As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we've asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we've broken them down by team. We'll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.
To begin the series, we'll be looking at one iconic card from each team.
Iconic Cardinals card: Bob Gibson, 1968 Topps
If you could have a Gibson card from any year (other than a rookie card), what better year than 1968, Gibson's finest and one of the most dominant single seasons by a starting pitcher in baseball history? That's what two of our survey respondents submitted for their favorite card -- a 1968 Topps Bob Gibson.
Mike B. of Fresno, Calif., and Steven P. of Rudy, Ark., each submitted the same card, and each has great memories of watching Gibson in the 1968 World Series against the Tigers, when he set a World Series record with 17 strikeouts in Game 1.
"In 1968, I was just starting to play organized baseball in Little League," Mike wrote. "The Cardinals had been in the World Series in both '67 and '68. I was learning to pitch and Bob Gibson was the best. I also had asthma as a child and Bob was a spokesperson for Primatene Mist, which I used regularly. I always pretended to be Bob Gibson. To this day, I am still a die-hard Cardinal fan."
Steven, meanwhile, wasn't as big of a Cardinals fan then as he is now, but Gibson's performance left him awestruck, nonetheless.
"The Cardinals played Game 1 of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers. Future Hall of Fame pitcher, the late, great Bob Gibson, threw a complete-game shutout and struck out a new World Series-record 17 batters," Steven wrote. "It was an extraordinary feat. Although I was not then as big a Cardinals fan as I am now, I was certainly aware of the game and amazed and impressed with Gibson."
Gibson was one of the most intimidating pitchers of all time, throwing hard inside when the opposing hitter had too much of his plate. He was a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner (1968 and '70) and was so dominant in '68, when he posted a 1.12 ERA, that he also won the NL MVP Award. Gibson also won nine NL Gold Glove Awards and was named MVP in both the 1964 and '67 World Series. Talk about a legendary career.
The 1968 Topps card with Gibson's face on the front is a classic, with a bold yellow circle at the bottom right with his position and "Cards" affixed to it. There's something to be said about "Cards" cards. And the way Gibson is positioned in the photo, the cardinal perched atop the bat on the front of his uniform looks as though it's actually perched on the yellow circle, giving it nice symmetry.