The 1956 Topps set is an exciting set to collect. Topps purchased rival Bowman after the 1955 season and brought all the Bowman-contracted players to Topps. Thus, the 1956 Topps set contains 340 cards and an incredible 34 Hall of Fame players! Although Stan Musial’s contract with Rawlings prevented his inclusion, many other notable Hall of Famers are included: Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Ted Williams, and many more!
The 1956 Topps baseball card set features dual images in a horizontal format. Because Topps possessed only one part-time photographer on its payroll, the company used some of the same player portraits as in the 1955 Topps set. The cards measure 2-5/8” x 3-3/4” and have three-panel cartoons on the back portraying significant moments in the player’s career along with statistics below and biographical information above.
The 1956 Topps Baseball Card Set is the first to include team cards as part of the set and there are two unnumbered checklist cards. Six of the team cards (Cubs, Phillies, Indians, Braves, Reds, and Orioles) were issued with the team names plus dates, or with the team names to the left, with either white or gray backs, or with team names centered with both back colors. Duplicates of team cards were easy to part with via flipping or bike spoke noise enhancers; therefore, given the lesser quantities of each of the varieties, and the fact that the cards were not highly treasured, putting together high grade sets with all the team card variations is a significant challenge.
Both Yankees and Dodgers team cards are also highly valued, selling for several hundred dollars in top grades. A master set contains cards #1-180 either white or gray backed, two unnumbered checklists, 15 additional team varieties (including the white and gray cardboard versions), plus cards #181 to 320. Therefore, there are 537 cards, not counting the print-flawed varieties, that can be collected.
The most popular card in the set is #135 Mickey Mantle. This beautiful version of the Mick represents his Triple Crown MVP season, when he batted .353, slugged 52 homeruns, and drove in 130 RBI. Also, popular from this set are #240 Whitey Ford, the American League E.R.A. leader, #31 Hank Aaron, the National League Batting Champion, #332 Don Larsen, winner of the only Perfect Game in World Series history, and #30 Jackie Robinson, his last card (after the season, Robinson would be traded to the New York Giants. Rather than play for his rival team, Robinson decided to retire).
Other players of note who appeared on the first Topps cards in 1956 were Luis Aparicio, Rookie of the Year, Don Larsen, Don Newcombe, Herb Score, Elston Howard, Lew Burdette, and Frank Torre.
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