It’s been 50 years since the “Impossible Dream” season of the Boston Red Sox.
And what a pennant race the Red Sox won that year. Rising from a ninth-place finish in 1966, the Red Sox waged a tight battle for the American League pennant in 1967 with the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox, finally nailing down the flag on the final day of the season.
A pair of test sticker issues was released in ’67, for markets in Pittsburgh and Boston. For Fenway fans, the 1967 Topps Red Sox Stickers set was a perfect topper to a magical season.
The 33-sticker set came in regular wax wrappers, and they were the same size as Topps’ baseball cards, at 2½ inches by 3½ inches. Packs of three stickers sold for a nickel, the same price as Topps baseball cards.
The set consists of 24 players, manager Dick Williams, pitching coach Sal Maglie (who would have turned 100 next month) and seven special cards — a Red Sox pennant, Red Sox logo, Happiness is A Boston Win, Let’s Go Red Sox, I Love the Red Sox, Carl Yastrzemski for Mayor and Tony Conigliaro is My Hero.
The players are displayed in a large head shot, with a circle or square — and in some cases, just white — as a background. The player’s name has a cartoonish look to it, with different colors for the first and last names. The player’s last name is larger than his first name.
Not surprisingly, Yastrzemski and Conigliaro are the most coveted stickers, along with their “special stickers.” Ken Harrelson and Elston Howard, late-season acquisitions, are not included in the set. Neither is Billy Rohr, a rookie who came within one out — actually, one pitch — of a no-hitter in his first major-league start on April 14, 1967, which was Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. The man who got the hit? Elston Howard, on a 3-2 count.
A total of 1,818 stickers have been submitted to PSA for grading. Of that number, 83 have been graded gem mint, with eight of them of Williams. There are three of Conigliaro and two of Yaz, and one each of the Carl Yastrzemski for Mayor and Tony Conigliaro is My Hero. There are seven PSA 10s of Dalton Jones, and six each of infielders Mike Andrews, Dalton Jones and George Scott; and pitcher Dave Morehead.
There are plenty of these stickers available online and most of them are inexpensive. The graded stickers and popular players will cost a little more, but putting together a complete set in a relatively high grade is certainly not an impossible dream.