Friday, September 24, 2010

Fifties Friday: 1953 Bowman

Phil Cavarretta

Night Owl likes to give a set an identifying name. I don't think he's come up with one for Bowman 1953, so allow me to offer mine: The Heintz Set.

Why such a name, you ask? Because Topps' 1952 set totally blew Bowman out of the water and in 1953 Bowman was playing ketchup....catch-up. Get it?? But seriously folks, I'll be here all week and don't forget to tip your waitress.

Whatever you want to call the set, Bowman's 1953 set was a radical departure from earlier their sets. The cards were much larger, now measuring 2 1/2" by 3 3/4", which, coincidentally, was nearly the same size as Topps' cards. Bowman was also using a heavier card stock, again, coincidentally, was just like Topps.

And the backs of the cards now featured the players' past season and career statistics, just like Topps! That's '52 Topps on top, the '53 Bowman underneath.

Anyone noticing a lot of coincidences here??

The big difference was the front. Bowman went to a full color photo on the front, with no other writing at all. This was quite different than Topps' design. But the minimalist front has proven to be one of the most popular of all of Bowman's designs.

The size of the Bowman set again shrunk, down to 160 cards. In 1951 there were 324, and in 1952 the set featured 252 cards. As George Costanza will tell you, shrinkage is not a good thing.

There were only 11 Cubs in the set. As with the '52's, I've only got the reprints, which were not the same size as the originals. Because there are only eleven Cubs, I've decided to get the real things. I'm half way there and when I've got all of them, I have another post.

The only gripe I have with the photography is that all the pictures seem to have been taken in the Polo Grounds in New York, meaning the Cubs are in their road uniforms. Otherwise, they are pretty nice looking cards.

Bob Addis

Toby Atwell

Tommy Brown

Harry Chiti

Warren Hacker

Turk Lown

Paul Minner

Bob Rush

Hank Sauer

Bill Serena


  1. Man those are some ugly uniforms. Never seen those before; what's with the red stripe under Chicago? You're right, I would have loved to have seen a home uni here.

  2. I beg to differ. These are the classy road flannels from my childhood. I loved the simplicity of the bright white home uniforms. Then in 1957 the Cubs went to home pinstripes, diminished the size of the "ubs" inside the "C" on the shirt, and dropped the wishbone "C' on the hat in favor of a rounded "C." They even had white stripes on the seams of the hat that year. I miss the great early '50s style. Mr. Cub wore these unies.