If you’re ever in the mood for a quick pictorial history of this great hobby’s golden age, you might want to walk through a list of Willie Mays baseball cards sometime.

In fact, right now is a pretty darn good time to do just that.

Because, you see, Mays’ amazing career spanned from the very beginning of the Bowman-Topps rivalry and played out right through the mid-1970s when Topps abandoned issuing cards in series in favor of dropping *all* of their 1974 checklist in one fell swoop.

In between, Mays built a legend in the game that may never be matched, putting together a diamond resume that left him as probably the greatest centerfielder to ever take the field.

And, over the course of his 23-year-run in the major leagues, Mays appeared on well over 300 different cards!

If we dragged every one of those out of our e-shoeboxes for this list, we’d be here until the New York Giants win another World Series, so we’re going to bring a bit more focus to our rundown of Mays pasteboards.

Below, then, are all of the Willie Mays baseball cards issued through wax packs in majors sets during his career — 56 in all!

So, take a deep breath, grab some bubble gum, and get ready for all the glorious base cards, all the All-Star cards, all the league leader cards, all the “special” cards — every Willie Mays baseball card that ever made a little kid love a wax pack more than that neato rock he picked up from the creek bank.

(Note: Card values listed below gleaned from the PSA Auction Prices Realized tool, using the most commonly graded condition for the set in question. Also, the following sections contain affiliate links to eBay and Amazon listings for the cards being discussed.)

1951 Bowman Willie Mays (#305)

1951 Bowman Willie Mays

The 1951 Bowman set lays claim to this beauty, the one and only true Willie Mays rookie card — just as it does with the Mickey Mantle rookie card.

And, even though this one shows Mays standing in front of a tarp that’s come loose on one end to reveal the barn hiding beyond, it’s a stone-cold classic.

It really is gorgeous, too, and the unusual background just adds to the mystique and nostalgia, evoking mental images of simpler times, when even baseball gods made do with what they had — no batting gloves, Sabermetrics, body armor, or cameras required.

PSA 7 value: $25,000-30,000

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1952 Bowman Willie Mays (#218)

1952 Bowman Willie Mays

Not quite as dramatic as his horizontal RC, this second-year Mays is still amazing, and the background of nothing but blue sky adds a real “Field of Dreams” vibe to the card.

This one will never touch its ’52 Topps counterpart or the ’51 Bowman rookie when it comes to value, but that just means it’s a *bit* more accessible for collectors who can’t afford five-figure cardboard.

PSA 7 value: $6500-7000

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1952 Topps Willie Mays (#261)

1952 topps willie mays

Of course, this is the Mays card that gets most of the attention, and it’s the one a great many collectors and casual hobby observers think of when they hear “Willie Mays rookie card.”

It’s all about the mystique of the first full Topps set, spurred on by the legend of the 1952 Topps Mantle fifty cards later in the run — it’s a hobby tide that’s lifted all the cardboard boats over the last several decades, and Mays is no exception.

In fact, this first Topps Mays card helped build the hype around the ’52 set, so it’s no surprise at all that this is still the most valuable Say Hey card, pound for pound (or PSA grade for PSA grade).

Is it the most aesthetically pleasing?

That’s for you, the beholder, to decide. For me, it’s pretty far down the “beauty” list but right near the top of the “historical significance” roll call.

PSA 6 value: $20,000-25,000

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1953 Topps Willie Mays (#244)

1953 topps willie mays

Now, if you’re into see beautiful baseball cards, then the 1953 Topps Mays is probably right up your alley.

Featuring a gorgeous full-body, full-color painting of the young phenom, the ’53 Mays also gives us our first view of the future Hall of Famer on the diamond — probably. I mean, the background definitely has a baseball feel, but if you take Mays out of the frame, it could also be a pasture with a couple of farm buildings winking into view near the horizon.

But no matter where Mays is standing, this card will always maintain its standing as a hobby icon that can out-wow most merely mortal cardboard swaths.

PSA 6 value: $4500-7000

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1954 Bowman Willie Mays (#89)

1954 Bowman Willie Mays

After missing out on Mays in its landmark 1953 set while the 1951 Rookie of the Year winners served in the military, Bowman brought Say Hey back in 1954 .

This one gives us the first smiling card of Mays, carried to collectors on the back of a big, full-color photo. There’s no doubt where Mays is posing here, either, as the dugout steps and background are clearly visible.

Not as popular as the cards that preceded it, the 1954 Bowman is nonetheless a more affordable early Mays card.

PSA 7 value: $1300-1600

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1954 Topps Willie Mays (#90)

1954 Topps Willie Mays

Bright and bold, you have to think this 1954 Topps Mays card helped to push collectors away from Bowman and toward the upstart card maker.

After all, not only did you get all that pizzazz, you also got two images of the soon-to-be National League Most Valuable player on one card.

Also home the Hank Aaron rookie card, the 1954 Topps set is the first to feature the two future home run kings in the same issue.

The Mays is a classic 50s piece that evokes the essence of the era in a single glance.

PSA 7 value: $2500-3000

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1955 Bowman Willie Mays (#184)

1955 Bowman Willie Mays

Facing fierce competition from Topps and fighting for their hobby life, Bowman took one last shot at baseball cards — and Willie Mays — in 1955.

The wood-bordered, TV-set theme is a love-it-or-hate-it type of affair for collectors, but the set is instantly recognizable and unlike anything that came before it.

In this final Mays Bowman card, we get a shot of the superstar with his hands on his knees, outfield fence running behind him.

As with the ’54 Bowman Mays, this one is not Willie’s most popular card ever, but it’s a more affordable option for hobbyists looking to add young Mays to their collections.

PSA 7 value: $1200-1500

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1955 Topps Willie Mays (#194)

1955 Topps Willie Mays

Sticking with their two-photo theme from 1954, Topps turned their design sideways in 1955, creating plenty of space for a grinning Mays on this classic.

And, if the ’54 Topps Mays didn’t quite drive the last nail into Bowman’s coffin, this one at least swung the hammer. The ’55 Bowman Mays is nice and all, but this Topps card is a work of art by comparison.

PSA 7 value: $4000-5000

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1956 Topps Willie Mays (#130)

1956 Topps Willie Mays

If that headshot on the 1956 Topps Mays card looks familiar, well, that’s probably because you just finished looking at the 1955 Topps Mays card.

Same photo, just moved to the left.

Topps also freshened things up by ditching the swinging figurine in lieu of a full-card background action shot showing Mays sliding into home plate — looks safe, don’t you think?

This is a classic card, but the recycled photo was one of the early indications that Topps wasn’t above economizing here and there once they had dispatched their competition to the big commons bin in the sky.

PSA 7 value: $1500-1800

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1957 Topps Willie Mays (#10)

1957 Topps Willie Mays

After playing around with their card sizes for several years, Topps landed on a 2-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ format for their second full competition-free year.

As it turned out, they had just set a new standard that persists to this day.

Fitting, then, that one of the most gorgeous cards in the set belongs to another standard-bearer — one Willie Howard Mays.

Of course, there are probably hundreds of cards in this set that could vie for the title of “most beautiful,” but few of them carry the Mays mystique … or price tag.

PSA 7 value: $1000-1500

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1958 Topps Willie Mays (#5)

1958 Topps Willie Mays

Returning to a solid background for the first time since 1954 (1955 if you count the wavy-fade thing), Topps gave collectors lots of headshots and grainy posted swings in their 1958 issue.

Mays gets the head-and-shoulders treatment — not the most attractive of his cards, but a nice period piece and the first card to feature him as a member of the San Francisco Giants after the team moved west for the 1958 season.

PSA 7 value: $1000-1300

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1958 Topps Rival Fence Busters – Willie Mays and Duke Snider (#436)

1958 Topps Rival Fence Busters - Willie Mays and Duke Snider

As if seeing Mays on a San Fran card wasn’t hard enough for the fans back in New York, Topps rubbed more salt in the wound with this “special” card featuring Mays and Los Angeles Dodgers’ star centerfielder, Duke Snider.

Like Mays’ Giants, the Dodgers had come west for 1958, leaving Brooklyn fans battered and bleeding back home.

Of course, there was a whole new set of fans out west to welcome these sluggers and their teammates, and the Giants-Dodgers rivalry lives on all these years later.

And, if you’re looking to get the most talent and home runs for your buck, you might have trouble finding a rival for this card.

PSA 7 value: $150-200

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1958 Topps Willie Mays All-Star (#486)

1958 Topps Willie Mays All-Star

In 1958, Topps introduced All-Star cards for the first time, featuring the Sport Magazine selections of the game’s best players.

This was a boon for collectors longing for the good old days (1955 and before) when they could get more than one card of their favorites.

By ’58, Mays was already a four-time All-Star with a fifth selection on the way that summer. No surprise, then, that he graced one of these star-spangled goodies.

PSA 7 value: $200-300

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1959 Topps Willie Mays (#50)

1959 Topps Willie Mays

In 1959, Topps let collectors look through the porthole to get a glimpse at what their baseball heroes were doing on the other side.

Why a porthole? Hard to say — maybe it was intended to be a knothole, like in a wooden outfield fence. Or maybe Topps was intent on trying out their construction paper skills.

Whatever the case, the result for Say Hey is a pretty tight headshot that shows a pensive Mays without all that distracting ballpark ambiance.

PSA 7 value: $700-1000

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1959 Topps Willie Mays – The Catch (#464)

1959 Topps Willie Mays - The Catch

In the 1954 World Series, Mays famously perpetrated a bit of fielding thievery that became known, simple, as “The Catch.”

On that play in Game 1, Vic Wertz of the Cleveland Indians drove a ball deep to centerfield — too deep, in fact, for any mere mortal to track down, and the Polo Grounds crowd thought their team was doomed.

Willie Mays was no mere mortal, though, and he not only caught up to the ball but hauled it in over his shoulder, then wheeled and fired the ball back to the infield.

Five years later, Topps commemorated the moment on this exciting three-pane card that still gets your heart racing today.

PSA 7 value: $200-400

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1959 Topps Willie Mays All-Star (#563)

1959 Topps All-Stars Willie Mays

Topps was back with another run of All-Star cards in 1959, and, of course, Mays was back in the lineup. This time, National Leaguers got a red background (as opposed to blue in 1958) giving the Mays card a bit of extra pop.

PSA 7 value: $250-300

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1960 Topps Willie Mays (#200)

1960 Topps Willie Mays

Returning to a horizontal format for the first time since 1956, Topps also gave collectors a double-shot of Mays (and others) on once card in 1960 — a large, colorful headshot, and a smaller black and white action shot.

Though Mays doesn’t look all that happy in the main photo here, the card has become a hobby classic and makes a great centerpiece or standalone display item.

PSA 7 value: $700-800

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1960 Topps Master & Mentor – Willie Mays and Bill Rigney (#7)

1960 Topps Master & Mentor - Willie Mays and Bill Rigney

This is Mays’ second multi-player card, though the other “player” in this case was Giants manager Bill Rigney.

There was never any doubt about who the star of this pasteboard was, of course, a point underlined when Rigney was fired in June of 1960, less than halfway through the Giants’ first season in Candlestick Park.

Even as one of the weaker entries on our list, this one is still a vintage Willie Mays baseball cards, which makes it an all-time winner.

PSA 7 value: $40-70

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1960 Topps Willie Mays All-Star (#564)

1960 Topps Willie Mays All-Star

Maybe the most innovative among all Topps’ All-Star designs, the monster “60” design has become immensely popular with collectors over the years.

And a swinging, primetime Mays casting his giant (Giant?) shadow against that classic background makes for yet another hobby icon.

PSA 7 value: $200-350

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1961 Topps Willie Mays (#150)

1961 Topps Willie Mays

Did Topps expect Mays to get traded before the 1961 season was out?

You have to wonder, given the unimaginative hatless shot they rolled out for Say Hey that summer. After all, that was a treatment usually reserved for scrubs, or guys who changed teams too quickly for Topps to keep up, photo-wise.

Still, it’s a 1960s Willie Mays card, so it can’t be all bad, right?

PSA 8 value: $750-1000

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1961 Topps NL Batting Leaders – Roberto Clemente, Dick Groat, Norm Larker, Willie Mays (#41)

1961 Topps NL Batting Leaders - Roberto Clemente, Dick Groat, Norm Larker, Willie Mays

This card showing the National Leagues’ batting leaders for 1960 looks sort of upside-down, with Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays at the bottom, and Dick Groat and Norm Larker at the top.

The good news for collectors is that Mays’ less-than-prime spot on this card has helped keep prices inside the hobby stratosphere.

PSA 8 value: $125-150

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1961 Topps Willie Mays MVP (#482)

1961 Topps Willie Mays MVP

In 1961, Topps ran through men who had won MVPs through the company’s card-making history, beginning in 1951.

Mays made the cut by virtue of his 1954 NL title, and the resultant card is a stonecold beauty … except for the airbrushed cap.

You have to assume that Topps didn’t want to show the old NY logo since the Giants’ move to SF was probably still pretty raw for so many.

Still and all, this is a pretty snazzy card, and you can always break out your orange magic marker if you want to fix it up.

PSA 8 value: $400-600

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1961 Topps Willie Mays All-Star (#579)

1961 Topps Willie Mays All Star

Willie Mays was always big news wherever he went in baseball, so it was fitting that he graced one of the first “Sporting News” All-Star cards.

Featuring a smiling Say Hey bursting from a newspaper, the card offered up some interesting reading in the background, too … if you could decipher the print.

PSA 8 value: $500-600

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1962 Topps Willie Mays (#300)

1962 Topps Willie Mays

Another love-it-or-hate-it design, 1962 Topps brought back the wood borders collectors hadn’t seen since 1955 Bowman, but with a different motif.

Here, each player photo is “stuck” to the wood background, with one corner rolling up.

Mays looks right at home, working with his bat and smiling with the ballpark behind him. This one is tougher, condition-wise, than cards from 1961 and 1963 forward, so we slip back to PSA 7s for pricing here (before returning to PSA 8s for the 1963 cards).

PSA 7 value: $1200-1500

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1962 Topps Managers’ Dream – Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays (#18)

1962 Topps Managers' Dream -- Mickey Mantle-Willie Mays

Willie, Mickey, or the Duke?

With apologies to Brooklyn Dodgers fans, the debate really came down to just, “Willie or Mickey?”.

And that’s a debate that may never be settled.

What was settled long ago, though, is that Managers’ Dream is a collector’s dream, and a hobby icon that’s on just about everyone’s wish list.

PSA 7 value: $600-700

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1962 Topps NL Home Run Leaders – Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson (#54)

1962 Topps NL Home Run Leaders - Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson

Sort of lost in the glare of the Roger MarisMickey Mantle tandem assault on Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1961 is that another pair of teammates were pulling off some pretty amazing long-ball feats of their own that summer.

Topps served up a reminder the next spring, though, celebrating Orlando Cepeda’s National League home run crown, as well as Mays in the runner-up spot.

Poor Frank Robinson could manage just a distant honorable mention here, despite nabbing 1961 NL MVP honors.

PSA 7 value: $30-75

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1962 Topps Willie Mays All-Star (#395)

1962 Topps Willie Mays All-Star

Ho hum … another year, another Willie Mays All-Star card.

This one features a posed action (how’s that for an oxymoron?) shot of Mays powering through the strike zone, with some green grass, some stands, and a huge hunk of blue sky in the background.

Yeah, this card is a winner.

PSA 7 value: $100-150

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1963 Fleer Willie Mays (#5)

1963 Fleer Willie Mays

If you can’t beat the local card manufacturer, well, you can always try cookies.

That’s what Fleer did in 1963, breaking free of Ted Williams and “all-time greats” after a couple of years to issue a set of 67 cards featuring then-current players. Cookies, not gum, were the main products, with the cards as premiums.

Topps didn’t buy that story, and neither did the courts, but it lasted long enough for another pretty nifty Willie Mays card to be born.

PSA 8 value: $500-600

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1963 Topps Willie Mays (#300)

1963 Topps Willie Mays

Meanwhile, Topps gave us a mostly in-frame shot of Mays, complete with some other dude’s head coming out of his shoudler.

So could that be Mays’ secret? That he was actually two guys?

Maybe, or maybe it’s just a funky photo. Still a fun card, though.

PSA 8 value: $1800-2100

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1963 Topps NL Home Runs Leaders – Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson (#3)

1963 Topps NL Home Runs Leaders - Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson

What do you do when the top five guys in the National League home run race are all future Hall of Famers?

Why, you put them all on one “leaders” card, that’s what!

Topps was so sure they had a royal flush with these five dudes, that’s exactly what they did.

And out of all of them, Mays took center stage, courtesy of his 49 dingers in 1962.

PSA 8 value: $500-600

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1963 Topps Pride of NL – Willie Mays and Stan Musial (#138)

1963 Topps Pride of NL - Willie Mays and Stan Musial

Mays was smack dab in his prime in 1963, while St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial was in his final season.

But on this card, the two baseball icons came together as the collective “Pride of N.L.”.

Sheesh! Just how many great memories can you cram into one hunk of cardboard, anyway?

PSA 8 value: $250-300

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1964 Topps Willie Mays (#150)

1964 Topps Willie Mays (#150)

What do you think Mays is looking at down there to his right on this card?

Probably not a young Barry Bonds, since Mays’ future god son wasn’t born until July of ’64, after this card was created.

Whatever is down there, it gives us an interesting shot of the legend to contemplate while we fight the hunger pangs brought on by the card’s orange creamsicle accents.

PSA 8 value: $1200-1500

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1964 Topps NL Home Run Leaders – Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey (#9)

1964 Topps NL Home Run Leaders - Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey

Another year, another run of Hall of Famers at the top of the NL home run parade.

This time around, Robinson fell off the leaderboard and Mays slipped to third, but at least we get bigger pictures of the four dudes in question.

PSA 8 value: $200-400

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1964 Topps Giant Gunners – Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda (#306)

1964 Topps Giant Gunners - Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda

And just in case you couldn’t get enough of Mays and Cepeda, Topps gave collectors another sunny dose with this Giant Gunners card.

This one wasn’t just a candid shot, either, as a bit of planning and choreography went into getting the two sluggers lined up just right, bats cocked and ready to rock.

PSA 8 value: $125-175

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1964 Topps Tops in NL – Hank Aaron and Willie Mays (#423)

1964 Topps Tops in NL - Hank Aaron and Willie Mays

Musial may have been gone by the time 1964 rolled around, but Hank Aaron was still smashing baseballs and doing just about everything else you could want from a diamond superstar.

So, yeah, Mays still ranked as part of the “tops” in the NL, but his card mate was no slouch in his own right.

PSA 8 value: $500-700

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1965 Topps Willie Mays (#250)

1965 Topps Willie Mays

This card is a bona fide hobby icon.

Part of it is the design itself, featuring a rah-rah pennant motif that makes you want to head out to the ballpark.

And part of it is a thicker-looking Mays, ready to head into the home stretch of his career but still super dangerous.

And a healthy dose of it is Mays’ 1965 performance — 52 home runs and another MVP award.

And, finally, add in a cameo for this card in the 1982 Kmart set that brought the thing to a whole new generation, and all the pieces were in place to build a hobby legend.

PSA 8 value: $1100-1200

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1965 Topps NL Home Run Leaders – Willie Mays, Billy Williams, Johnny Callison, Orlando Cepeda, Jim Hart (#4)

1965 Topps NL Home Run Leaders - Willie Mays, Billy Williams, Johnny Callison, Orlando Cepeda, Jim Hart

Only three future Hall of Famers on this Home Run Leaders card, but that still translates to a .600 batting average for Topps.

And, with Mays in the leadoff spot, it’s a card for the ages that has stood the test of time.

PSA 8 value: $125-175

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1965 Topps NL RBI Leaders – Ken Boyer, Ron Santo, Willie Mays (#6)

1965 Topps NL RBI Leaders - Ken Boyer, Ron Santo, Willie Mays

Mays barely made the cut for this card, beating out Joe Torre by two RBI to claim the third-place slot in the NL in 1964.

But a Mays card that Mays barely made it onto is still a Mays card, and it features one other Hall of Famer (Santo) and a top dog (Boyer) who may yet get the call to Cooperstown.

PSA 8 value: $60-120

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1966 Topps Willie Mays (#1)

1966 Topps Willie Mays

This is another super recognizable Mays card, one that’s been used as eye candy to accompany countless articles and advertisements over the decades since it was issued.

The 1966 set featured a clean, subdued design that allowed plenty of room for Mays’ personality to shine through, and Say Hey delivers with a big smile under a perfect, cloudless sky.

PSA 8 value: $2000-2500

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1966 Topps NL Batting Leaders – Bob Clemente, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays (#215)

1966 Topps NL Batting Leaders - Bob Clemente, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays

Here we get the first glimpse of Mays on a card celebrating batting average, and, though he lost out on the 1965 crown to both Aaron and Roberto Clemente, Willie’s .317 was nothing to sneeze at.

The issue of whether Mays himself is sneezing in this shot is another question altogether.

PSA 8 value: $900-1400

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1966 Topps NL Home Run Leaders – Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Billy Williams (#217)

1966 Topps NL Home Run Leaders - Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Billy Williams

Those 52 dingers in ’65 guaranteed that Mays would grace the top slot in yet another Home Run Leaders card, and strong showings by Willie McCovey and Billy Williams ensured another Hall of Fame sweep.

If you were ever annoyed by pulling a “leaders” card from a live pack back in the day (whenever “your” day was), take a good long look at these mid-1960s versions now and then, and your opinion might change, just a bit.

PSA 8 value: $140-170

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1966 Topps NL RBI Leaders – Deron Johnson, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays (#219)

1966 Topps NL RBI Leaders - Deron Johnson, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays

OK, OK.

So sometimes the leaders cards did produce a bit of a thud, but how can you fault Topps here?

Not even the Old Gum Company could have predicted that Deron Johnson would bust out 130 ribbies in 1965.

Luckily, F.Robby and Mays held serve to save the back end of this card, Hall of Fame-wise.

PSA 8 value: $90-110

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1967 Topps Willie Mays (#200)

1967 Topps Willie Mays

Another clean design with a focus on big, clear photos, 1967 Topps has long been a favorite among purist collectors.

And Topps used that crisp design to good effect to deliver a full-on shot of Mays’ smile and a face showing the lines of having played in the big leagues for 15 years, and at life for 35.

Overall it’s a great card with solid eye appeal.

PSA 8 value: $750-900

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1967 Topps Checklist Willie Mays (#191)

1967 Topps Checklist Willie Mays

Remember how disappointing it was to pull a checklist from a pack of baseball cards?

For me, in the 1980s, that meant a full 1/15th of my pack wasted!

It was even worse in 1967, when you got just five chances per pack.

So it was a stroke of genius when Topps decided to include little headshots of various stars to lead off their checklist cards that year.

And who do we find perched atop card #191?

Yeah, you’ve been paying attention here, so you know it’s Willie Mays.

And, all of a sudden, there was a checklist card that actually made their packs better!

PSA 8 value: $25-50

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1967 Topps NL Home Run Leaders – Hank Aaron, Richie Allen, Willie Mays (#244)

1967 Topps NL Home Run Leaders - Hank Aaron, Richie Allen, Willie Mays

After Hank Aaron took the 1966 NL home run crown with 44 bombs, he stood a full 100 dingers behind Mays, who finished third that summer with 37.

Who could have predicted then that would be Mays’ last 30-homer season, or that Hank would smash the gas over the next decade or so?

All collectors knew for sure back then was that they got both sluggers on one card, with Richie Allen thrown in the middle to spice things up.

PSA 8 value: $150-200

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1967 Topps Fence Busters – Willie Mays and Willie McCovey (#443)

1967 Topps Fence Busters - Willie Mays and Willie McCovey

The Giants traded Cepeda to St. Louis for Ray Sadeckie in May of 1966, so there would be no reprisal of the old “Giant Gunners” card anytime soon.

But that didn’t mean Mays was left all by his lonesome in the Bay.

No way! Not when Stretch McCovey was stationed at first base, ready to bust some fences with his more seasoned legend of a teammate.

And, thus, Fence Busters was born!

PSA 8 value: $275-325

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1968 Topps Willie Mays (#50)

1968 Topps Willie Mays

If you like burlap and retread photos, the 1968 Topps Mays is the card for you.

Yeah, that is the same image Topps used for Mays’ iconic 1965 card, which means Willie was at least four years older than this pic showed by the time his 1968 card saw the light of day.

Not the most inspiring of Mays cards, but still a Mays card, so there’s that.

PSA 8 value: $750-900

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1968 Topps Super Stars – Harmon Killebrew, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle (#490)

1968 Topps Super Stars -- Harmon Killebrew-Willie Mays-Mickey Mantle

Understatement or stating the obvious?

The 1968 Topps “Super Stars” card was a little of both.

Harmon Killebrew, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle were three of the biggest boppers in the game, all headed to the Hall of Fame, so something more along the lines of “Baseball Olympus” might have fit the bill.

Either way, Mays lights up the scene with a big smile standing between his American League counterparts.

PSA 8 value: $500-600

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1969 Topps Willie Mays (#190)

1969-Topps-Willie-Mays

This one may be a bit less obvious than the 1968 Topps card, but the ’69 also features a repeat photo.

Go back a few entries, take that 1966 Topps card, blow up the image, then crop it tight, and you get … the 1969 Topps Willie Mays!

At least they dropped the burlap.

PSA 8 value: $800-900

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1970 Topps Willie Mays (#600)

1970 Topps Willie Mays (#600)

If gray can be bold, then Topps went full-on bold with their 1970 design.

No one had ever seen a big, full card set that featured gray borders, and this one was predictably polarizing. Still is.

But regardless of how you feel about the card edges, you have to admit that the clean design works well with this big image of Mays posed with his weapon of choice.

This is also a rare late-series appearance for Mays, who generally landed up front in Topps issues.

PSA 8 value: $400-600

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1971 Topps Willie Mays (#600)

1971 Topps Willie Mays

Of course, just about every set out there has to get in line behind 1971 Topps when it comes to polarizing baseball card designs.

Love them or hate them, though, the black-bordered beauties are undeniably a hobby classic, and the chipping and other condition sensitivities inherent in the dark borders make them tough to come by in high grades.

Add in another high-number slot for Mays, and you have a jump in value compared to the Mays cards that came before and after.

PSA 8 value: $1300-1400

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1972 Topps Willie Mays (#49)

1972 Topps Willie Mays

Jumping from the darkness to an explosion of psychedelic color, Topps kept collectors guessing in the early 1970s.

In 1972, that meant pulling Mays back down into the low numbers, and then adding something extra nearby …

PSA 8 value: $300-400

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1972 Topps Willie Mays In Action (#50)

1972 Topps Willie Mays In Action

And that something extra was an “In Action” card of the Say Hey Kid that showed him sliding through a cloud of dust.

It was fitting, too, because even though Mays was 40 in 1971, and even though he hadn’t touched 20 stolen bases in a season since 1960, he swiped 23 the summer before this card was issued.

He also tagged 18 dingers in 1971, but he’d never reach double digits in either category again.

PSA 8 value: $300-400

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1973 Topps Willie Mays (#305)

1973 Topps Willie Mays

In May of 1972, the unthinkable happened: the Giants traded Willie Mays.

You might as well have said that the Vatican traded the Pope!

The only nugget that made the deal even halfway palatable was that Mays was headed to the New York Mets, who toiled in Shea Stadium, not too awful far from the old Polo Grounds — Mays original MLB stomping grounds.

The next year, Topps gave us this (almost) final look at Mays in a NY uniform, and it’s a classic in its own right.

PSA 8 value: $300-400

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1973 Topps All-Time Home Run Leaders – Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays (#1)

1973 Topps All-Time Home Run Leaders - Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays

Aaron out-homered Mays, 34-8, in 1972, and it was enough to catapult Hammer into second place on the all-time home run list.

With Mays heading deeper into his 40s and Hank showing no signs of slowing down, it suddenly became apparent that Aaron was going to be the one to take aim at Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record (first, at least).

Topps recognized the impending history and capitalized on the moment with this Mount Rushmore of a card that just seems to get more popular with each passing year.

PSA 8 value: $500-600

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1974 Topps 1973 World Series Game 2 – Willie Mays (#473)

1974 Topps Willie Mays World Series

Topps didn’t produce a true career-capper for Mays when his career ended after the 1973 season, but they did give collectors one last look at the legend.

Thanks to an unlikely division title in 1973 and an even more unlikely victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Championship Series, the New York Mets found themselves in a battle with the Oakland A’s in the World Series.

There, in Game 2, Mays put together his last big performance, driving in a run with two outs in the top of the 12th inning to give the Mets a 7-6 lead. They would eventually win the game by a 10-7 score, and Topps commemorated the game — and Mays’ big moment — on card #473 in 1974.

PSA 8 value: $60-90

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Want to see a video version of this article? We have three!

1963 Willie Mays Topps #300 San Francisco Giants

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1965 Topps #250 Willie Mays

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1963 TOPPS #300 WILLIE MAYS VG(FADED)

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1968 Topps #50 Willie Mays - PSA 2(MK)

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1967 Topps Willie Mays #200 Baseball Card

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1968 Topps Game Willie Mays Home Run #8 SGC 4 VG EX Giants Z666

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1962 Topps WILLIE MAYS #300 SGC 5.5 HOF Free Shipping!!

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1955 TOPPS WILLIE MAYS #194 EXCELLENT!

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Baseball Reference pages for other players mentioned in this post:

Duke Snider

Bill Rigney

Roberto Clemente

Dick Groat

Norm Larker

Ernie Banks

Orlando Cepeda

Frank Robinson

Billy Williams

Johnny Callison

Stan Musial

Ken Boyer

Ron Santo

Deron Johnson

Harmon Killebrew

Dick Allen

Willie McCovey

Babe Ruth

Willie Mays baseball cards