There were two Hall of Famers on the 1968 New York Yankees. One was Mickey Mantle. The other?
Fans couldn’t have guessed at the time. This new guy? The third baseman? Ha! That’ll be the day. He once threw across the diamond to Mantle to complete a triple play but he’ll be lucky to last two years.
Yet 45 years later, here was Bobby Cox, sitting in a chair at baseball’s winter meetings discussing his election by the Expansion Era Committee. He’s not going in as a player, obviously. It’s what Cox did in parts of three decades as a manager that earned him baseball’s ultimate honor. His 1969 Topps rookie card has been respected for a while, but induction means it likely just increased a bit. Like many ‘69’s, it often suffers from centering issues. Only three near mint copies were on eBay late Monday night.
Rookie cards of Hall of Fame managers do carry a bit of a premium. Whitey Herzog wasn’t a great player but he was a winner as a big league skipper. The same goes for Sparky Anderson.
On Monday, the Veterans Committee made the rather unusual announcement: Three former managers would be enshrined in the summer of 2014. Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre will help that induction weekend isn’t a washout like this year.
Bobby Cox Rookie Cards
Cox first appeared on the ultra- rare 1967 Topps Venezuelan issue but in ’69 he showed up on Topps and also on the Milton Bradley game cards. His 1969 Topps card can normally be found online for $15-30 in near mint condition. However, action picked up after the Hall of Fame announcement Monday when eight Cox rookie cards sold including two PSA 8’s for an average of about $60 each and a PSA 9 that brought a whopping $250.
Tony LaRussa Rookie Cards
LaRussa’s rookie card is in the 1964 Topps set. Ten of them sold on eBay Monday, including a PSA 8 example that went for $115.
LaRussa also shows up on the ’64 Topps Venezuelan issue, then disappears until 1968 when he was with Oakland. In ’72, he’s back as a member of the Braves for a one year appearance in the Topps set before returning again in the early 1980’s as a manager. Click here to see cards from LaRussa’s playing days.
Joe Torre Rookie Cards
Torre was a big time prospect who actually had an excellent big league career but wasn’t considered Hall of Fame material until his tenure as Yankees manager. The 1962 Topps Joe Torre rookie card is notoriously hard to find in the highest grades, thanks to those pesky wood grain borders. A PSA 9 sold for more than $3,000 last month. More than a dozen Torre rookie cards were sold Monday. Most were mid-to-lower grades with a PSA 6 reaching $67.50. About 20 are now available on eBay.
Torre is also in the Topps Stamps issue that year and on the 1962 Post and Post Canadian issues, too. He appears on several dozen issues from his playing days and many others from his stints as a manager.
Torre and LaRussa have done private autograph signings with Steiner Sports, which is offering some Hall of Fame specials through a special section on its website.