable?  Well... if you answered "yes", then I have a set you might be interested in.

Back in 1968, Topps inserted the iconic Game cards into their 3rd Series packs.  There's just something about the simplicity of the card design and the floating head/neck that attracts me to these inserts.

They were also offered to baseball card collectors as complete sets, which means that there are plenty of these floating around.  As a result... they're reasonably priced.

This set isn't exactly a hobby secret.  I have seen them on card blogs on numerous occasions over the years and have even stumbled across them at flea markets and card shows.

Two years ago, I picked up an entire 33 card set for $34 (+ $3 shipping).

These days complete sets typically sell in the $40 to $60 range, which still seems like a bargain when you look over the checklist.

Seriously.  This set is loaded with value.  Collectors can own a vintage Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, or Hank Aaron without breaking the bank.  In fact, thirteen out of the thirty-three players are hall of famers.  That's almost 40% of the checklist.

There's a card of the All-Time Hit King.

And when you factor in guys like Tommy Davis, Frank Howard, Dick Allen, Rusty Staub, and Rick Monday there are plenty of fan favorites rounding out the checklist.

Out of the twenty teams who played in Major League Baseball back in 1968, every team has at least one player represented in the set except for the New York Mets.  Red Sox, Pirates, and Twins fans lucked out.  Each of these teams have three players on the checklist.

The cards were intended to be used as a game.  The rules were simple.  Two people would face off against each other and try to score the most runs.  After shuffling the deck and placing it face down, whoever is up to bat picks up one card at a time until they get three outs.

If you scan through the cards, you'll see that two-thirds of the set result in an out.  The eleven cards that allow the offense to reach base are dominated by the bigger names on the checklist.

The Say Hey Kid entered the 1968 season with the most home runs among active players, so I thought it was cool that Topps gave him the honor of being the most powerful card in the deck.  Although I'm kinda surprised that they didn't give Carl Yastrzemski (who was coming off of his Triple Crown season) a more powerful card.

Well that's all I've got for you today.  Until my next post...

What are your thoughts on the 1968 Topps Game inserts?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. I did not realize that these cards were so reasonably priced - the more you know! I need to work harder on tracking one of these down.

    1. Also, my thoughts on the set: I absolutely love baseball cards that double as game/playing cards. These are ancestors to MLB Showdown, Topps Attax and the like.

  2. As a kid I wasn't happy that my hero, Bill Freehan, was just a WALK card..still bothers me.

    Great job.

  3. I am sort of working on this set halfheartedly, but I do too didn't realize that the whole set was so affordable, it seems like buying the whole set at one would be cheaper than piecemealing it.

    P.S. Love the War Games reference!

  4. I'm a big fan of the set and the design; and I like the floating heads much more than I do, say, the 1988 Topps All-Star cards (for example). I think I find the 1988 colors just a bit garish. Whereas the all white background just makes it look clean, polished, sleek.

  5. I like the 1968 Game insert, but I prefer Global Thermonuclear War... Don't you, Professor Falken?

    OK, references aside, I love this set and completed it piece-by-piece just over a year ago. It's cool both as a vintage oddball and (as Tony Burbs mentioned) as a game card.

  6. It’s awesome! I just started working on building that set - my first ever vintage project!

  7. I have loved these since around the time they were out. I just remember always having a couple of these around. A few years back I eventually completed the set by piecemealing. For a while I think it was my Yaz (or was it mantle?) had a black mark on the back that lightly bled through to the front some I think I eventually got an upgrade for that one. Somewhere I have a few dupes but I really need to gather them all up because some of them are still with the mail day groups I had gotten them in a few years back. In recent years Topps has used the design for inserts to Archives and of course the 1968 Heritage this year. The modern homage cards are regular standard 2.5" x 3.5" so they just don't feel the same way or right. They have also made some of the new ones with Red backs more in an homage to 1951 Topps. I prefer these 1968 Originals.

  8. That is a great set with an amazing checklists. I love baseball tgc sets because they are such oddballs.

  9. Neat set and I am a fan of the rounded corners! Sumo menko were similar in the fact that the bigger names typically got more powerful Fighting Numbers.

  10. One of my favorites and one of the few sets I've ever polished off in my life. It actually showed me I'm a horrible set collector because I ran out and finished it in like a week or so. I don't have the right patience for set collecting.

  11. These hit on three of my key buzzwords -- vintage, oddball, affordable. How could I not like them?

  12. It's a fun set to collect. I finished up a few years ago and played an All Star game with it on the day of the 2014 ASG. Here is my post about that.

  13. Fantastic-I have a number of these and a few football ones too

  14. Tony Burbs - Yeah... I was kinda shocked that complete sets sell for such low prices.

    John Sharp - Could have been worse. At least you reach base with him. :)

    John Miller - Me too.

    Jon - I think that's the case with most sets. I'll build sets if I have a bunch of individual cards, but if I'm starting from scratch... I'll usually just look for a complete set on eBay

    Peter K Steinberg - I totally agree. Then again... I'm not really a fan of anything related to 88T baseball.

    shlabotnikreport - Lol. Glad someone else appreciates War Games

    JayP - Best of luck! It's one of my prized possessions.

    CaptKirk42 - Glad you brought up the 1951 Topps. I actually like that set a lot too. Not sure which one I prefer.

    Corky - Always wondered. What does T.C.G. stand for?

    SumoMenkoMan - That makes sense. I like that star value and game play value are linked.

    The Lost Collector - Congratulations! I'm usually the opposite. It can take me 10 years to complete a set.

    Matthew Scott - Great minds think alike.

    Nick - Right up both of our alleys.

    Commishbob - That was pretty cool. Thank you for sharing the link.

    B Man - I don't think I have many football ones. Now I'm curious. I'll have to check.

    Collecting Cutch - Thanks! It really is.