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Vintage Baseball Card Spotlight: A Tribute To The 1956 Topps Yogi Berra Baseball Card

Here at Cardlines, we love vintage cards. Sure, the shiny, new card of the next big thing is great, but there’s something comforting about the iconic vintage cards that make the hobby so enjoyable.

From time to time we’ll bring you a short article about one of these cards. Today we’ll look at the 1956 Topps Yogi Berra Baseball Card. If you enjoy this type of content, let us know at card_lines on Twitter so we know to make more!

Yogi Berra was one of the most iconic baseball players of his era or any other era for that matter. But his play on the field, while incredible pales in comparison to his place in the public consciousness.

Shop for Yogi Berra 1956 Topps cards on eBay

At 5’7” and 185 pounds, Berra didn’t look like a world-class athlete in the way that teammate Mickey Mantle did. Yet Berra’s wit and sense of humor made him world-famous almost to the point where it overshadowed his greatness on the field.

But who is Yogi Berra? Why is he so fondly remembered today? What’s this you saw about him on Netflix? And let’s talk about the 1956 Topps Yogi Berra baseball card, an iconic but affordable gem from one of the best-looking Topps sets in history.

Who is Yogi Berra?

Lawrence Peter Berra was born in St. Louis on May 12, 1925. He served in World War II before beginning his big league career, making his debut with the New York Yankees in late September of 1946. He was an icon in New York for almost 20 years from that moment.

Yogi Berra was an amazing baseball player. Sometimes, that gets lost a bit in all things Yogi. But he was an All-Star 18 times. He won 3 American League MVP awards, and he led his Yankees teams to 10 World Championships.

His 59.5 career WAR ranks 6th all-time among catchers. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972. Shockingly, it took him two turns on the ballot to get elected.

He was involved in so much history on the field, from the famous World Series steal of home by Jackie Robinson (Berra swore he was out) to Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game.

Yet, Yogi Berra may be better known as a personality. His “Yogi-isms” and self-deprecating sense of humor endeared him to fans during his playing career, coaching and managerial career, and right up until his death in 2015 at the age of 90.

Whether he was saying “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” or “when you come to a fork in the road, take it”, he always got a laugh and endeared himself to the public.

A Netflix documentary called “It Ain’t Over” recently debuted to much acclaim. The documentary is bringing Berra’s greatness as a player, and an icon, to the forefront. If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s well worth a viewing.

YouTube video

Yogi Berra’s rookie card was card #6 in the inaugural 1948 Bowman set. The card has been graded 2,127 times by PSA, with one PSA 10 and only 10 PSA 9’s. In a PSA 4, they sell for between $550 and $700.

Berra was honored in the 2021 by the United States Postal Service (USPS) on his own postage stamp.

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1956 Topps overview

1956 marked the first year of the Topps Monopoly after they purchased rival Bowman. It is also the final base set that Topps produced at a larger size, 2-5/8″ by 3-3/4”, than the now standard card size.

The set includes 342 cards and features a horizontal layout with both a close-up of the player and a small action shot. I think it’s one of the most beautiful Topps designs ever. Just a classic vintage Topps set, with each card feeling almost like a painting.

1956 Topps doesn’t pack quite the same rookie card punch as some of the other 1950’s sets, with only one Hall of Fame rookie card in the set, that of Luis Aparicio (#292).

The set does feature all the big stars of the day, however, with cards of players like Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, and Willie Mays among the most valuable in the set.

PSA has graded 356,795 copies of 1956 Topps cards, with only 291 PSA 10s (.008%) and 5,294 PSA 9s (1.5%). The most graded card, not surprisingly is the Mantle with a hair over 10,000 copies graded.

One of the most interesting aspects of 1956 Topps is that the cards were printed with two different color stock, referred to as white back and gray backs.

Only the first 180 cards in the set have this variation. For cards #1-100, the gray backs are the rarer variation, while for cards 101-180, the white backs are the rarer version.

1956 Topps Yogi Berra baseball card #110

Yogi Berra appears on card #110 in the 1956 Topps card. The card features a portrait of Berra along with an image of Berra standing near home plate while a runner slides safely into the base. The back features the stats from his 1955 MVP campaign plus his already impressive career stats.

It’s almost hard to fathom how big a star Berra was by 1956. He was coming off back-to-back American League MVP awards, and would finish 2nd in the 1956 voting. In fact, 1956 would mark the end of a 7-year streak of top 4 MVP voting finishes for Berra. Including those three MVP wins.

Yet the card trails well behind some of the other big cards in the set in value. For example, the 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle (#135) in a PSA 5 slab sells for between $2,200 and $2,800.

Meanwhile, I recently purchased a gray back copy of the Berra card in PSA 5 for only $235. For the card of an iconic player from an iconic vintage set, that feels like a great value.

PSA has graded 3,553 copies of the gray back variation, and 215 copies of the rarer white back version. There is only one PSA 10, and 35 PSA 9s, all of the gray back. A PSA 8 gray back sold on eBay recently for $1,300.

Shop for Yogi Berra 1956 Topps cards on eBay

Final thoughts on 1956 Topps Yogi Berra

Despite his amazing stats, the 1956 Topps Yogi Berra card features both an everyman and someone who was somehow larger than life, or at least had a public persona that overshadowed his amazing play on the field.

And yet, while both his career numbers and his iconic status compare to those of longtime teammate Mickey Mantle, you can own a 1956 Topps Yogi Berra for a fraction of the Mantle in the same set would cost. The 1956 Topps Yogi Berra is a classic Topps vintage card, one that would fit great into any vintage collection.

What’s your favorite Yogi-ism? What’s the Yogi Berra card you consider your favorite?  Let us know at card_lines on Twitter.

Shop for Yogi Berra 1956 Topps cards on eBay

More Cardlines Coverage of Vintage Baseball Cards

Vintage Baseball Card Spotlight: A Tribute To The 1959 Topps Destruction Crew Card

Vintage Spotlight: The Best Cards From 1970 Topps And 1971 Topps — Rookies And Stars That Have Stood The Test Of Time

Vintage Spotlight: The Very Best Rookie And Star 1972 Topps Baseball Cards

Vintage Spotlight: The Best Rookie And Star Cards From 1973 Topps

Vintage Spotlight: The Best Rookie And Star Cards From 1974 Topps

Vintage Spotlight: The Best Rookie And Star 1975 Topps Baseball Cards

Vintage Spotlight: The Best Rookie And Star 1976 Topps Baseball Cards

Mike D.

Mike D

Mike D. has collected cards for over 35 years, since he bought his first pack of Topps at the corner store in 1987. His fandom,  collecting interests, and contributions to Cardlines center around baseball in general and the Baseball Hall of Fame specifically.

Mike's collecting focus is centered on graded cards, mostly rookie cards, of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers. Lately, he's been enjoying dabbling in graded minor league cards. A collector/investor with a "buy and hold" approach, Mike takes the long-term view with his collection.

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