30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Budget Vintage Hall of Famers

Vintage cards are like green lights.  Everybody loves them.  Okay maybe I shouldn't speak for all collectors, but they're one of my favorite things to collect.  I enjoy everything from the smell to the designs to the cardstock.  They take me back in time to when things were simpler.

It's just a shame that a lot of the vintage cards on my wantlist are way out of my budget.  Unless I win the lottery, I'll never be able to afford a T206 Eddie Collins, a 48L Jackie Robinson, a 56T Ted Williams, or a 65T Mickey Mantle.  In fact, I was lucky if I added one or two vintage cards of hall of famers to my collection each year.

Well... that's a thing of the past, because I just solved that problem.  I have decided to collect hall of famers on league leader cards.  Now I know that they're subset cards, which means they lack the career statistics and biographical data of regular issue base cards.  They also feature multiple players, so individuals are forced to share the spotlight.  But that's what keeps them affordable.

So far I've picked up eight different cards:

1962 Topps #54

Everyone remembers the American League home run race between Mantle and Maris in New York.  But what about the race in San Francisco?

1963 Topps #3

Five floating hall of fame heads on one card.  Even if you're not a fan of vintage cards or league leader subset cards, you have to appreciate this one.  Right?

1964 Topps #9

What's better than two San Francisco Giants?  How about three?

1966 Topps #215

I love seeing Hank Aaron and Willie Mays on a batting leaders (instead of a home run leaders) card together.  Add Clemente into the mix and now you understand why I collect these vintage league leaders cards.

1966 Topps #217

Here's another card with Mays and McCovey.  I can't believe these guys didn't win a World Series Championship together.

1968 Topps #2

Finally an American League card.  Three guys who combined to hit 1,437 home runs are featured on a batting leaders card.  No wonder all three of these guys were first ballot hall of famers.

1968 Topps #3

Seeing Cepeda on four out of eight of these league leaders cards made me go back and check out his career statistics.  I never realized how good he was during his first ten to twelve seasons.  Back in 1968, he was just coming off an MVP season.  It's insane that his autographs routinely sell for less than $10 (shipped) on eBay.

1968 Topps #4

The final card.  It's not surprising to see Frank and Carl together again, since the pair represented the last two Triple Crown winners until Miguel Cabrera came along in 2012.  And Killebrew was no slouch either.  He tied Yaz for the home runs in 1967 (the year he won the Triple Crown) and was second to him in both RBI's and MVP voting.

Looking ahead... I'm hoping to pick up a few more of these in the near future.  My one stipulation is that all of the players featured on the card have to be enshrined in Cooperstown.  Right now these two are at the top of my list:

1965 Topps #8 NL ERA Leaders (Drysdale and Koufax)
1967 Topps #236 NL Victory Leaders (Koufax, Marichal, Gibson, and Perry)

But I probably need to start looking into more American League cards too.  Let me know if any of you guys have some suggestions for this collection.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!


  1. Way to seek out market inefficiencies. Moneyball card collecting!

  2. I've always loved the leader cards from the '60s, great stuff Fuji!

  3. Excellent way to get those vintage HOFers!

  4. Great way to at way to pick up Hall of Famers. I always include these in my team sets if they have a Red Sox player on them . Always a bonus. If a HOF is on it also

  5. I love these. I used to spend lots of time as a kid just going through the backs of them reading homer totals, wins, etc.

    For a long time I've had a goofy idea banging around in my head involving floating head leader cards. Maybe having a competition involving which card's grouping of floating heads represents the most homers for a season, or career or stuff like that. Maybe I'll work on it some more.

    1. Can't wait... love floating heads... look forward to reading about it on your blog.

  6. A couple of the '65 leader cards have Mantle on them. 72 pitching leaders has three out of four hall of Famers

    1. Thanks for the suggestions Mark. The 65T set is my favorite set from the 60's, so I'll look into them. I'm going to target the 70's league leaders in the near future.

  7. Thanks for the support guys... and as always... thanks for taking the time to read my post.