1965 Topps Baseball Card # 596 Don Landrum – Chicago Cubs SP


1965 Topps Baseball Card # 596 Don Landrum – Chicago Cubs SP

After a relative down year for rookie cards in ’64 Topps, 1965 Topps Baseball makes up for the void with a multitude of key first-year cards, including four Hall of Fame inductees.

Measuring the standard 2-1/2″ x 3-1/2″, the 1965 Topps Baseball card fronts feature a mix of color portraits and posed action photos. The left corner of the card bottoms display the team name and logo on a pennant. The entire lower portion of the card contains a filled banner with lines extending around the card, forming a border. This botom portion also contains the player’s name and position. With a bright array of options, the front design can be found in either blue, light blue, green, light green, orange, red, purple, gray or black.

The back of the cards contain the customary statistical and biographical information of the player. There is also  a cartoon and blurb and top and the entire back features a thick bluish-green border. Lastly, the card number is located inside a baseball graphic in the corner. Because the backs feature every year of stats for each player, some cards have plenty of extra room while the more seasoned players have none. It is also the site of several errors, including “Pittsburfh” for 1960 on the Roberto Clemente card above.

1965 Topps Baseball features a checklist of 598 cards and is packed with an impressive assortment of key rookie cards. While they are popular and valuable, the majority of the top RC names are part of multi-player cards. This includes Hall of Fame members Joe Morgan, Steve Carlton, Jim Hunter and Tony Perez. Other notable first-year options include Denny McLain (#236), Luis Tiant (#145), Bert Campaneris (#266), Tug McGraw (#533) and Mel Stottlemyre (#550). Collectors can also find the rookie card for Masanori Murakami (#282), the first Japanese MLB player.

As in previous years, League Leaders subset cards (#1-12) are the opening act for 1965 Topps Baseball. World Series Highlights (#132-139) document the thrilling seven-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees. There are also more options in the form of checklists and team cards. Combo Rookie Stars cards, found throughout the checklist, are largely paired by team and feature two to four players on each card.

While there multiple errors like any product, the 1965 Topps Baseball set is considered easier to assemble than other sets from the era due to a lack of variation cards. Corrected versions were issued for two checklist cards (#79, 508). Still, it is no walk in the park, and over half of the seventh series (#523-598) is short printed. While the high-number short prints can be problematic, the middle series of cards can also cause trouble for collectors. Issued in multiple series, the cards were distributed in both five-cent and one-cent wax packs.

In addition to a checklist of nearly 600 cards, 1965 Topps Baseball also has two insert sets. The Topps Iron-On Transfers measure 2″ x 3″ with a checklist of 72 players. The Topps Embossed Inserts feature a total of 72 cards and each measure 2-1/8″ x 3-1/2″. Both insert sets create a challenge for master set builders as it took several decades for them to be fully appreciated. As a result, finding them in high-grade condition can be rather difficult.

1965 Topps Baseball is a great entry-level set for collectors looking to test the waters of vintage collecting. The set displays very well in graded conditions as low as 4, making even the rookie cards and key veterans relatively affordable. Loaded with big names, this set very much represents the start of a change in the sport, mixing a group of budding stars with outgoing superstar players.

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