It doesn’t get the attention—or the price—of Mickey Mantle’s iconic card from the same set but who wouldn’t want to own the first Topps card of Willie Mays? Like Mantle, Mays was at the dawn of a Hall of Fame career and his appearance in the most popular of all post-War sets is just another element to its stature.
Now, RMY Auctions is giving collectors something that’s far rarer than either one of those cards. The Photo of the Day is a dated copy of the same image that was used to create Mays’ debut card in 1952 Topps set.
The International News photo bears a December 1, 1951 date on the reverse and is labeled “Mays, Willie” and “Rookie of the Year” at the top. He had earned the honor just over six weeks earlier after helping the New York Giants overcome a 13 ½ game deficit to force a tie for the National League pennant, which they won on Bobby Thomson’s famous home run. Mays hit 20 homers, knocked in 68 runs and hit .274 in just 121 games that season but it was his defense and throwing arm which impressed most.
Bidding continues through Saturday at RMYAuctions.com.