|1991 Topps 1953 Archives #10, #146, #88, #79|
Number of cards in the set: Although the set numbers to 280, there are only 274 cards in the set as six cards were never issued.
My very brief thoughts on the set: When I'm rich and famous, I'd love to collect this set. The only drawback is the lack of notable Phillies players in the set, which I'll get to in a a little bit. The write-up in the Standard Catalog notes this is the first time the back of baseball cards featured a trivia question.
Notable competition: Bowman issued two sets in 1953 - a 160-card color set and a 64-card black and white set. Trying to keep up with Topps, both Bowman sets contained a line of prior year and career statistics on the back.
|1991 Topps 1953 Archives #102, #140, #59, #136|
Record and finish: After winning 87 games and finishing in fourth in 1952, the record slipped to 83-71, but the finish improved to third place in the National League. The Phils had finished the '52 season as one of the hottest teams in baseball, and they were primed to compete in the Senior Circuit in '53. But it wasn't to be, as injuries and a red hot Brooklyn Dodgers team couldn't be overcome.
Key players: Robin Roberts led the league in wins (23), strikeouts (198) and complete games (33) on his way to being named The Sporting News' pitcher of the year for the second consecutive year. Richie Ashburn led the league in hits (205) while hitting .330 for the year. Lefty Curt Simmons (16-13, 3.21) had another successful year and Jim Konstanty, who started 19 games for the Phils, made a nice comeback with a 14-10 record. Left fielder Del Ennis (.285, 29 home runs, 125 RBIs) had another solid year. Granny Hamner (.276, 21 home runs, 92 RBIs) was the starting shortstop for the National League in the All-Star Game, but he was moved to second over the summer to make room for rising prospect Ted Kazanski.
Key events: Simmons cut off the end of one of his big toes in June, missing a month of the season. Second baseman Connie Ryan had six hits in a game against the Pirates on April 16th.
|1991 Topps 1953 Archives #311, #288, #318, #307|
1953 Phillies in 1953 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set: There are only 9 Phillies cards in the '53 Topps set, which is well below the average for the 16 existing teams at the time. Even worse, two of the nine Phillies featured didn't play a game for the team in 1953 - Howie Fox, who played for the AAA Baltimore Orioles all season, and Ken Heintzelman, who was released by the Phils on April 4th. We're up to 36 total Phillies cards in Topps' first three years.
|1991 Topps |
1953 Archives #88 (Back)
Who’s out: Just about everybody else - first baseman Earl Torgeson, shortstop Kazanski, outfielders Ennis and Ashburn, pitchers Roberts, Simmons and Konstanty and the entire bullpen.
Phillies on other teams: Pitcher Johnny Lindell was purchased from Pittsburgh in August and he appeared in 11 games for the Phillies. He appears on card #230 as a Pirate.
What’s he doing here?: Fox and Heintzelman, as mentioned above.
Cards that never were candidates: Ennis, Ashburn, Roberts, Simmons and Konstanty.
Favorite Phillies card: I'm going with Willie Jones' card with its blue sky background with white fluffy clouds. Although it would have been cool had Topps crammed in "Puddin' Head" on the front of the card instead of "Willie."
|2002 Topps Heritage #30, #179, #246, #288|
Recycled: Topps reprinted the '53 set in 1991, dubbing it 1991 Topps Archives, "The Ultimate 1953 Set." Topps included 57 "cards that never were" featuring black and white photos and colored backgrounds, which completely failed to capture the look and feel of the original. What could have been a cool concept was botched as the cards that never were looked absolutely nothing like the cards that actually were, save for the colored black or red box and team logo. Had they done it right, the 1953 Topps Ashburn card would have looked like this. As mentioned above, Topps used the design for its second Heritage set in 2002.