Through the long history of Topps baseball cards, you can count the number of players who were graced with career-capper cards on, like, a few hands.
Maybe a hundred hands, tops (Topps?).
And the number of Hall of Famers? Less than that, for sure.
I mean, yeah, Mickey Mantle got a career-capper in 1969, but that’s because 1) he was The Mick and 2) he sort of pulled a fast one by not announcing his retirement until March of 1969.
So Topps already had his 1969 card all ready to go, and it included all his career stats because he never took the field again.
But if you roll back the calendar a few years, you’ll see a perfect example of the standard superstar treatment — Stan Musial retired after the 1963 season, but Topps did NOT include the St. Louis Cardinals legend in their 1964 set.
Stan the Man did get a sort of nifty hobby sendoff, though.
Sure, the 1963 set itself was pretty nifty, what with the inset player image in a little circle that sort of portended the classic 1983 set.
Find 1963 Topps Peel-Offs on eBay (affiliate link)
Find 1963 Topps Peel-Offs on Amazon (affiliate link)
But the old gum company went one better by inserting baseball “Peel-Offs” in their wax packs that summer.
Peel-offs were exactly what they sound like — sticky baseball pictures that you could peel off of their paper backing and then stick to anything else you wanted to have, say, Chuck Hinton’s head on.
Or … Stan Musial’s head.
Not surprising that Musial was one of the 46 players in the set, most of them available with either a blank back or instructions on how to peel and stick on the back.
Just a bummer that he didn’t get that career-capper … although, you could sort of make your own if you really wanted to.
Sans the correct stats.
All you’d need would be a 1964 Topps Jeoff Long card, a 1963 Topps Peel-Offs Stan Musial, and a steady hand.
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You might remember that 1963 also offered up something else unusual to the hobby — a Fleer set of current players. Like the one in this eBay lot …
It’s a complete set of 66 cards, with a PSA 6 graded checklist. Fun stuff that would look good under any aluminum Christmas tree in the land.
Check out the full listing on eBay (affiliate link).