Topps made it pretty easy the first few years. When team cards showed up for the first time in 1956, everyone in the photo was identified right on the front of the card.
In 1957, you had to...
...turn the card over, but the names were all still there.
In 1958 Topps made things easy again - names on the front.
Names disappeared for good starting with the 1959 card. So how do I go about trying to figure out who all the player were?
A simple Google image search for "1958 Cubs Team Photo" brings up this.
The is the black and white team photo sold at Wrigley Field, complete with everyone's name.
Would it always be this easy?
The 1960 card used the 1959 picture, again, complete with names.
And here are a few more easy ones...
The cards from 1963, 1964, and 1965 all used the 1959 Cubs team picture. By the time the 1965 card came out, only Ernie Banks and George Altman were still playing with the Cubs. How crazy is that...How Topps is that!
Other years were just as easy while some are complete stumpers. I have more in future posts.