1963 Topps

The 1963 Topps Baseball set consists of 576 cards, each measuring 2-1/2” by 3-1/2”. The focal point of each player card was a large likeness of the athlete with a smaller, black-and-white image, centered within a circular area at a bottom edge corner. The mammoth undertaking included the introduction of various “themes” along with the issue’s regular player cards. Themes included League Leaders (in such categories as RBI, Batting Average, and Wins), Managers, World Series Cards and Multi-Player Cards. In the latter, Stan Musial and Willie Mays formed the "Pride of N.L."  on #138 and four Pirates, including Roberto Clemente, constituted #18's "Buc Blasters." "Friendly Foes" Gil Hodges and Duke Snider appeared together on #68, Mickey Mantle and two teammates were the "Bombers' Best" (#173), and the "Dodgers' Big Three" card (#412) showed Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Johnny Podres.

Rookie Cards included Pete Rose on "High Number" card #537 plus Willie Stargell, Rusty Staub and Tony Oliva. Most of the cards displayed obscure variations in their color arrangement, punctuation or copyright line, with rarities including any "Semi High" (#s 447-522) or "High” (#s 523-576) offerings. The coveted Rose rookie is situated among the highest-numbered group, along with Stargell, Clemente, Duke Snider and Nelson Fox. The "Semi Highs" are notable for the presence of Lou Brock, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Harmon Killebrew and Tom Tresh – the latter two regarded as especially elusive "Short Prints." Elevated levels of condition scarcity are attached to the 1963 Topps cards, as the sensitive corners where solid color extends to the tips are prone to wear.

By the time Topps' 1963 production hit the shelves, almost a full generation of collectors had moved along from the year of the company's boldly pace-setting 1952 issue. During the intervening span of more than a decade, plenty of developments in card sets composition had been observed; numerous innovations had been attempted, and many survived from year to year. The resultant "snowballing" of features yielded a fresh and modern production, which displayed such visual complexity and crowded content that the cards likely wouldn't have been fully understood, let alone appreciated, ten years prior. Gum card evolution had been a gradual process, though, and buyers in 1963 were more than ready for the kaleidoscope of delights in the new Topps set.

Each of the 1963 Topps player cards was highlighted by a bright and glossy, large photograph of the athlete as the primary focal point of the card. A much smaller, black and white image, centered within a circular area slightly smaller than a half-dollar at a bottom edge corner, revealed a different pose; the secondary photo, plus caption information, occupied a full-bleed band of color that formed the piece's lower margin. The cards' backs, printed in black with yellow-orange backgrounds, carried neatly arranged layouts with personal info, biographical highlights (some in text form, plus one as a cartoon), and in most cases, statistical records covering the player's entire career.

Composition - The set consists of 576 cards, which combine to cover an amazing gamut of information and a packed roster of baseball's personnel. A quick look at the range of the 1963 Topps special elements shows that the set is relatively dizzying in its scope and causes the viewer to reflect upon the fact that almost none of these features were present in standard Topps or Bowman productions from just ten years earlier. The ideas caught on upon introduction and had become, essentially, mandatory elements of card sets' construction.

Here's an overview of the 1963 Topps themes along with the year the first item of each type was introduced by the company. Remember, all of these are presented in addition to the issue's regular player cards:

League Leaders - First employed in 1961, the Leaders (in such categories as RBI, Batting Average, and Wins) are honored on the 1963 Topps ten opening numbers.

Managers - (1950) Managers had been shown off and on in baseball card sets since the 19th Century, and the current skippers were all present in the 1963 Topps set. An interesting design feature of the managers' cards was the replacement of the standard second picture with their team logo instead - a great touch when sorting the cards into team order!

World Series Cards - (1959) Card #s 142-148 deliver a pictorial recap of the Giants' defeat at the hands of the Yankees.

Multi-Player Cards - This idea debuted in modern times in 1954, when Pittsburgh's O'Brien Brothers shared card #139. This concept was allowed plenty of freedom in 1963, with some marvelously creative and inspired combinations affording Topps the opportunity to add some extra star cards to its production. Stan Musial and Willie Mays formed the "Pride of N.L." (#138), and four Pirates, including Clemente, constituted #18's "Buc Blasters." "Friendly Foes" Hodges and Snider appeared together on #68, Mickey Mantle and two teammates were the "Bombers' Best" (#173), and the "Dodgers' Big Three" card (#412) showed Koufax, Drysdale and Podres. It would be difficult to contend that such items didn't contribute loads of personality to a card set! Topps was finished with the multi-players by the time it concluded Series 5. Presumably, space in the lineup was needed to accommodate the concentration of rookie cards in the higher card numbers.

Rookie Cards - Each of these entries presented four rookie players. First-year players were taking on increased prominence in each new Topps release. Special note of a ballplayer's debut appearance began in 1960 with the company's All-Star Rookie (Trophy) cards; these awards continued in 1963 on certain athletes' individual cards. But many more young players were captured in the small circles of the 1963s' four-in-one rookie cards. Foremost among these is Pete Rose (on "High Number" card #537), whose tiny portrayal remains one of the most vigorously pursued collectibles of its era. Other up-and-comers treated in this fashion by Topps include Willie Stargell, Rusty Staub, Tony Oliva and Gaylord Perry (shown on what was actually a second-year card, as the future Hall of Famer was apparently demoted from his full-card status in 1962). By 1964, the manufacturer drew back on this approach. Rookie cards the next year would feature just two players apiece, but the four-player style allowed dozens of first-year appearances in 1963... and Pete Rose is the undisputed king of this category.

Team Cards - (1956) With the cropped, color-background photos of each squad, these cards remained as popular as ever among enthusiasts.

Checklists - (1956) It had become customary by this time to give consumers a means of record-keeping as they built their sets. The checklists also allowed Topps a bit of self-promotion: the last few numbers on each series' checklist gave a sneak preview by revealing several players who wouldn't be available until the next series went on sale! The checklists were also fertile ground for hunters of oddities, as most of the cards displayed obscure variations in their color arrangement, punctuation or copyright line.

Key Features and Rarities - Late-season production and distribution drop-offs led to two levels of scarcity in the 1963 Topps set. Its "Semi Highs" (#s 447-522) and its "Highs" (#s 523-576) were both hard to find, with the former actually a bit more difficult than the true "Highs." The coveted Rose rookie is situated among the highest-numbered group, along with Stargell, Clemente, Duke Snider and Nelson Fox. The "Semi Highs" are notable for the presence of Lou Brock, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda, as well as Harmon Killebrew and Tom Tresh - both of whom are regarded as especially elusive "Short Prints" within their already challenging numerical group.

Elevated levels of condition scarcity are attached to the 1963 Topps cards, too. Each card has two sensitive corners where solid color extends all the way to the tips, and these are prone to readily expose the slightest bit of wear. Truly uncirculated-looking 1963 Topps cards are particularly tough to obtain on the basis of this (admittedly attractive) quirk in the issue's design.

Bottom Line - The 1963 Topps release set the tone for a different decade and a different generation. The collecting public had matured since 1952, in terms of expectations, and buyers were ready to be dazzled, rather than merely satisfied, by each new season's group of cards. As an eye-catching release packed full of interesting sub-topics and multi-themed specialty pieces, the 1963 Topps set acted as yet another instance in which the premier card manufacturer's offering was perfectly suited for its time.

SET LIST

# CARD NAME
1 NL Batting Leaders
2 AL Batting Leaders
3 NL Home Run Leaders
4 AL Home Run Leaders
5 NL Era Leaders
6 AL Era Leaders
7 NL Pitching Leaders
8 AL Pitching Leaders
9 NL Strikeout Leaders
10 AL Strikeout Leaders
11 Lee Walls
12 Steve Barber
13 Phillies Team
14 Pedro Ramos
15 Ken Hubbs
16 Al Smith
17 Ryne Duren
18 Buc Blasters
19 Pete Burnside
20 Tony Kubek
21 Marty Keough
22 Curt Simmons
23 Ed Lopat
24 Bob Bruce
25 Al Kaline
26 Ray Moore
27 Choo Choo Coleman
28 Mike Fornieles
29 1963 Rookie Stars Sammy Ellis/Ray Culp/Jesse Gonder/John Boozer
30 Harvey Kuenn
31 Cal Koonce
32 Tony Gonzalez
33 Bo Belinsky
34 Dick Schofield
35 John Buzhardt
36 Jerry Kindall
37 Jerry Lynch
38 Bud Daley
39 Angels Team
40 Vic Power
41 Charlie Lau
42 Stan Williams
43 Veteran Masters (Casey Stengel/Gene Woodling)
44 Terry Fox
45 Bob Aspromonte
46 Tommie Aaron
47 Don Lock
48 Birdie Tebbetts
49 Dal Maxvill
50 Bill Pierce
51 George Alusik
52 Chuck Schilling
53 Joe Moeller
54 1962 Rookie Stars Nelson Mathews/Harry Fannock/Dave DeBusschere/Jack Cullen
54 1963 Rookie Stars Nelson Mathews/Harry Fannock/Dave DeBusschere/Jack Cullen
55 Bill Virdon
56 Dennis Bennett
57 Billy Moran
58 Bob Will
59 Craig Anderson
60 Elston Howard
61 Ernie Bowman
62 Bob Hendley
63 Reds Team
64 Dick McAuliffe
65 Jackie Brandt
66 Mike Joyce
67 Ed Charles
68 Friendly Foes (Duke Snider/Gil Hodges)
69 Bud Zipfel
70 Jim O'Toole
71 Bobby Wine
72 Johnny Romano
73 Bobby Bragan
74 Denver Lemaster
75 Bob Allison
76 Earl Wilson
77 Al Spangler
78 Marv Throneberry
79 Checklist 1-88
80 Jim Gilliam
81 Jimmie Schaffer
82 Ed Rakow
83 Charley James
84 Ron Kline
85 Tom Haller
86 Charley Maxwell
87 Bob Veale
88 Ron Hansen
89 Dick Stigman
90 Gordy Coleman
91 Dallas Green
92 Hector Lopez
93 Galen Cisco
94 Bob Schmidt
95 Larry Jackson
96 Lou Clinton
97 Bob Duliba
98 George Thomas
99 Jim Umbricht
100 Joe Cunningham
101 Joe Gibbon
102 Checklist 89-176 (Checklist In White On Red)
102 Checklist 89-176 (Checklist Red On Yellow)
103 Chuck Essegian
104 Lew Krausse
105 Ron Fairly
106 Bob Bolin
107 Jim Hickman
108 Hoyt Wilhelm
109 Lee Maye
110 Rich Rollins
111 Al Jackson
112 Dick Brown
113 Don Landrum (Photo Actually Ron Santo)
114 Dan Osinski
115 Carl Yastrzemski
116 Jim Brosnan
117 Jacke Davis
118 Sherm Lollar
119 Bob Lillis
120 Roger Maris
121 Jim Hannan
122 Julio Gotay
123 Frank Howard
124 Dick Howser
125 Robin Roberts
126 Bob Uecker
127 Bill Tuttle
128 Matty Alou
129 Gary Bell
130 Dick Groat
131 Senators Team
132 Jack Hamilton
133 Gene Freese
134 Bob Scheffing
135 Richie Ashburn
136 Ike Delock
137 Mack Jones
138 Pride Of N.L. (Willie Mays/Stan Musial)
139 Earl Averill
140 Frank Lary
141 Manny Mota
142 Yanks' Whitey Ford Wins Series Opener
143 Jack Sanford Flashes Shutout Magic
144 Roger Maris Sparks Yankee Rally
145 Chuck Hiller Blasts Grand Slammer
146 Tom Tresh's Homer Defeats Giants
147 Billy Pierce Stars in 3-Hit Victory
148 Yanks Celebrate as Ralph Terry Wins
149 Marv Breeding
150 Johnny Podres
151 Pirates Team
152 Ron Nischwitz
153 Hal Smith
154 Walt Alston
155 Bill Stafford
156 Roy McMillan
157 Diego Segui
158 1963 Rookie Stars Rogelio Alvarez/Dave Roberts/Bob Saverine/Tommy Harper
159 Jim Pagliaroni
160 Juan Pizarro
161 Frank Torre
162 Twins Team
163 Don Larsen
164 Bubba Morton
165 Jim Kaat
166 Johnny Keane
167 Jim Fregosi
168 Russ Nixon
169 1963 Rookie Stars Dick Egan/Julio Navarro/Gaylord Perry/Tommie Sisk
170 Joe Adcock
171 Steve Hamilton
172 Gene Oliver
173 Bombers' Best (Tom Tresh/Mickey Mantle/Bobby Richardson)
174 Larry Burright
175 Bob Buhl
176 Jim King
177 Bubba Phillips
178 Johnny Edwards
179 Ron Piche
180 Bill Skowron
181 Sammy Esposito
182 Albie Pearson
183 Joe Pepitone
184 Vern Law
185 Chuck Hiller
186 Jerry Zimmerman
187 Willie Kirkland
188 Eddie Bressoud
189 Dave Giusti
190 Minnie Minoso
191 Checklist 177-264
192 Clay Dalrymple
193 Andre Rodgers
194 Joe Nuxhall
195 Manny Jimenez
196 Doug Camilli
197 Roger Craig
198 Lenny Green
199 Joe Amalfitano
200 Mickey Mantle
201 Cecil Butler
202 Red Sox Team
203 Chico Cardenas
204 Don Nottebart
205 Luis Aparicio
206 Ray Washburn
207 Ken Hunt
208 1963 Rookie Stars Ron Herbel/John Miller/Ron Taylor/Wally Wolf
209 Hobie Landrith
210 Sandy Koufax
211 Fred Whitfield
212 Glen Hobbie
213 Billy Hitchcock
214 Orlando Pena
215 Bob Skinner
216 Gene Conley
217 Joe Christopher
218 Tiger Twirlers (Frank Lary/Don Mossi/Jim Bunning)
219 Chuck Cottier
220 Camilo Pascual
221 Cookie Rojas
222 Cubs Team
223 Eddie Fisher
224 Mike Roarke
225 Joe Jay
226 Julian Javier
227 Jim Grant
228 1963 Rookie Stars Max Alvis/Bob Bailey/Ed Kranepool/Tony Oliva
229 Willie Davis
230 Pete Runnels
231 Eli Grba (Photo Ryne Duren)
232 Frank Malzone
233 Casey Stengel
234 Dave Nicholson
235 Billy O'Dell
236 Bill Bryan
237 Jim Coates
238 Lou Johnson
239 Harvey Haddix
240 Rocky Colavito
241 Billy Smith
242 Power Plus (Ernie Banks/Hank Aaron)
243 Don Leppert
244 John Tsitouris
245 Gil Hodges
246 Lee Stange
247 Yankees Team
248 Tito Francona
249 Leo Burke
250 Stan Musial
251 Jack Lamabe
252 Ron Santo
253 1963 Rookie Stars Len Gabrielson/Pete Jernigan/Deacon Jones/John Wojcik
254 Mike Hershberger
255 Bob Shaw
256 Jerry Lumpe
257 Hank Aguirre
258 Alvin Dark
259 Johnny Logan
260 Jim Gentile
261 Bob Miller
262 Ellis Burton
263 Dave Stenhouse
264 Phil Linz
265 Vada Pinson
266 Bob Allen
267 Carl Sawatski
268 Don Demeter
269 Don Mincher
270 Felipe Alou
271 Dean Stone
272 Danny Murphy
273 Sammy Taylor
274 Checklist 265-352
275 Ed Mathews
276 Barry Shetrone
277 Dick Farrell
278 Chico Fernandez
279 Wally Moon
280 Bob Rodgers
281 Tom Sturdivant
282 Bob Del Greco
283 Roy Sievers
284 Dave Sisler
285 Dick Stuart
286 Stu Miller
287 Dick Bertell
288 White Sox Team
289 Hal Brown
290 Bill White
291 Don Rudolph
292 Pumpsie Green
293 Bill Pleis
294 Bill Rigney
295 Ed Roebuck
296 Doc Edwards
297 Jim Golden
298 Don Dillard
299 1963 Rookie Stars Dave Morehead/Bob Dustal/Dan Schneider/Tom Butters
300 Willie Mays
301 Bill Fischer
302 Whitey Herzog
303 Earl Francis
304 Harry Bright
305 Don Hoak
306 Star Receivers (Earl Battey/Elston Howard)
307 Chet Nichols
308 Camilo Carreon
309 Jim Brewer
310 Tommy Davis
311 Joe McClain
312 Colt .45s Team
313 Ernie Broglio
314 John Goryl
315 Ralph Terry
316 Norm Sherry
317 Sam McDowell
318 Gene Mauch
319 Joe Gaines
320 Warren Spahn
321 Gino Cimoli
322 Bob Turley
323 Bill Mazeroski
324 1963 Rookie Stars George Williams/Pete Ward/Vic Davalillo/Phil Roof
325 Jack Sanford
326 Hank Foiles
327 Paul Foytack
328 Dick Williams
329 Lindy McDaniel
330 Chuck Hinton
331 Series Foes (Bill Stafford/Billy Pierce)
332 Joel Horlen
333 Carl Warwick
334 Wynn Hawkins
335 Leon Wagner
336 Ed Bauta
337 Dodgers Team
338 Russ Kemmerer
339 Ted Bowsfield
340 Yogi Berra
341 Jack Baldschun (Slash Repair W/Red/Mottling)
341 Jack Baldschun (White Slash In Inset Photo)
342 Gene Woodling
343 Johnny Pesky
344 Don Schwall
345 Brooks Robinson
346 Billy Hoeft
347 Joe Torre
348 Vic Wertz
349 Zoilo Versalles
350 Bob Purkey
351 Al Luplow
352 Ken Johnson
353 Billy Williams
354 Dom Zanni
355 Dean Chance
356 John Schaive
357 George Altman
358 Milt Pappas
359 Haywood Sullivan
360 Don Drysdale
361 Clete Boyer
362 Checklist 353-429
363 Dick Radatz
364 Howie Goss
365 Jim Bunning
366 Tony Taylor
367 Tony Cloninger
368 Ed Bailey
369 Jim Lemon
370 Dick Donovan
371 Rod Kanehl
372 Don Lee
373 Jim Campbell
374 Claude Osteen
375 Ken Boyer
376 Johnnie Wyatt
377 Orioles Team
378 Bill Henry
379 Bob Anderson
380 Ernie Banks
381 Frank Baumann
382 Ralph Houk
383 Pete Richert
384 Bob Tillman
385 Art Mahaffey
386 1963 Rookie Stars Ed Kirkpatrick/John Bateman/Garry Roggenburk/Larry Bearnarth
387 Al McBean
388 Jim Davenport
389 Frank Sullivan
390 Hank Aaron
391 Bill Dailey
392 Tribe Thumpers (Johnny Romano/Tito Francona)
393 Ken MacKenzie
394 Tim McCarver
395 Don McMahon
396 Joe Koppe
397 Athletics Team
398 Boog Powell
399 Dick Ellsworth
400 Frank Robinson
401 Jim Bouton
402 Mickey Vernon
403 Ron Perranoski
404 Bob Oldis
405 Floyd Robinson
406 Howie Koplitz
407 1963 Rookie Stars Frank Kostro/Chico Ruiz/Dick Simpson/Larry Elliott
408 Billy Gardner
409 Roy Face
410 Earl Battey
411 Jim Constable
412 Dodgers' Big Three (Johnny Podres/Don Drysdale/Sandy Koufax)
413 Jerry Walker
414 Ty Cline
415 Bob Gibson
416 Alex Grammas
417 Giants Team
418 Johnny Orsino
419 Tracy Stallard
420 Bobby Richardson
421 Tom Morgan
422 Fred Hutchinson
423 Ed Hobaugh
424 Charley Smith
425 Smoky Burgess
426 Barry Latman
427 Bernie Allen
428 Carl Boles
429 Lou Burdette
430 Norm Siebern
431 Checklist 430-506 (Checklist In Black)
431 Checklist 430-506 (Checklist In White)
432 Roman Mejias
433 Denis Menke
434 Johnny Callison
435 Woody Held
436 Tim Harkness
437 Bill Bruton
438 Wes Stock
439 Don Zimmer
440 Juan Marichal
441 Lee Thomas
442 J.C. Hartman
443 Jim Piersall
444 Jim Maloney
445 Norm Cash
446 Whitey Ford
447 Felix Mantilla
448 Jack Kralick
449 Jose Tartabull
450 Bob Friend
451 Indians Team
452 Barney Schultz
453 Jake Wood
454 Art Fowler (Card # On White Backgrnd.)
454 Art Fowler (Card# On Orange Bckgrnd.)
455 Ruben Amaro
456 Jim Coker
457 Tex Clevenger
458 Al Lopez
459 Dick LeMay
460 Del Crandall
461 Norm Bass
462 Wally Post
463 Joe Schaffernoth
464 Ken Aspromonte
465 Chuck Estrada
466 1963 Rookie Stars Nate Oliver/Tony Martinez/Jerry Robinson/Bill Freehan
467 Phil Ortega
468 Carroll Hardy
469 Jay Hook
470 Tom Tresh
471 Ken Retzer
472 Lou Brock
473 Mets Team
474 Jack Fisher
475 Gus Triandos
476 Frank Funk
477 Donn Clendenon
478 Paul Brown
479 Ed Brinkman
480 Bill Monbouquette
481 Bob Taylor
482 Felix Torres
483 Jim Owens
484 Dale Long
485 Jim Landis
486 Ray Sadecki
487 John Roseboro
488 Jerry Adair
489 Paul Toth
490 Willie McCovey
491 Harry Craft
492 Dave Wickersham
493 Walt Bond
494 Phil Regan
495 Frank Thomas
496 1963 Rookie Stars Steve Dalkowski/Fred Newman/Carl Bouldin/Jack Smith
497 Bennie Daniels
498 Eddie Kasko
499 J.C. Martin
500 Harmon Killebrew
501 Joe Azcue
502 Daryl Spencer
503 Braves Team
504 Bob Johnson
505 Curt Flood
506 Gene Green
507 Roland Sheldon
508 Ted Savage
509 Checklist 507-576 (Copyright Centered)
509 Checklist 507-576 (Copyright To Right)
510 Ken McBride
511 Charlie Neal
512 Cal McLish
513 Gary Geiger
514 Larry Osborne
515 Don Elston
516 Purnal Goldy
517 Hal Woodeshick
518 Don Blasingame
519 Claude Raymond
520 Orlando Cepeda
521 Dan Pfister
522 1963 Rookie Stars Mel Nelson/Gary Peters/Art Quirk/Jim Roland
523 Bill Kunkel
524 Cardinals Team
525 Nellie Fox
526 Dick Hall
527 Ed Sadowski
528 Carl Willey
529 Wes Covington
530 Don Mossi
531 Sam Mele
532 Steve Boros
533 Bobby Shantz
534 Ken Walters
535 Jim Perry
536 Norm Larker
537 1963 Rookie Stars Pedro Gonzalez/Ken McMullen/Pete Rose/Al Weis
538 George Brunet
539 Wayne Causey
540 Bob Clemente
541 Ron Moeller
542 Lou Klimchock
543 Russ Snyder
544 1963 Rookie Stars Duke Carmel/Bill Haas/Dick Phillips/Rusty Staub
545 Jose Pagan
546 Hal Reniff
547 Gus Bell
548 Tom Satriano
549 1963 Rookie Stars Marcelino Lopez/Pete Lovrich/Elmo Plaskett/Paul Ratliff
550 Duke Snider
551 Billy Klaus
552 Tigers Team
553 1963 Rookie Stars Brock Davis/Jim Gosger/John Herrnstein/Willie Stargell
554 Hank Fischer
555 John Blanchard
556 Al Worthington
557 Cuno Barragan
558 1963 Rookie Stars Bill Faul/Ron Hunt/Bob Lipski/Al Moran
559 Danny Murtaugh
560 Ray Herbert
561 Mike DeLahoz
562 1963 Rookie Stars Randy Cardinal/Dave McNally/Don Rowe/Ken Rowe
563 Mike McCormick
564 George Banks
565 Larry Sherry
566 Cliff Cook
567 Jim Duffalo
568 Bob Sadowski
569 Luis Arroyo
570 Frank Bolling
571 Johnny Klippstein
572 Jack Spring
573 Coot Veal
574 Hal Kolstad
575 Don Cardwell
576 Johnny Temple