One of the most Iconic Baseball Card Sets in History
1952 Topps Larry Jansen Card
For baseball card collectors and enthusiasts, the 1952 Topps set remains an iconic and valuable part of the hobby's history. This set marked the beginning of the modern era of baseball cards and featured vivid colors, stunning artwork, and a design that was groundbreaking for its time. Card #5 in this historic set is the Larry Jansen card, a sought-after piece that showcases the career of an accomplished pitcher. In this article, we'll dive into the history of the 1952 Topps Larry Jansen card, discuss its value, and highlight the career of the man behind the card.
Who was Larry Jansen?
Lawrence Joseph "Larry" Jansen (July 16, 1920 – October 10, 2009) was an American right-handed pitcher who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 10 seasons. Born in Verboort, Oregon, Jansen began his professional baseball journey in the late 1930s with the independent Salt Lake City Bees. He eventually signed with the New York Giants in 1940, working his way up through the minor leagues before making his MLB debut on April 17, 1947, at the age of 26.
Throughout his career, Jansen played for the New York Giants (1947–1954) and the Cincinnati Redlegs (1954–1956). He was a two-time All-Star (1948 and 1951) and played a pivotal role in the Giants' 1951 National League pennant win, which culminated in the legendary "Shot Heard 'Round the World" home run by Bobby Thomson. Jansen also contributed to the Giants' 1954 World Series victory, though he did not play in the Series itself.
Larry Jansen's impressive career stats reflect his talent as a skilled and consistent pitcher. In 10 seasons and 268 games, he accumulated the following:
Win-Loss Record: 122-89
Earned Run Average (ERA): 3.58
Innings Pitched: 1,765.1
Complete Games: 107
All-Star Appearances: 2
In his rookie season, Jansen won 21 games with a 3.16 ERA, an impressive feat that set the stage for his successful career. His best season was arguably in 1951 when he finished with a 23-11 win-loss record, a 3.04 ERA, and a league-leading five shutouts. Jansen's pitching prowess was a driving force behind the Giants' historic late-season comeback to win the pennant that year.
The 1952 Topps Larry Jansen Card
The 1952 Topps baseball card set is a beloved and valuable collection, featuring many notable players such as Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Jackie Robinson. Card #5 in this set is dedicated to Larry Jansen and serves as a testament to his accomplishments as a pitcher. The card showcases a close-up portrait of Jansen wearing his New York Giants cap, with his name and position prominently displayed. On the back of the card, a short biography is accompanied by his career stats up to that point.
Value and Rarity
As a piece of the iconic 1952 Topps set, the Larry Jansen card is highly sought after by collectors. While it may not command the astronomical prices of the Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays cards from the same set, it still holds considerable value, especially in high-grade condition.
The value of the 1952 Topps Larry Jansen card varies depending on its condition, which is graded on a scale of 1 to 10 by professional grading services such as Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) or Sportscard Guaranty (SGC). A card in poor condition (graded 1) might fetch around $20, while a card in near-mint or better condition (graded 7 or higher) could command several hundred dollars. Cards in gem mint condition (graded 10) are exceedingly rare and can fetch thousands of dollars, although very few examples of the 1952 Topps Larry Jansen card have been graded this highly.
Factors such as centering, sharpness of corners, and the vibrancy of colors are critical in determining the card's overall grade and value. Additionally, cards with autographs or other unique features may command a premium.
Larry Jansen's Legacy
Larry Jansen's legacy goes beyond his accomplishments on the field. After retiring as a player in 1956, he transitioned to coaching, working as a minor league manager and pitching coach for several teams, including the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago Cubs. He was instrumental in developing the careers of many successful pitchers, including Hall of Famer Juan Marichal.
Jansen passed away on October 10, 2009, at the age of 89, but his impact on the game of baseball continues to be remembered and celebrated. The 1952 Topps Larry Jansen card remains an important piece of baseball history and a valuable addition to any serious collector's inventory.
The 1952 Topps Larry Jansen card is a fascinating piece of baseball memorabilia that captures the essence of a talented pitcher and his storied career. As a part of the iconic 1952 Topps set, it remains in high demand among collectors and serves as a tangible connection to the golden age of baseball. With a career marked by impressive stats, memorable moments, and a lasting impact on the game, Larry Jansen's legacy lives on through this cherished card.