One of the most Iconic Baseball Card Sets in History
1952 Topps Johnny Mize
Johnny Mize, also known as "The Big Cat," was a legendary first baseman in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played for the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants, and New York Yankees from 1936 to 1953. Mize was a powerful hitter, a slick fielder, and a ten-time All-Star. His 1952 Topps baseball card is a highly valued collectible that celebrates his iconic career. In this article, we will explore the life and career of Johnny Mize, his impressive career statistics, and the value and significance of his 1952 Topps card.
The Early Life and Career of Johnny Mize
John Robert Mize was born on January 7, 1913, in Demorest, Georgia. A gifted athlete from a young age, Mize excelled in baseball and received a scholarship to attend Piedmont College. However, after a year at the college, he decided to pursue a career in professional baseball.
Mize began his professional career in 1930 when he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. After playing in the minor leagues for several years, he made his MLB debut on April 16, 1936, at the age of 23. Mize quickly gained a reputation as one of the best hitters in the league. In his rookie season, he batted .329 with 19 home runs and 93 RBIs.
St. Louis Cardinals (1936-1941)
During his tenure with the Cardinals, Mize proved to be a dominant force at the plate. In 1937, he led the National League (NL) in home runs with 25 and followed that up by leading the league in RBIs (137) and doubles (45) in 1938. In 1939, Mize had a career-high batting average of .349 and led the NL in home runs (28) and RBIs (108) once again.
In his six seasons with the Cardinals, Mize amassed a batting average of .336, hit 158 home runs, and recorded 653 RBIs. Despite his individual success, Mize never won a World Series title with the Cardinals.
New York Giants (1942, 1946-1949)
In December 1941, Mize was traded to the New York Giants. Before he could settle into his new team, he was drafted into the United States Navy during World War II. Mize served his country from 1943 to 1945, missing three seasons of baseball in the process.
Mize returned to the Giants in 1946 and immediately picked up where he left off. In 1947, he had one of his most memorable seasons, hitting .302 with 51 home runs and 138 RBIs. Mize led the league in home runs and became the first player in MLB history to hit 50 home runs in a season without striking out more than 50 times.
During his time with the Giants, Mize continued to excel at the plate, posting a .299 batting average, 157 home runs, and 505 RBIs. Despite his contributions, the Giants never made it to the World Series during his tenure with the team.
New York Yankees (1949-1953)
Mize's career took an unexpected turn in August 1949 when he was sold to the New York Yankees. Joining the Yankees provided Mize with the opportunity to play in the World Series, and he didn't disappoint. Mize appeared in five consecutive World Series from 1949 to 1953, winning all of them.
During his time with the Yankees, Mize served as a valuable pinch-hitter and backup first baseman. He played alongside legendary players like Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Mickey Mantle. In the 1952 World Series, Mize hit a game-winning home run in Game 3 against the Brooklyn Dodgers, helping the Yankees win their fourth championship in a row.
Mize retired after the 1953 season, ending his career with a .312 batting average, 359 home runs, and 1,337 RBIs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.
The Significance of Johnny Mize's 1952 Topps Baseball Card
The 1952 Topps baseball card set is widely regarded as one of the most important sets in the history of baseball cards. It was the first set to feature players in color photographs and was also the largest set at the time, with 407 cards in total. Johnny Mize's card, number 129, is highly sought after by collectors due to its scarcity and the popularity of Mize as a player.
The value of Mize's 1952 Topps card can vary depending on its condition, but a graded card in excellent condition can fetch thousands of dollars at auction. In 2021, a PSA 9 graded Mize card sold for $15,000 at a Heritage Auctions event.
Johnny Mize's career in baseball was remarkable, and his legacy is still celebrated today. His impressive statistics, multiple All-Star appearances, and five World Series championships make him a true legend of the game. Mize's 1952 Topps baseball card is a priceless piece of baseball history, representing both the significance of the 1952 Topps set and the enduring popularity of Mize as a player.