Vintage Baseball Cards: World Series

1959 ws hodges frontBaseball cards in some form have been around for over a century.

They’ve been in my house for over 40 years. I remember sitting in the front yard under a tree sorting them by teams.

My grandfather and I built a big wooden box to store them under my bed. It seemed to be a project for my mother as much as it was for me.

With the World Series ready to begin, it’s time to celebrate one of the better parts of collecting vintage cards.

It was always fun to open a pack and find a card featuring the Fall Classic. Action shots were always great to see and perhaps more importantly, the back included a box score and sometimes even a description of the game.

Here are a few selections that were once stored in a shoe box:

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the 1959 World Series with the help of Gil Hodges.

Hodges blasted a game-winning solo homer in the eighth inning of game four as the Dodgers won 5-4. Earlier in the contest, Hodges had a run-scoring single.

Los Angeles won the series in six games as Hodges batted .391. The homer was the only one he hit in the series.

In 1959, Hodges led the Dodgers with 25 homers as he has 80 RBI and a .276 batting average.

Hodges was a part two World Series winners as a player in 1955 and 1959. He later managed the New York Mets to the title in 1969. He hit 370 career homers and was an eight-time all-star and won three Gold Gloves.

1964 ws gibsonThe 1964 World Series

The card representing the seventh game of the 1964 World Series has St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson on the mound. For Gibson, the clinching 7-5 win over the New York Yankees was his second victory of seven straight wins in World Series action.

He would go on to win three times in 1967 against the Boston Red Sox and then twice in the 1968 Fall Classic against the Detroit Tigers.

Gibson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981. He was 251-174 in his 17 seasons and won two Cy Young Awards (1968, 1970), while earning the National League Most Valuable Player honor in 1968.

The 1968 World Series

68 wsThe cards from the 1968 series featured a newspaper style with The Sporting News at the top with the final card showing Dick McAuliffe, Denny McLain and Willie Horton celebrating Detroit’s victory over the defending champion Cardinals in the seventh game.

Pitcher Mickey Lolich, who was 17-9 during the regular season, was the hero of the series as he won three contests including the decisive victory over Gibson.

That season, McLain won the American League’s Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards after a 31-6 season. He is the last to win at least 30 games in a season.

Horton led the Tigers with 25 homers, while Jim Northrup knocked in the most runs with 90.

The 1973 World Series

1973 ws mays frontWorld Series cards are also a way to show legendary figures in action.

The 1973 affair that had the Mets falling to the Oakland A’s in seven contests, marked the final playing days for Willie Mays.

With him on card for the second game, it was the last time he was featured as an active player. He had announced his retirement near the end of the season.

Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, Mays played for the Giants in New York and in San Francisco from 1951 to 1971.

He was traded to the Mets in 1972 and ended his career a year later.

Mays was a two-time NL MVP in 1954 and 1965. He was NL Rookie of the Year in 1951 and played in 24 all-star games, while winning 11 Gold Gloves.

Famous for his catch in the 1954 World Series for the champion Giants, Mays blasted 660 career homers.

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