30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, August 11, 2017

Not Quite Mickey

The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is one of the most iconic and recognizable cards in our hobby, which has made the 1952 Topps design itself popular.  As a public school teacher living in one of the most expensive areas in the United States, it's not really realistic or sensible for me to even think about owning a copy.  But I thought it'd be cool to own at least one card from that set and as luck would have it... there are over 400 cards outside of Mickey to choose from.

Back in the 80's, when I first started collecting, my aunt took me to a sports memorabilia store and allowed me to pick a card for my collection.  I decided to go with the Andy Pafko on the recommendation of the store employee.  It was the first and until recently the only 1952 Topps baseball card to grace my collection.  I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I traded it for a 1987 Fleer tin set and some rookie cards.  It's obviously one of the worst trades I've ever made, but it is what it is.

Three decades later, Tony over at Off Hiatus Baseball presented all of us with his 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge.  The 18th challenge is to show off a card of a player who became manager of your favorite team.

This motivated me to look for a Billy Martin card from his playing years, which led me to his 1952 Topps rookie card.  Unfortunately... that card isn't exactly cheap.  So I turned to another guy who managed a favorite team of mine and ended up purchasing this card on COMC:

1952 Topps #237

The card itself is pretty beat up.  It's creased all over and has a small tear.  Normally this would really bother me, especially since I've really been interested in buying graded vintage cards as of late.  However it was very affordable ($2.65) and I fell in love with this card as soon as I saw it.  This card has character.  It looks and feels like what I envision a 1952 Topps baseball card to be like.

Best of all... it features a true San Diego Padres legend.

Most people know Coleman for his days in the Padres broadcasting booth.  But back in 1980 he managed the team for a single season.  His team won five of the first six games of the season,  but by the end of May they never reached the .500 mark again.

Coleman returned to the broadcasting booth the following season.  According to this article, he believed that managing the ball club for that single season was the best thing that ever happened to him.  His managing experience helped him understand a different side of the game, which enabled him to be a better broadcaster.

In 2005, Coleman received the Ford C. Frick Award which is given annually by the National Baseball Hall of Fame to a broadcaster for their contributions to the game.  Sadly he passed away in 2014 at the age of 89.

As of right now, I don't really have any immediate plans to add more 1952 Topps baseball cards to my collection.  But that's okay.  I'm content with owning this amazing piece of cardboard.

Happy Friday and sayonara!


  1. Any card from this set is fun to own. I never heard Coleman as a Padres broadcaster but I do remember him doing Yankees games way back when.

  2. That 52 Coleman is one of my favorites!

  3. That's a cool card! Almost looks like a puzzle piece has been slightly misplaced where the tear is. Can you imagine all the fun this card went through to arrive in its present condition? There are some good short stories and maybe a novel wedged in those creases.

  4. Padres legend there. That card has character as well.

  5. You can hang a star on that baby!

  6. Being married to a native San Diegan I have had the pleasure of listening to Jerry Coleman. Sometimes it is't the condition of the card but the story behind it-great story.

  7. Every collection needs a 1952 Topps card in it. I only added my first a couple of months ago. There's one player from my alma mater in the set but he's a dang high-number!

  8. Such an iconic set. I am unfamiliar with his work as a broadcaster as I never listen to SD broadcasts

  9. $2.65 for a 52Topps card is a great deal in any condition. It might not be a Mickey but it's a Yankee and a HOFer! My friend had a beat up Gene Woodling 52 in his collection about 20-25 years ago and I remember it like it was my own card. If I were to buy a "cheap" 52 I think I'd get that one.

  10. commish - growing up in the bay area, outside of a few tributes and highlights, i hadn't heard him either. but i had been hearing about his legacy for years

    tic - it's my favorite too! well... until i secure that jackie for my collection ;)

    adam, jongudmund, & brady - it definitely has character. if only it could talk

    defgav - i can still hear him say that after gwynn's 3,000th hit

    kin - had to look it up on your blog... sweet mize!

    collecting cutch - as a sd fan, i had heard about his legacy, but didn't really listen to him either. only on the occasional highlights

    chris - thanks. yeah, i saw it and couldn't pass up the opportunity to make the comc dealer an offer. super glad he accepted