The Glorious Backs Of 1965 Topps Cards

1965 Topps is a set that grows on me more and more with each passing year.

When I was younger, I liked the set just fine, but nothing about it stood out from other 1960’s set. They were all cool, I liked them all.

I really got to appreciate 1965 Topps when Upper Deck ripped off – ah, ehrrr – paid tribute to them in 2003.  the more packs I bought, the more the appeal of the design grew on me.

However, I never really looked that much at the backs until earlier this year when I was inventorying my 1965 cards… and now they are among my favorite backs in baseball card history.

Or at least the top third of the cards are among my favorites…
1965 Topps Larry Miller  Back

One of the things that I like most about 1965 Topps cards is that a significant portion of the back is hand-drawn… No fonts here, baby. The player name, the cartoon, and the cartoon’s caption were all done by a staff artist.

I don’t have a lot of 1965 cards, and some of the longer-tenured players don’t have space for a cartoon, but here are a few favorite backs from my collection…
1965 Topps Al Weis back

1965 Topps Bill Virdon Back

1965 Topps Dave McNally back

1965 Topps Donn Clendenon  back

“Sally League” is a reference to the South Atlantic League (“SAL-ly”).  This is actually a different league than the current South Atlantic League;  that league changed to a AA clasification in 1964 and became the Southern League.

I’m curious to see how these backs get handled in 2014 Topps Heritage;  I’m expecting a “handwriting” font and non-original cartoons, but maybe they’ll surprise me.

Maybe we’ll even get to see “Sally”!

…and speaking of 1965 Topps, 2014 Heritage and 2003 Vintage, I’ve noticed that 2003 Vintage is starting to appear on the fronts of Fairfield repacks. I’ve got to admit, highlighting cards which look like the upcoming Heritage set is pretty astute.

Review: Game 7 of the 1960 World Series – Pirates vs. Yankees

All images courtesy of

1961 Topps #312 - World Series Game 7 Bill Mazeroski - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.comI recently finished watching Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, and boy, that was a fun game to watch.  The game itself is exciting, but the fun is on so many levels…  The players, the uniforms, the ballpark, the manual scoreboard, the broadcast itself… it’s so great being able to watch an entire game from 50 years ago without going through the filter of a World Series Highlight film.

If  you know anything about this series, you know that Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off homer in game 7 to win the series.  What’s telling about this series is that the Yankees absolutely beat upon the Pirates in their 3 wins, and scored 9 runs in this loss.  Yankee Bobby Richardson was the MVP, and when the MVP is on the losing team, that tells you something.

1960 Topps #405 - Bobby Richardson - Courtesy of

For those who don’t know the story behind this recording of the game, it was something which was thought to have been lost, but an archivist going through Bing Crosby’s wine cellar (Bing was a part-owner of the Pirates) found a kinescope (a film made of a TV broadcast) of the game.  It was originally re-broadcast on the MLB Network in December, 2010.  I’d Tivo’ed the game at the time and didn’t watch the game all at once;  instead, I watched an inning or two every time I needed a baseball fix.

It’s kind of trite to say this, but a large part of the fun was seeing players “come to life”.  There were so many players I was familiar with, but had never seen on a field before;  there’s Hall of Famers like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra and Roberto Clemente – one small thing I noticed is that when Clemente tossed a ball back into the infield, he did so underhanded, almost like fast pitch softball.
1960 Topps #326 - Roberto Clemente - Courtesy of
I’m familiar with Tony Kubek from his  broadcasting days, and many of the other players, guys like Bobby Shantz, Roy Face and Gil MacDougald, I know solely from vintage cards.  I hadn’t realized it, but if Shantz were playing today he’d be a favorite of mine… Dude was about my height (5’7”), and those who read this blog regularly are probably tired of me saying that I’ve got a soft spot for the vertically challenged.

1960 Topps #315 - Bobby Shantz - Courtesy of
At one point in the game, it looked like Hal Smith would go down through the ages as the hero of Game 7, but things didn’t quite pan out that way…
1960 Topps #48 - Hal W. Smith - Courtesy of
There was Bill Virdon patrolling center field, which was very interesting to me… Virdon was the manager of the Yankees when I first started following baseball, and it’s odd to think of him as a defensive specialist and on-base guy.
1960 Topps #496 - Bill Virdon - Courtesy of
Then there’s just the general feel of the game.  The uniforms were flannel, still a bit baggy, but starting to come into what we’re familiar with.  The stirrups were getting longer, the sleeves were getting shorter.

They showed the manual Forbes Field scoreboard often, and showed the score being changed once or twice.  I have to say, If I were ever to have input into the design of a ballpark, I would make sure that there’s a manual scoreboard somewhere in the place.  You can have 300-foot tall megatron videoboards everywhere, but there needs to be one manual scoreboard somewhere.  It’s just too cool not to have.

If whatever method you might use to watch this game includes the post-game interviews, don’t skip them.  It’s fun to watch and see how each player gets his 15 seconds on camera and then is almost literally shoved off to the side.  And the jacket that Bob Prince is wearing… GAHHHHH!!!!  Even in black and white, it’s a sight to behold.
1970 Fleer World Series #57 - 1960 Pirates/Yankees - Courtesy of
I’m not a particular fan of the Pirates, and I’m certainly not a fan of the Yankees, but even so I’m thinking about buying this on DVD.   Great stuff, highly recommended.