Sunday, January 31, 2016

1953 Topps #1 Jackie Robinson and the First Topps Cartoon

To mark the anniversary of Jackie Robinson birth on January 31, 1919 We are going to take a look at the opening card of the 1953 Set.

1953 Topps #1 Jackie Robinson

We previously covered this card in 2013 and it now serves as the anchor posting for our Jackie Robinson HOF Index. That posting is largely a price guide for the card.

Today I want to take a look at the back of the card.

Cartoons first appear on the backs of cards in 1953. As the resident of the #1 slot in the set Jackie Robinson also has the honor of being the face of Topps first -toon. Ok this isn't in the same stratosphere of the Hall of Famers other accomplishments, but it is of interest to the card collector in me.

The first -toon is an interesting one, I doubt I would have even noticed it on a less noteworthy players card, but Jackie Robinson will make sure I look.

When I read the card I questioned the veracity of the information in the text. It specified that the original Home Plate was made of iron.

Fortunately in the 21st century via the magic of Twitter we can go right to baseball historians who have done much research around such topics.  Here is the question I posed to the MLB official Historian John Thorn.

1953 Topps #1 Jackie Robinson #1 (b-side)

Soon afterward John Thorn replied!

And he filled in some details. Yes the Plate was originally Iron, and he added some bonus info.

That is a lot of critical historical info in under 140 characters. 

It doesn't end there. One of Thorn's followers fleshed out some details on Home Plate. Those details  were then further elaborated on by John Thorn.

 So there we have the reasons for why we call the base Home Plate and the chronology of from the 1845 disc shape to the present shape.

Topps #1
We have recently been obsessed with #1 Cards. This posting will be a second entry for 1953T #1, which to me is the greatest of all the Topps #1 cards.

Sources and Links
Jackie Robinson HoF Index
Topps #1 Club
Our Game John Thorn
Twitter John Thorn
Twitter Peter Alexis


Tony Burbs said...

Well - that's a bit of interesting history. Who knew so much learning could be fit in 140 characters?

Fuji said...

Beautiful card. Thanks for the great history!

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions