Jackie Robinson Baseball Cards

48L-ROBINSONJackie Robinson had a enormous impact on baseball in the 20th century. In 1947, with the encouragement of Branch Rickey and the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson shattered baseball’s color line.

Robinson led the charge of black players into the Major Leagues (most notably the National League which was far more receptive to integration).

In the 1950s, the influx of talent from players like Willie Mays, Roy Campanella, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Ernie Banks was a major factor in the National League’s All Star Game dominance for over three decades.

These young players brought a level of skill and enthusiasm that made the National League’s brand of baseball,  a joy to watch. These legends owe a debt to Robinson, who was literally a lightning rod on the national stage.

49B-ROBINSONAfter starring at UCLA in baseball, football (All-American), basketball (two-time Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division scoring leader) and track (NCAA broad jump winner), Jackie became an officer in the U.S. army during World War II.

After the war, Robinson played in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs before catching the eye of Brooklyn’s General Manager Branch Rickey. Rickey signed Robinson and assigned him to the Dodgers minor league team in Montreal.

Jackie’s big chance came in 1947 when he made the Dodgers roster. What he went through was nothing short of a study in courage. He endured torrents of racism and abuse and yet he still managed to maintain his composure when a lesser man would have crumbled under the pressure. Robinson won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, the first year the award was presented.

47BB-ROBINSONBecause of his class, skill and determination, Robinson has been and always be, one of the most collectible baseball players of the 20th century. Technically, Robinson made his baseball card debut in the 1947 Bond Bread Set. The thirteen card set was dedicated entirely to the Dodgers #42 and pictures him in a myriad baseball poses.

In 1948, Leaf produced Robinson’s most significant rookie card, card #79. The card features a close-up of Jackie in his royal blue Dodgers cap grinning in front of a solid yellow background. It’s the most expensive non-short print in the set, surpassing the cards of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.

Slightly behind the curve, Bowman produced their inaugural Jackie Robinson rookie, card #50, in their 1949 release.

Similar to his ’48 Leaf card, Jackie is smiling in his Dodgers regalia against a solid red background. Both cards are striking and always at the top of Robinson collector’s want lists.

The 1949 would be one of only two Bowman cards produced of Robinson. After the 1950 Bowman, Jackie is a glaring omission from all 1951 baseball cards. Fortunately, the landmark 1952 Topps set was right around the corner.

52-TOPPS-JACKIETopps printed its 1952 baseball cards in series throughout the baseball season. Robinson is card #312 in the storied high numbered 6th series (cards #311-407) which released near the end of the season. With collectors attention having shifted to other pursuits, the 6th series cards were greeted with general ambivalence and sales suffered.

Years later, Topps hired a barge to carry the unsold 52 high numbers and dump the remaining cards in the Atlantic Ocean. With all of the extra supply now gone, the 1952 high became scarce and Jackie’s first Topps card became one of the prizes of the entire set.

The 1952 Topps design is the best the company has ever conceived and the Jackie Robinson is a cardboard masterpiece. It’s no wonder than a Near Mint example sells for over $3,000.

55T-JACKIEFor a star of his magnitude, Jackie appears on relatively few baseball cards during his career. This factor certainly stokes the interest for his cards. Since Robinson joined the Dodgers at the age of 28, his major league career was relatively short.

In addition, in the first four years of his career (1947-1950), Bowman and Leaf were the only major manufacturers to produce products. In essence, Robinson’s major releases are limited to just 8 cards; 1948 Leaf, 1949 and 1950 Bowman and his five Topps cards (1952, 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1956).

Sixty six years after his Major League debut, Robinson’s story was revived for the big screen in the movie 42. With the film’s release, Robinson became a must-have vintage card a new generation of baseball fans.

If you have any Jackie Robinson baseball cards (produced between 1947 and 1967) to sell or any items on our baseball buy list, PLEASE CONTACT Mark Rubin at 914-725-2225 or via email at mark@amerlegends.com. A quick phone call is all it takes to get started.