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Topps 1956 Gives Look at Extra Stars

April 3, 2012

by William Szczepanek

1956 Topps Rubin Gomez #009The 1956 Topps set is one of my favorites, but at times it is one of the most confusing sets of all time. Players are often shown in action sequences, many of which came from actual game photos. But, sometimes players are superimposed on backgrounds and you can never be sure if the card is a mocked up picture or a real one.

We've spent some time and tried to determine which cards are created from real game photos and when so, who are the other players in the photos. Often some real stars have made appearances on common player cards, but who knows for sure? Most we think are pretty accurate and some are our best guesses. It makes for some interesting analysis... if you're a little nerdy. Okay... a lot nerdy.

#009 Ruben Gomez --- Gomez is shown in a close play running to first base. The first baseman is George Crowe of the Braves, the only African American first baseman for the Braves at the time.

1956 Topps Ernie Banks #015#15 Ernie Banks --- In the picture are #37 Gene Baker and #4 Ted Tappe. The only two home runs that Banks hit where Gene Baker and Ted Tappe scored were grand slams. The first was 5/11/1955 off of Russ Meyer of the Dodgers where Randy Jackson also scored. The second was 5/29/55 off of Lew Burdette where Bob Speake was the other player to score in addition to Baker and Tappe. I haven't been able to figure out which this is, but they were close in time and occurred in 1955 when Banks hit a then record 5 grand slams in the season. Both were in Wrigley Field so the home uniforms fit the situation.

Jim Greengrass Model Wilson A2151#25 Ted Kluszewski --- On this card Ted Kluszewski is greeted by teammate Jim Greengrass, number 23, after a home run. The card is special for me since my first baseball glove was a Jim Greengrass autograph model. Most people, including the kids at the time asked, "Who is Jim Greengrass?" Now that's a really good baseball player name.

#30 Jackie Robinson --- Robinson slides home while number 45 Johnny Podres waits with a bat in his hand and possibly number 15, Bill Sarni of Cardinals taking the throw.

#34 Tom Brewer --- Brewer is warming up with number 2, Milt Bolling behind him. I wouldn't be surprised if the pitcher of Brewer was superimposed on another photo of the ballpark.

#38 Bob Kennedy --- Bob Kennedy of the White Sox slides home with number 8, Yogi Berra, of the Yankees making the play. Kennedy was on Baltimore when the photo was taken and the White Sox hat is superimposed.

1956 Topps Tom Brewer #0341956 Topps Jackie Robinson #0301956 Topps Bob Kennedy #038

#42 Sandy Amoros --- Amoros slides home with number 8 Ray Katt of the Giants waiting for the throw.

#67 Vic Power --- Power slides home with number 22, Jim Pagliaroni, of the Red Sox making the tag. Power is hardly visible on his own card.

#89 Norm Zauchin ---Zauchin crosses the plate being congratulated by number 4, Jackie Jenson, of the Red Sox.

1956 Topps Norm Zauchin #0891956 Topps Vic Power #0671956 Topps Sandy Amoros #042

#101 Roy Campanella --- The photo shows Campanella sliding into home plate with a catcher in a Giants uniform taking the throw. Is the catcher #8 Ray Katt of Giants who played in 124 games in 1955 or #9 Wes Westrum  who played in only 69 games in 1955 because of injuries, but did play more game in previous years. We will go with Wes Westrum because he was noted for his bald pate and at 32 was much older than Katt.

#105 Al Smith --- Smith slide into second with the throw being taken by someone who looks like Phil Rizzuto of the Yankees.

#113 Phil Rizzuto --- Rizzuto takes throw at second as number 31 Gene Woodling begins to slide, but the runner could also have been Wally Westlake who also had number 31 for Cleveland in 1955.

1956 Topps Phil Rizzuto #1131956 Topps Al Smith #1051956 Topps Roy Campanella #101

#123 Roy McMillan --- McMillan slides in to second with number 19, Jim Gilliam on the bag.


#125 Minnie Minoso--- Minoso slides in to second with someone who looks like Gil McDougald of the Yankees taking the throw.

#132 Bobby Avila (who didn't hit home runs) hit one off of Johnny Kucks of the Yankees on 8/27/1955 and is greeted by  #32 Al Smith, #6 Joe Altobelli on Deck, #14 Larry Doby.

1956 Topps Bobby Avila #1321956 Topps Minnie Minoso #1251956 Topps Roy McMillan #123

#142 Gene Baker --- Baker makes pivot on double play with number 19 Al Dark of the Giants sliding, though it is also possible that the runner is pitcher, Bob Friend, of the Pirates.

#143 Jim Piersall --- Piersall and number 8, Yogi Berra, meet at the plate.

#151 Spook Jacobs --- Jacobs slides home with number 2, Frank House, of Detroit trying to make the play.

1956 Topps Spook Jacobs #1511956 Topps Jim Piersall #1431956 Topps Gene Baker #142

#192 Smokey Burgess --- slides into number 12, Joey Amalfitano, of the Giants.

#212 Johnny Temple --- Temple is #16 and Roy McMillan is #11 in the keystone corner.

#257 Bobby Thomson --- Thompson hits while catcher is number 9, Wes Westrum, of Giants.

1956 Topps Bobby Thomson #2571956 Topps Johnny Temple #2121956 Topps Smokey Burgess #192

#277 Daryl Spencer --- Spencer is about to be tagged out by number 39 Roy Campanella of the Dodgers.

#297 Bob Skinner --- Skinner slides home as number 10, Jack Shepard, watches.

1956 Topps Bob Skinner #2971956 Topps Daryl Spencer #277There are so many cards in this set that can be commented on for good, bad or ridiculous reasons. In some ways it is one of the worst sets that Topps produced and in many ways it is one of the best sets ever produced. One thing for sure it is one of the most interesting and puzzling sets ever.

Hope I didn't bore you too much and if anyone has any other educated guesses about the action shots on these cards, let me know.

Complete story on the 1956 Topps Set.

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