One of the most Iconic Baseball Card Sets in History

1952 Topps Jim Russell Card

Baseball card collecting is an iconic American pastime with a rich history dating back to the late 1800s. Among the many vintage cards produced by various companies, the 1952 Topps Baseball Card set stands out as one of the most sought after by collectors. The set, consisting of 407 cards, features some of the greatest players in the history of the sport, including a card for outfielder Jim Russell. This article delves into the life and career of Jim Russell, highlighting his Major League Baseball (MLB) accomplishments and examining the value of his 1952 Topps card.

Jim Russell: The Man Behind Card Number 51

James William "Jim" Russell was born on October 1, 1918, in Fayette City, Pennsylvania. He began his professional baseball career in the minor leagues in 1936 at the age of 17. After several years of honing his skills, Russell made his MLB debut on April 16, 1942, as an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Russell had a 10-season MLB career, playing for three teams: the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Braves, and Brooklyn Dodgers.

MLB Career Stats:

Russell's skill as a switch-hitter made him a versatile asset to his teams. His best season came in 1947 when he hit .312, with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs for the Pirates. In 1948, he was traded to the Boston Braves, where he played a key role in the team's pennant-winning season, earning a spot in the World Series. Russell's final MLB appearance was on May 4, 1951, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Jim Russell's' Personal Life

Jim Russell was married to his wife, Evelyn, and together they had three children. After his retirement from baseball, Russell became involved in the construction business and remained active in his community. He passed away on November 24, 1987, at the age of 69.

The 1952 Topps Jim Russell Card: A Collector's Treasure

The 1952 Topps Baseball Card set is considered a landmark in the world of card collecting. It was the first set to include team logos, player autographs, and action photographs, setting a new standard for future baseball card releases. Additionally, the set featured a larger card size, measuring 2-5/8" x 3-3/4", compared to the smaller tobacco card size of earlier years. This larger format allowed for more detailed player images and information, contributing to the set's enduring popularity.

Card number 51 in the set features Jim Russell, then playing for the Boston Braves. The card's design is a testament to the innovations of the 1952 Topps set, with Russell's vibrant portrait set against a bright red background. The card includes Russell's facsimile signature, a Boston Braves logo, and his position as an outfielder. The reverse side of the card provides biographical information, a brief summary of his career, and a cartoon highlighting one of Russell's baseball accomplishments.

Estimated Value of the 1952 Topps Jim Russell Card

The value of a 1952 Topps Jim Russell card can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the card's condition, rarity, and demand among collectors. As with any collectible, cards in mint or near-mint condition will command higher prices than those with visible wear or damage.

To determine the estimated value of a specific 1952 Topps Jim Russell card, collectors often rely on grading services such as Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) or Sportscard Guaranty (SGC). These companies assess the condition of the card and assign a numerical grade on a scale from 1 (poor) to 10 (gem mint).

In recent years, a PSA 8 (near-mint/mint) graded 1952 Topps Jim Russell card has sold for between $200 and $300, while a PSA 9 (mint) example has fetched upwards of $1,000. Cards graded below PSA 8 will typically sell for lower prices, with the value decreasing as the grade decreases. It's important to note that the market for vintage baseball cards can fluctuate, and values may change over time.

In comparison to other cards in the 1952 Topps set, the Jim Russell card is not among the most valuable or sought-after cards. However, it still holds a place in the hearts of collectors who appreciate the history of the game and the significance of the set. For fans of Russell or the teams he played for, the card serves as a tangible connection to a bygone era of baseball and a reminder of his contributions to the sport.

The 1952 Topps Jim Russell card is a fascinating piece of baseball history that tells the story of a talented and versatile player. While not one of the most valuable cards in the iconic set, it remains a desirable collectible for those interested in the history of the game and the groundbreaking design of the 1952 Topps Baseball Card set. As with any collectible, the card's value is determined by its condition and rarity, and collectors should consult professional grading services to accurately assess their card's worth. Regardless of its monetary value, the 1952 Topps Jim Russell card serves as a lasting tribute to a dedicated athlete and a treasured era of America's pastime.

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