1957 Topps

Topps 1957 Football set consists of 154 cards, each measuring the newly standard-sized 2-1/2” by 3-1/2”. A player portrait is placed side-by-side with an "action" scene on the front of each horizontally oriented piece, with the athletes' names, teams and positions also identified. The set is anchored by depictions of George Blanda, Frank Gifford, Bobby Layne and Y.A. Tittle, with the rookie cards of Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas and Paul Hornung among the most powerful group of debut collectibles in any sport, and other first-year Hall of Famer appearances include cards of Raymond Berry, "Night Train" Lane and Tommy McDonald. Topps released its 1957 set in two series: the first group of 88 cards was followed by a smaller, 66-card run of "High Numbers, " with the latter containing the “big three” of the rookie crop. Although 1957 Topps "Highs" as a category are not excessively difficult to find, certain numbers in that run were short printed and are correspondingly elusive. Many remember this set for contributing two specialty elements to the hobby: the "Error Card" and the "Checklist." The former is occasionally observed on card #58, which features the Rams' Willard Sherman. In a very few instances, the team name (which should occupy the caption block at the card's right side) was left unprinted. Sherman is left soaring in a midair "action" portrayal on these rare "Error" pieces, and the cards look strangely incomplete. Checklist cards were produced in two different color schemes but sparingly placed into card packs.

By 1957, the Topps Company was quite well established as the market leader in the field of baseball cards, even though they had taken a tentative approach to football cards prior to that season. Perhaps energized by the success of its 1957 Baseball release, which was newly standard-sized with 2 ½" by 3 ½" cards and which promenaded a superb, real-photo theme, the company decided on a much more serious commitment to football than it had demonstrated in the past.

A quirky felt-backed issue, a group of odd "scratch-off" collectibles, and the colorful "All-Americans" highlighted Topps' gridiron heritage to this point; all of these featured only college players. Dabbling in the NFL realm for the first time in 1956 (after rival manufacturer Bowman was no longer a factor), the result was essentially a much-abridged version of 1956 Baseball. 1956 Topps Football provided a short, 120-card roster that accommodated Team Cards as well as depictions of established stars.

Composition - The 1957 Topps Football issue consists of 154 cards. A set tha''s relatively short and quite efficient in its construction, 1957s are memorable in style; each player is featured on the obverse in a portrait likeness placed side-by-side with an "action" scene. The cards are horizontal in orientation, with the athletes' names, teams and positions identified on the fronts, and biographical and statistical information - plus cartoons, which were becoming a Topps hallmark - decorating the backs.

The 1957 issue, in addition to solving the various shortcomings that resulted from its maker's prior indecision with respect to the sport, inaugurated a pattern of football-card continuity that would serve Topps nicely for the next several decades. At last, the company was prepared to be thoughtful and methodical with respect to a pastime that was becoming increasingly important to America's sports fans.

Each 1957 entry seems to have been carefully selected, an aspect that jives satisfactorily with its brevity. Virtually all of the day's significant stars are present, including such legends as Frank Gifford, Y.A. Tittle, George Blanda and Bobby Layne. Additionally, whoever made the final call in terms of content took care to recognize the NFL's future superstars. The set's formidable rookie triumvirate, Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas and Paul Hornung, is among the most powerful group of debut collectibles in any sport, and other first-year Hall of Famer appearances include cards of Ray Berry, "Night Train" Lane and Tommy McDonald.

Key Features and Rarities - The 1957s, possibly because a bit of tentativeness remained among Topps' decision makers, were released in two series: the first group of 88 cards was followed by a smaller, 66-card run of "High Numbers." The latter bunch is slightly more difficult to obtain, and naturally, it contains the "Big Three" within the release's rookie crop. Furthermore, although 1957 Topps' "Highs" as a category are not excessively tough to find, certain numbers in that run were short printed and are correspondingly elusive.

The "regular" cards, the stars and the rookies form the general-interest portion of 1957 Topps' story, but there are also two sub-plots that have captivated enthusiasts for 50 years. In a very real sense, 1957 Topps Football solidified the importance of two specialty elements, the "Error Card" and the "Checklist."

The former is occasionally observed on card #58, which features the Rams' Willard Sherman. In a very few instances, the team name (which should occupy the caption block at the card's right side) was left unprinted. Sherman is left soaring in a midair "action" portrayal on these rare "Error" pieces, and the cards look strangely incomplete. Although misprints were nothing new to trading cards, "Sherman" No Team - has steadily gained popularity as a scarce and quantifiable variation piece of which, significantly, a much more plentiful "Corrected " version was produced.

Checklist cards engage the imagination in a different way. Although Topps had tossed a few of these cards into the company's Baseball and Football packs in 1956, the concept remained fundamentally untested. (And the jury was still out as to the cards' innate desirability. Did a young consumer, hoping for a big star, derive pleasure upon receiving a lackluster checklist card in his penny pack?) In hindsight, it looks like the confectioner was simply undecided about checklists in 1957. Topps made the card (in two different color schemes) but seeded them into packs only sparingly. So, the football specialist of today not only has to find one of the very challenging pieces, but typically aspires to locate the item in respectable, unmarked condition too... not an easy task! Topps elected to add checklist designs to the backs of its Team Cards in 1958, and later solved the matter altogether by incorporating the items into regular sets as standard numbered cards. Still the un-numbered 1957 Topps Football Checklist card stands as a special milestone.

Bottom Line - Topps' 1957 Football production marked an observable turning point. The company was finished with large-sized cards, college players and novelty themes that tended to trivialize a sport which was beginning to rival the World Series as a source of autumn-season enthusiasm. Its 154 cards were ideally conceived and attractive, and its player content was appropriately robust. With the emergence of its 1957 Football production (and with the influence of its competitor, Bowman, now two years removed into the past) one thing became clear: Topps was determined to take charge in a new realm.

SET LIST

# CARD NAME
NNO Checklist 1-154
Checklist 1-154 (Bazooka)
Checklist 1-154 (Twin Blony)
J.C. Caroline/Leo Elter/Mike McCormack (Advertising Panel)
1 Eddie LeBaron
2 Pete Retzlaff
3 Mike McCormack
4 Lou Baldacci
5 Gino Marchetti
6 Leo Nomellini
7 Bobby Watkins
8 Dave Middleton
9 Bobby Dillon
10 Les Richter
11 Roosevelt Brown
12 Lavern Torgeson
13 Dick Bielski
14 Pat Summerall
15 Jack Butler
16 John Henry Johnson
17 Art Spinney
18 Bob St. Clair
19 Perry Jeter
20 Lou Creekmur
21 Dave Hanner
22 Norm Van Brocklin
23 Don Chandler
24 Al Dorow
25 Tom Scott
26 Ollie Matson
27 Fran Rogel
28 Lou Groza
29 Billy Vessels
30 Y.A. Tittle
31 George Blanda
32 Bobby Layne
33 Bill Howton
34 Bill Wade
35 Emlen Tunnell
36 Leo Elter
37 Clarence Peaks
38 Don Stonesifer
39 George Tarasovic
40 Darrel Brewster
41 Bert Rechichar
42 Billy Wilson
43 Ed Brown
44 Gene Gedman
45 Gary Knafelc
46 Elroy Hirsch
47 Don Heinrich
48 Gene Brito
49 Chuck Bednarik
50 Dave Mann
51 Bill McPeak
52 Kenny Konz
53 Alan Ameche
54 Gordon Soltau
55 Rick Casares
56 Charlie Ane
57 Al Carmichael
58 Bill Sherman (Cor. Rams Team On Front)
58 Bill Sherman (Err. No Team/Position)
58 Bill Sherman (Err. No Team/W Position)
59 Kyle Rote
60 Chuck Drazenovich
61 Bobby Walston
62 John Olszewski
63 Ray Mathews
64 Maurice Bassett
65 Art Donovan
66 Joe Arenas
67 Harlon Hill
68 Yale Lary
69 Bill Forester
70 Bob Boyd
71 Andy Robustelli
72 Sam Baker
73 Bob Pellegrini
74 Leo Sanford
75 Sid Watson
76 Ray Renfro
77 Carl Tasseff
78 Clyde Conner
79 J.C. Caroline
80 Howard Cassady
81 Tobin Rote
82 Ron Waller
83 Jim Patton
84 Volney Peters
85 Dick Lane
86 Royce Womble
87 Duane Putnam
88 Frank Gifford
89 Steve Meilinger
90 Buck Lansford
91 Lindon Crow
92 Ernie Stautner
93 Preston Carpenter
94 Raymond Berry
95 Hugh McElhenny
96 Stan Jones
97 Dorne Dibble
98 Joe Scudero
99 Eddie Bell
100 Joe Childress
101 Elbie Nickel
102 Walt Michaels
103 Jim Mutscheller
104 Earl Morrall
105 Larry Strickland
106 Jack Christiansen
107 Fred Cone
108 Bud McFadin
109 Charley Conerly
110 Tom Runnels
111 Ken Keller
112 James Root
113 Ted Marchibroda
114 Don Paul
115 George Shaw
116 Dick Moegle
117 Don Bingham
118 Leon Hart
119 Bart Starr
120 Paul Miller
121 Alex Webster
122 Ray Wietecha
123 Johnny Carson
124 Tommy McDonald
125 Jerry Tubbs
126 Jack Scarbath
127 Ed Modzelewski
128 Lenny Moore
129 Joe Perry
130 Bill Wightkin
131 Jim Doran
132 Howard Ferguson
133 Tom Wilson
134 Dick James
135 Jimmy Harris
136 Chuck Ulrich
137 Lynn Chandnois
138 Johnny Unitas
139 Jim Ridlon
140 Zeke Bratkowski
141 Ray Krouse
142 John Martinkovic
143 Jim Cason
144 Ken MacAfee
145 Sid Youngelman
146 Paul Larson
147 Len Ford
148 Bob Toneff
149 Ronnie Knox
150 Jim David
151 Paul Hornung
152 Tank Younger
153 Bill Svoboda
154 Fred Morrison