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:
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 Elston Howard
1955 Topps Red Schoendienst
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.