A NEW PERSPECTIVE
Still seeking improvement from the brilliant colorized cards of the 1953 set, Sy Berger sought a new design for his cards. Like the 1952 set, colorized photographs would still be used, but a black and white action shot would also be incorporated. Originally, executives at Topps and Woody Gelman opposed the idea; despite this, Berger pushed forward with the concept and got his way. As a result, the most attractive card known to date was created.
Each of these cards depicts a colorized picture of the player with a full body action picture behind the close-up. These cards also display the team logo at the top and a reproduced autograph at the bottom. Next to the logo, the player’s name and position, along with team name is presented. Because the background of the card is bright and colored, it gives the impression of the player’s photo jumping off of the card. On the back of each card, biographical information, statistics, history, and a colored cartoon is printed. This set consists of 250 special cards, measuring in at 3 x 3 ¾ inches. It includes a combination of stars from the prewar era all the way to rookies destined to be Hall of Famers. The first series, cards 1-50, was printed with a gray back, while the second series (cards 51-75) were printed with a colored back. The first series also contains the first mulit-player card to be produced, which included twin brothers John and Ed O’Brien (card 139). The second series, however, is deemed to be more expensive for collecting, regardless of the low number of star players included in the series. Another feature that sets the 1954 Topps set apart from the 1952 and 1953 sets is that there are no short-printed cards, therefore making the cards simpler to collect.
Series One: cards 1-50
Series Two: cards 51-75
Series Three: cards 76-250
The 1954 Topps card set displayed the “new talent” of the era. In this year, Topps gained the right to print rookie cards of three players who were on the road to becoming perennial All-Stars, and, later, Baseball Hall of Famers. These included Ernie Banks (card 94), Hank Aaron (card 128), and Al Kaline (card 201). Additionally, this set contains Jackie Robinson and Warren Spahn’s exclusive cards.
At the time, Topps and Bowman were the main competition in the market. In 1954, Bowman was leading with the number of players signed to exclusive contracts. As a Red Sox fan, Berger sought after Ted Williams to sign with him; Williams, however, was exclusive with Bowman. In 1954, Berger was able to win-over Williams who signed to a five-year contract. Topps had offered more money than a normal contract in order for Williams to be featured on a Topps card. As a result, the company included Williams on both the first and last card of the set (cards 1 and 250).