Searching for baseball card-related products beyond the annual Topps set was often a tough task prior to the mid-1970s. The 1972 Topps Posters set wasn’t traditional but it did serve the purpose of getting youngsters to fork over more dimes and quenched what seemed to be a never-ending desire of American youth to put posters in their room.
Topps was all about the poster craze. From 1967-1973, they did some kind of pin-up type set in one of the four sports for which they produced trading cards. Some were inserts in wax packs while others like the ’72 baseball posters, were packaged to stand on their own.
1972 Topps Posters: The Basics
While not as big as the mammoth 1968 posters, the 1972 set was sizeable in its own right. There were 24 posters in all. Each one was 9-7/16″ x 18″ and featured a full-color borderless photo with the player’s name, team and position on the front. It has plenty of redeeming qualities. The photos were colorful, the images clear and nearly half of the players would eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame.
While not an extraordinarily difficult set to chase, you probably won’t find them at your nearest little show. We don’t know exactly where Topps sold them, but it’s obvious they weren’t available everywhere, a summation reflected in the current pricing of individual posters and complete sets.
Like all Topps poster sets, the 1972s are printed on thin paper stock and finding those that don’t have at least a small tear or two is hard. Topps opted to keep packs small, which means each one has no less than 16 folds.
Colorful Glimpse of Baseball in ’72
The photos used are posed shots with some turning out better than others. Classic batting poses of Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron are intermixed with head or head and shoulders shots that might make you wish Topps’ photo editors had taken a little more care in the selection process. Andy Messersmith was oddly shot at a low angle from somewhere below his jersey letters and Joe Torre of the Cardinals looks stoned.
Pricing depends greatly on condition. Clemente is the most valuable with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Pete Rose not far behind. High-grade, rip-free superstars typically cost $50-$100 with commons available for much less. If you can put up with a couple of tiny rips that are typical and a nick or two on the edges, you can sometimes own Hall of Famers from a moderately difficult vintage Topps insert set for $25-$35 each, which is hard to beat.