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.
Athletics: Joe DiMaggio, 1970 Topps
DiMaggio? In the green and gold? Don’t forget that the Yankee Clipper grew up in the Bay Area -- in fact, his family owned a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
DiMaggio played pro ball with the Pacific Coast League’s San Francisco Seals (before the Giants moved west from New York in 1958) before being signed by the Yankees. He actually had a longer hitting streak in the PCL than his record-56-game hitting streak in the Majors -- from May 27-July 25, 1933, he hit safely in 61 consecutive games. The rest is history.
And in the later part of that history, DiMaggio returned to his Bay Area roots to be a coach with the A’s. That’s why we see him in this great card in a classic Oakland uniform -- chatting with, unsurprisingly, Yankees manager Ralph Houk around the batting cage.
And check out those colors on the uniform!
Jason from Reno, Nev., submitted this gem, and along with it, a statement sure to rankle Yankees fans.
“There’s nothing better than seeing him in green and gold,” he wrote. -- Manny Randhawa
Iconic Athletics card: Rickey Henderson, 1980 Topps
For much of the 1980s, there were the three major baseball card companies: Topps, Fleer and Donruss. As a result, many of the top stars of that decade, such as Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr., have several rookie cards each. But at the start of the decade, Topps still had a stranglehold on the marketplace, which means collectors have one option when it comes to Henderson rookie cards.
A 1980 Topps Henderson card in top condition can be quite valuable. A Henderson rookie card with a PSA grade of 10 (the best grade) recently sold for $168,000 in a Dallas auction. But Cameron Tran of Westwood, Mass., has no interest in parting with his cherished Henderson rookie card, which depicts the outfielder at the plate in a yellow A’s jersey, his trademark crouched batting stance instantly recognizable.
“My rookie PSA 8.5 Rickey Henderson Topps card that I got from my Mom [is my favorite card],” Tran wrote. “I don't want to sell it as it looks great on my shelf.”
Scott Efting of San Jose, Calif., acquired his Henderson rookie card in a fortuitous swap.
“When I was about 10 years old, I traded an Amos Otis card for this Rickey Henderson card,” Efting wrote. “Might go down as the best trade ever!”
The 1980 campaign was when Henderson arrived as a true superstar, hitting .303 with a .420 on-base percentage, scoring 111 runs and leading the Majors with 100 steals. Henderson ended up spending 14 seasons with the A's over four separate stints. MLB's all-time leader in runs and steals and a member of the 3,000-hits club, Henderson was inducted into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 2009. -- Thomas Harrigan