Iconic Phillies card: Roberts in '49

April 7th, 2021

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 Phillies card: Robin Roberts, 1949 Bowman

Gone are the days when you'd see a pitcher throw 300-plus innings in a season. But Roberts did it six times in his 19-year Hall of Fame career, and missed the milestone by only 2 2/3 frames in 1956. The right-hander led MLB in innings pitched five consecutive seasons from 1951-55. He also led the Majors in wins four times (1952-55) and complete games five times (1952-56). A workhorse on the mound, he was a hero to many, particularly in the northeastern part of the country. That includes Frank S. in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who submitted this beauty of a card.

"Born and raised in New York, I’ve been a lifelong Philadelphia Phillies fan starting with the 1950 Whiz Kids," Frank wrote in his survey response. "My boyhood hero was Robin Roberts. I was given this card as a gift. It’s his rookie card, a 1949 Bowman Gum card."

The 1949 Bowman set is simple, like most cards of that era, but its artistic flair can't be missed with the vivid portrait of the player on the front. And on the back of each card, there's a chance to redeem a prize. In the case of Roberts' card, it's a silver baseball ring that Bowman describes as "made of durable metal," "adjustable -- fits any size finger," and made with "beautiful silverplate oxidized finish [that] brings out detail of official Baseball Emblem."

Sounds pretty fantastic. Think they'd still redeem that today? Back then, you needed to send in 15 cents and three "baseball wrappers." In case you're wondering 15 cents in 1949 is $1.66 today. Pretty good deal!

The card is glorious, as was the career of the man who appears on it. Roberts finished his career with a record of 286-245 with a 3.41 ERA, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976.