30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Controversial Cardboard

I've always had a deep admiration for the women and men who have served in our country's armed forces.  The idea that they'd put their lives on the line to protect ours is one of the most honorable and selfless acts imaginable.

Back in November, I wrote about five World War II veterans who made a name for themselves on the baseball diamond too.  One of those guys was Warren Spahn.

The Invincible One is widely recognized as one of the greatest left-handed pitchers to ever step on the mound.  His 363 career wins is 6th most in MLB history and the most thrown by a lefty.  Sadly he pitched his final big league game almost seven years before I was born, so I never had the opportunity to watch him play.

But that's okay, because that's the beauty of card collecting.  We can go back and relive the memories by collecting players from a different generation.  I have a handful of Spahn cards in my collection including two autographs.

However the card I have wanted for quite some time is his 1956 Topps card:

1956 Topps White Back #10

As many of you know, I'm slowly picking up graded copies of all of the 1956 Topps hall of famers.  Spahn is the tenth addition to the collection, although my Jackie Robinson hasn't been submitted for grading... yet.

I really love the puffy clouds and stadium lights (Milwaukee County Stadium?) that the Topps designers added in the background.  All of the other cards I own feature the player on the field.

If you're into controversial stuff, then this card is definitely for you.  One of the cartoons on features Spahn sitting in a teepee with scalps of his opponents hanging on the wall.  Obviously there's no way Topps would put this cartoon on a card these days.  But that's one of the awesome things about collecting vintage baseball cards.  It's a piece of history and shows a sign of the times.

Well that's all I have for you guys today.  But guess what... it's raining... which means that those two 1991 Fleer baseball boxes that Johnny sent me a few weeks ago will be busted this weekend.  Stay tuned for some bright yellow cardboard in the very near future.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. Wow the scalps are pretty bad. Though I did just come across a Topps Big which features a Braves player speaking in super-racist Tonto-speak to remind me how recently this stuff was still OK.

  2. More controversy, PSA calls it a white back, that's going too far, use cream and grey back, lol. Your Spahn is nicer than my Spahn.

  3. Looking be the Spahnie Fuji. Cartoon aside. Great pickup

  4. Thanks for posting this card. Fascinating to see. Definitely agree they couldn't do this any more and also that it is a sign of the times. It's important to save and acknowledge these kinds of things for historical perspective. Fortunately, many of us have evolved into better, more conscientious humans!

  5. Fantastic add Fuji! Had never seen this card before (the scalps especially) so this was a nice history lesson for me as well.

  6. I don't think we will be able to hit the De Anza feature market-I think it may rain. Bummer

  7. Times were definitely different.

  8. I think that's the Polo Grounds in the picture. Definitely not County Stadium, the light standards there were built on the edge of the roof, not above it like in that picture. And I seem to recall a lot of pictures in the Polo Grounds in that set.

  9. Raining like that here on the right coast last night too. So I busted two boxes each of 2003 Upper Deck series 1 & 2. Post forthcoming. Grey drizzly days are lethal to pack wrappers!

  10. Glad to see the rain, as a fellow Norcal guy its great for the drought.

  11. Nick Vossbrink - That's not the first time I've heard about Topps Big being racist. Here's an article that complained about the cartoons featuring black players with white skin:


    John Miller - Lol. Let's start a movement.

    Mark Hoyle - Thanks!

    Peter K. Steinberg - It's important to learn from our mistakes. It's why history is one of my favorite subjects.

    Section 36 - Thank you!

    Robert - I didn't see the scalps before either until I had the card in my hand.

    B Man - Me either. I'm gonna bust my boxes of 1991 Fleer this morning to help brighten up my day. Maybe next month.

    Sport Card Collectors - Thanks!

    SumoMenkoMan - Yeah. I hope we continue to move forward and progress.

    Matt Prigge - Thank you. Don't know my stadiums that well, so I'll take your word for it.

    GCA - Looking forward to reading it. 1993 Upper Deck is one of my favorite sets in terms of photography.

    sg488 - yeah. I hope March is a very wet month.

  12. I miss the rain. It's coming. “I like the rain. It washes memories off the sidewalk of life.” Great card. I'm not sure Spahn is remembered as well as he should be. His certified autos can be had for the price of a blaster.

  13. Spahn was a great guy. At an autograph signing in the 70's he told me that freezing his ass off and getting shot at by the nazis made pitching in the majors seem easy.He was a humble man like so many of his fellow WW2 vets.PS he also told me he gave up Willie Mays' first home run in 1951.

  14. Hackenbush - I was thinking about that myself. He passed away in 2003, so it's not like there are boatloads of his signature out there. I should probably try to grab another signature before others catch on.

    ned - That's super cool. There's nothing quite like getting a history lesson from someone who was actually there. A few years ago, I got a chance to hang out with my dad's friend who was part of the 442nd and wow... it was really powerful.