Saturday, September 30, 2023

My 1956 Topps Set - Series 4

Baseball season is coming to a close this weekend, and September ends tonight (wake up, Billie Joe) Feels like a fitting time to wrap up my 1956 Topps Set with a look at the Series 4 cards in my collection to date.

I've read that the final series of the 1956 Topps set is the toughest, which was often the case with early Topps baseball sets. The early-season excitement over the sport and its trading cards dies down by mid-summer, and at this point in the year is largely dismissed for any fan of a non-contending team.

That hasn't necessarily been my experience with this set. Sure, there are some fourth series cards that are scarce and condition sensitive, but the third series seems to have more of those. And S3 has a lot more Hall of Famers, too. While the legendary stars are highly concentrated in the first and second series, S3 has eight cards of Cooperstown honorees.

This final series has two. One of them is here. The other is the only rookie card of a HOFer in the 1956 set. Here's the fourth series roll call...

Series 4

261. Bobby Shantz - Kansas City Athletics

262. Howie Pollet - Chicago White Sox

263. Bob Miller - Detroit Tigers

There are two Bob Millers in this series. I have the other one.

264. Ray Monzant - New York Giants RC

265. Sandy Consuegra - Chicago White Sox

266. Don Ferrarese - Baltimore Orioles

267. Bob Nieman - Chicago White Sox

268. Dale Mitchell - Cleveland Indians

Mitchell is very tough to find in mid-high grade; a PSA 5 copy recently sold for $50. Luckily I already had this one.

269. Jack Meyer - Philadelphia Phillies RC

270. Billy Loes - Brooklyn Dodgers

271. Foster Castleman - New York Giants RC

272. Danny O'Connell - Milwaukee Braves

COMC has had some graded copies of this card, but they were well over $30. I did the sensible thing (for once) and bought this unslabbed for a tenth of the price.

273. Walker Cooper - St. Louis Cardinals

This one definitely needs an upgrayedd

274. Frank Baumholtz - Philadelphia Phillies

275. Jim Greengrass - Philadelphia Phillies

276. George Zuverink - Baltimore Orioles

277. Daryl Spencer - New York Giants

278. Chet Nichols - Milwaukee Braves

279. Johnny Groth - Kansas City Athletics

280. Jim Gilliam - Brooklyn Dodgers

My father in law grew up in the town where Gilliam lived. He once pointed out the neighborhood to me but said he never met the Dodger great.

281. Art Houtteman - Cleveland Indians

282. Warren Hacker - Chicago Cubs

283. Hal Smith - St. Louis Cardinals

Here's the other bird team catcher named Hal Smith.

284. Ike Delock - Boston Red Sox

285. Eddie Miksis - Chicago Cubs

286. Bill Wight - Baltimore Orioles

287. Bobby Adams - Baltimore Orioles

288. Bob Cerv - New York Yankees

Another tough late series Yankee card. I'm interested to see which one will be cheaper: Cerv or Irv.

289. Hal Jeffcoat - Cincinnati Redlegs

290. Curt Simmons - Philadelphia Phillies

291. Frank Kellert  - Chicago Cubs RC

292. Luis Aparicio - Chicago White Sox RC

293. Stu Miller - St. Louis Cardinals

294. Ernie Johnson - Milwaukee Braves

This made me wonder if his NBA-brodcasting son has a card. He does indeed -- and it's technically a baseball card. {Bonus fun fact: Ernie Jr. was born in the summer of... 1956!}

295. Clem Labine - Brooklyn Dodgers

296. Andy Seminick - Philadelphia Phillies

297. Bob Skinner - Pittsburgh Pirates

298. Johnny Schmitz - Boston Red Sox

This one might be a candidate for upgrading due to the indent along the nameplate.

299. Charley Neal - Brooklyn Dodgers

300. Vic Wertz - Cleveland Indians

I've come across a good amount of Wertz singles, including a 1953 Bowman Color purchased from COMC and a high grade 1952 Topps that I passed on for $40 because it didn't fit my collection/I was poor at the time. Haven't yet found a '56 single at a good price, but I won't whiff on it when it comes.

301. Marv Grissom - New York Giants

302. Eddie Robinson - New York Yankees

Robinson was one of the oldest-living subjects of the 1952 Topps set when he passed away two years ago at age 100.

303. Jim Dyck - Baltimore Orioles

304. Frank Malzone - Boston Red Sox

How do I not have this one yet?

305. Brooks Lawrence - Cincinnati Redlegs

306. Curt Roberts - Pittsburgh Pirates

307. Hoyt Wilhelm - New York Giants

308. Chuck Harmon - Cincinnati Redlegs

309. Don Blasingame - St. Louis Cardinals RC

310. Steve Gromek - Detroit Tigers

311. Hal Naragon - Cleveland Indians

Another tough one that I rarely see on COMC or eBay.

312. Andy Pafko - Milwaukee Braves

313. Gene Stephens - Boston Red Sox

314. Hobie Landrith - Chicago Cubs

315. Milt Bolling - Boston Red Sox

316. Jerry Coleman - New York Yankees

This was the first card I bought myself for this set build. Actually, 'bought' is slightly misleading - I acquired it with eBay bucks (remember those?)

317. Al Aber - Detroit Tigers

318. Fred Hatfield - Detroit Tigers

319. Jack Crimian - Kansas City Athletics RC

320. Joe Adcock - Milwaukee Braves

321. Jim Konstanty - New York Yankees

322. Karl Olson - Washington Senators

323. Willard Schmidt - St. Louis Cardinals

324. Rocky Bridges - Cincinnati Redlegs

Rocky's given name was Everett.

325. Don Liddle - New York Giants

326. Connie Johnson - Chicago White Sox RC

327. Bob Wiesler - Washington Senators RC

328. Preston Ward - Pittsburgh Pirates

329. Lou Berberet - Washington Senators RC

330. Jim Busby - Cleveland Indians

331. Dick Hall - Pittsburgh Pirates

332. Don Larsen - New York Yankees

Yankee tax + high series + memorable feat in '56 = out of my price range.

333. Rube Walker - Brooklyn Dodgers

334. Bob Miller - Philadelphia Phillies

The other Bob Miller in series 4.

335. Don Hoak - Chicago Cubs

336. Ellis Kinder - St. Louis Cardinals

337. Bobby Morgan - Philadelphia Phillies

338. Jim Delsing - Detroit Tigers

339. Rance Pless - Kansas City Athletics RC

This card was the first one I'd heard about in regard to short-printed/scarce/condition sensitive singles. I've seen more than my share of print defects on this card, and happily accepted a lesser grade copy with a cleaner surface. (Also, Pless' career stat line kind of fascinated me. I'll have to look into more of these unfamilar players someday.)

340. Mickey McDermott - New York Yankees

Lucked out on landing this - along with the Pirates team, Yankees team, and Harmon Killebrew - from an eBay seller who offered them in addition to another purchase.

Finally we have these two, which are technically considered part of the set.

1st/3rd Series Checklist
2nd/4th Series Checklist

This is very much a 'cross that bridge when I come to it' problem, but... I don't see how I can acquire unmarked checklists at an affordable price that's in line with my condition guidelines. Here's proof:

I did not buy this card, but I saved the scans of both sides in my 1956 folder, with a note...

...sold for $204. I am not spending that much on a checklist.

I'm working on some ideas for October posts to coincide with the start of basketball and hockey season. My favorite(?) NBA team just acquired my favorite active player(!), while my favorite NHL team has a legitimate chance at the Stanley Cup.

Perhaps I could also lament the fact that the Hurricanes and Jets have officially existed longer than the Whalers and Thrashers, respectively :/

Or I could accept Jon's assignment and explore the best players (from 1988-2000) who never appeared in a Starting Lineup set. Any or all of these posts would be a lot shorter than this series. 

Thank you for reading yet another novel-length blog post series, and have a great weekend!



  1. Disco Stu's origin is an all-time great Simpsons moment (from an outstanding episode) and I love that he turned into a recurring character. Also, that's a lot of amazing classic cards!

  2. Thanks for showing all of these cards for your set build. Some amazing cards in there.

  3. Yeah, my experience with the final series of '56 is that it wasn't all that difficult in comparison to other sets with HN series. But I don't deal in graded nor cared too much about condition so that probably helped.

  4. Nice set. The vending machine/ bubblegum machine at the top of the post is the kind that my LCS had two of for many years.

  5. Another great group of cards. You made me remember and miss eBay bucks.

  6. That vending machine is so cool.

  7. I love that vending machine! I've seen some in the past that spit out a card or two, but this one seems to pre-date those.

  8. I'm thinking the vending machine is the winner here. I'd love to land one of those.

  9. Lol... I spend hours scanning my cards and it's the pic I grabbed from Cardboard Connection that gets all the attention :D

  10. This will be a great set when completed. I'm working on this set too, but not as worried about condition.

  11. I know that you liked the graded copies better, but is it possible to find a slightly off-grade ungraded and unmarked checklist at a reasonable price?