Sunday, April 25, 2021

Art on the Back: 1953 Topps

 Here's the first in a regular series looking at cartoon art on the back of vintage baseball cards. I'll do other sports too, and maybe some modern cards as well. Some sets ('73 Topps baseball for example) are a wealth of entertaining cartoons with a wide variety of subjects and will be the subject of many posts. Others have pretty standard "just the facts" cartoons. Going in order, I'm starting here with the '53 Topps set. I have a few cards from that set, and the cartoons are pretty standard fare with "Dugout Quiz" baseball facts. I picked out a few favorites.

Most of these are pictorial descriptions of baseball lingo. The "horsecollar" you still hear about from time to time today. I'd heard of "banjo hitter" but not "ukelele hitter". Thankfully "Tissue Paper Tom" seems to have died out pretty quickly after this card was printed; the only reference to that phrase I found in a Google search was from a 1937 newspaper article. Glad they didn't call him "Nancy Boy". My favorite though is the drawing of "Leo the Lip" Durocher, the fiery New York Giants manager who was one of the biggest celebrities in baseball at the time.


  1. I think all baseball cards should have cartoons on the backs.

  2. I knew the bottom two, but had never heard either of the top two expressions before.