Sunday, September 9, 2012

The missing 1955 Topps baseball cards

1955 was the final year of the Topps and Bowman baseball card wars. The war began in 1951 when Topps issued the Blue and Red Backs sets, but it really got heated when Topps released the landmark 1952 set. There was competition  between the 2 companies to sign the players to exclusive contracts and each year saw a decline in the number of players appearing in both sets. The competition ended in 1956 when Topps bought out Bowman.
(check back in the future for a blog featuring cards in what would have been the 1956 Bowman design).

I have loaded the checklists into a database, and according to my queries here are the number of players appearing in both Topps and Bowman sets by year:

1952: 223
1953: 116
1954: 84
1955: 45

So, while most collectors are aware of the 4 card numbers not issued in the 1955 Topps set (#'s 175, 186, 203 and 209), there was in reality more than 200 players who appeared in the 1955 Bowman set but not in the Topps issue.

This is bad news for fans of baseball cards of the 50's, but for those of us who enjoy making custom baseball cards - it gives us lots of opportunities to have some fun. I may never get around to doing a George Zuverink 1955 Topps card, but even if I only focused on cards missing from the 1952 to 1955 Topps and Bowman sets, I would have enough projects to keep me busy for years to come.

I have created 16 of these missing 1955 Topps cards so far, here they are in alphabetical order:

                                                            1955 Topps Richie Ashburn

                                                           1955 Topps Roy Campanella
                                                            1955 Topps Bob Feller
                                                              1955 Topps Whitey Ford
                                                            1955 Topps Nellie Fox
                                                            1955 Topps Elston Howard
                                                                1955 Topps Don Larsen
                                                                1955 Topps Gil McDougald
                                                               1955 Topps Mickey Mantle
                                                           1955 Topps Stan Musial
                                                             1955 Topps Vic Raschi
                                                           1955 Topps Pee Wee Reese
                                                            1955 Topps Allie Reynolds

                                                              1955 Topps Red Schoendienst
                                                             1955 Topps Herb Score
                                                            1955 Topps Casey Stengel

Careful observers may notice that Topps usually used the same portrait in both the 1955 and 1956 issues, so I also followed that methodology whenever possible.

I will update with more missing cards from the 1955 Topps set as I create them, so be sure to stop by again!

In my next post to this blog, I will discuss some of the more famous baseball card errors along with my corrected versions.


  1. Hello! My grandpa recently passed away and he was a pro ball player in the 40s and 50s but I have not been able to find his baseball card. do you make cards?

    1. Hi, I do not print and sell any of the cards on my blog - but i do print some for my own collection. A card of your grandpa could be a fun project - always looking for new challenges. Email me at with his name and/or any pictures you have and we can talk!