The backs didn't change much from the previous season. They are again red and black but now contain vitals, a blurb, simple stat line and a cartoon.
The team card has a write-up and a listing of team record holders.
Lenny Moore's card is his rookie and it's the most expensive of the team set but it's not unreasonable in decent shape. Mine is way off-center and has a crease but it's mighty fine nonetheless. I love the classic pose he's striking on his card. The back is dominated by text as he obviously has no previous NFL stats.
In 1957 Topps made a great leap away from the Bowman 'template' with a set of horizontal cards featuring two shots of each player, a portrait and a posed action photo. Each team had their own combination of colors. The Colts cards were all orange and green with the players names in a box done in either black or white on green. Player positions and the team nickname were black on white. No team logos were used. This was the first year that Topps issued cards in what we have come to know as the 'standard' size.
There are 13 Colts in the set and I have completed it. The cards are not terribly pricey except for the John Unitas and Ray Berry rookie cards. I've bought, sold and re-bought the Unitas rookie. I picked up a Berry card at the last card show I attended. It has a crease the length of the white strip between the two photos and wouldn't get much of a grade but in a binder page the crease isn't all that noticible and I knew I'd never find another copy for $20 in usable condition.
Billy Vessels whose picture is reused from the '56 set, was no longer active in 1957. He had been a Heisman winning college star at Oklahoma who played in Canada and served in the Army before his one NFL season.
Topps included checklist cards in the set but team cards took a year off. Following the breathrough 1957 set Topps issued football sets the next two years that foreshadowed the following spring's baseball issue.
The rest of the gaudy red card backs were pretty mainstream with vitals, bios and numbers.
The back of the team card had to be music to the ears of young Colts fans back then. It foretells the soon-to-be championship the club would bring home that fall.
The leaping colt logo returns, minus the crossbar. Interestingly the little colt has a helmet which is 'white' on some of the cards and colored either light or dark blue on others. There is no rhyme nor reason for the variation as far as card background color or card numbering. I suspect that it is all due to printing variations /flaws. I see some variations of shading on different copies of the same card which also would make it seem like part of the printing process.
The logo colts' white and dark blue helmets can be seen on the Mutscheller and Unitas cards below.
The player card backs and the pennant card back follow a fairly similar layouts, The pennant card has a blurb about the Colts championship and then a 'magic' football question for which the answer is revealed by rubbing the space with a coin. That's just like it was done in 1958.
The player cards have vitals and stats for the 'skill position' players with a short paragraph replacing those stats in all other players (linemen, etc).
Topps was done, at least for awhile, as a football card monopoly after 1959. Fleer entered the picture with an AFL set in 1960 and went head to head with Topps with NFL cards in 1961. Those sets and more will kick off the next post in this Baltimore Colts card history series.
The remarkable blog, The Topps Archive, has posted a truly great and rare find. It's a football counterpart to the 1959 Bazooka baseball set. The cards came on the back of 20 piece gum boxes. Lo and behold the example posted on the blog is of Colts' fullback Alan Ameche.
There is more about this rare and beautiful set in this entry at SCD online. the checklist is below. In addition to Ameche John Unitas appears in the set. There is a third Colts card but that one is a Colts card with a huge asterisk... Giants qb Chuck Conerly is labeled as a Colt but a corrected version fixes his team affiliation. Both versions are very rare as is this set in general. Looks like I have a coupls of new white whales!
- Alan Ameche Baltimore Colts
- Jon Arnett Los Angeles Rams
- Jim Brown Cleveland Browns
- Rick Casares Chicago Bears
- Chuck Conerly ERR Baltimore Colts
- Chuck Conerly COR New York Giants
- Howie Ferguson Green Bay Packers
- Frank Gifford New York Giants
- Lou Groza Cleveland Browns
- Bobby Layne Pittsburgh Steelers
- Eddie LeBaron Washington Redskins
- Woodley Lewis ERR Chicago Cardinals
- Ollie Matson Los Angeles Rams
- Joe Perry San Francisco 49ers
- Pete Retzlaff Philadelphia Eagles
- Tobin Rote Detroit Lions
- Y.A. Tittle San Francisco 49ers
- Tom Tracy Pittsburgh Steelers
- Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts
Here's the Johnny U as seen on the Trading Card Database....
And the Conerly error from the same site: