Joe DiMaggio’s career was over. Ted Williams was once again off to war, flying a fighter jet in Korea. Whitey Ford was also in the service. All three greats are missing from the 1952 Topps set. But Williams, Whitey and Joe D aren’t the only notable players you won’t find among the 407 card checklist. Several Hall of Famers and significant everyday players don’t have cards in Topps’ first major set.
Players had to be signed to contracts to appear on baseball cards. As the new card company on the block, Topps had to hustle to gather signatures for all of the major league players. The biggest missing star from 1952 Topps is The Man. Stan Musial would not land on a Topps card until the 1958 All Star issue and the regular series in 1959. Musial was a longtime “holdout” for signing from Topps, refusing to sign even after Bowman ceased production after the 1955 season.
Hall of Famers Nellie Fox, George Kell, and Ralph Kiner are missing from the series but did sign contracts to appear in the 1952 Bowman set. Others who were signed by Bowman but not Topps in 1952 include Carl Furillo, Sal Maglie, Whitey Lockman, Marty Marion, Jimmy Piersall and Vic Raschi.
Another Hall of Famer you won’t find in the 1952 Topps set is Rogers Hornsby, who managed both the Browns and Reds that year. Other absent managers in the 1952 Topps set include Casey Stengel and Lou Boudreau.
Players “missing” from both Topps and Bowman series in 1952 include Harry Byrd, Clint Courtney, Jack Dittmar, Jim Dyck, Al Federoff, Marv Grissom, Stan Lopata, Johnny Logan, Bob Nieman, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Rivera and Hector Rodriguez.