The list of World Series MVP winners reads like a 70-year Hall of Fame roster … with plenty of interesting lesser-knowns thrown into the mix.

But the first Series MVP wasn’t handed out until 1955, with SPORT Magazine doing the honors.

As it happens, that season was the last before the Topps monopoly took hold in the hobby, so we thought it would be fun to run through all the Series hardware winners over the quarter-century of Topps’ dominance (plus that first year, when Bowman was still in play).

Here then, are the World Series MVP award winners from 1955 through 1980, along with their Topps cards from their crowning seasons.

1955 World Series MVP – Johnny Podres (1955 Topps #25)

1955 Topps Johnny Podres

The Brooklyn Dodgers finally got off the snide and captured their first World Series title in 1955.

You would have expected their hero to be one of the standard Bums, right?

Roy Campanella? Gil Hodges? Duke Snider? Pee Wee Reese? Jackie Robinson?

Some of those guys did fine, with Snider, especially, living up to his star billing (.320, 4 HR, 7 RBI).

But it was Podres who took home the hardware, holding the vaunted Yankees lineup to just three runs over 18 innings in pitching two complete-game victories.

Fans could gander at this gorgeous Podres card while he was doing his work on the mound that fall.

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1956 World Series MVP – Don Larsen (1956 Topps #332)

1956 Topps Don Larsen

Larsen pitched just 10.2 innings in the ’56 Fall Classic, but nine of those came in that historic perfect game in Game 5.

Good enough to cop MVP honors, complemented nicely by this classic Topps card.

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1957 World Series MVP – Lew Burdette (1957 Topps #208)

1957 Topps Lew Burdette

If you’re getting the feeling that pitchers ruled the World Series hardware in the 1950s … well, you’re right.

It was always an upset in those days when the Yanks dropped the Series, and Burdette polished off the 1957 Bombers with three October wins — including a 3-0 gem in Game 7.

A beautiful performance to go with a beautiful baseball card.

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1958 World Series MVP – Bob Turley (1958 Topps #255)

1958 Topps Bob Turley

Turley played a hand in the decision for four of the seven Classic games in 1958 as the Yanks exacted revenge on the Milwaukee Braves.

After dropping Game 2, Turley won Game 5, saved Game 6, and sealed the deal with a 6-2 victory over Burdette in Game 7.

This striking, orange-background card was befitting of Turley’s striking MVP performance.

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1959 World Series MVP – Larry Sherry (1960 Topps Rookie Card #105)

1960 Topps Larry Sherry Rookie Card

Sherry did his best impression of Turley, but the Dodgers rookie did old Bob one better …

Sherry saved Games 2 and 3 for the Dodgers before taking the win in Games 4 and 6 to close out the Series.

Collectors would have to wait until the next year to get a Turley RC, though, courtesy of Topps (who else?).

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1960 World Series MVP – Bobby Richardson (1960 Topps #405)

1960 Topps Bobby Richardson

Finally, a non-pitcher took home the World Series MVP award!

Unfortunately, the trophy went to the wrong team, as Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off heroics lifted the Pirates over the Yankees.

Richardson’s 12 RBI and .367 average were nice … but still not enough.

We do get our second 1960 Topps card on this list, though.

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1961 World Series MVP – Whitey Ford (1961 Topps #160)

1961 Topps Whitey Ford

Back to the mound for 1961, where Ford beat the Reds twice and overshadowed slugging teammates Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

Whitey looks unfazed by it all on his Topps card from that season.

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1962 World Series MVP – Ralph Terry (1962 Topps #48)

1962 Topps Ralph Terry

More heroics from Yankees pitchers in ’62, as Terry won Games 5 and 7 after dropping Game 2 to the Giants.

Terry’s 1962 Topps card is a solid snapshot of the era and an in-the-moment legend.

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1963 World Series MVP – Sandy Koufax (1963 Topps #210)

1963 Topps Sandy Koufax

Koufax won two complete-game masterpieces and struck out 23 in 18 innings as the Dodgers swept the Yankees in the ’63 Series

This, after Sandy went 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA in the regular season.

All along, collectors could get a close-up look at the budding Hall of Famer with this colorful 1963 Topps card.

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1964 World Series MVP – Bob Gibson (1964 Topps #460)

1964 Topps Bob Gibson

Gibson lost Game 2 to Mel Stottlemyre, but he was back on the bump in Games 5 and 7 … both wins.

It was the start of Gibson’s October magic, and it only seemed right that the guy sitting on top of the world was smiling on his ’64 Topps card.

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1965 World Series MVP – Sandy Koufax (1965 Topps #300)

1965 Topps Sandy Koufax

It must have seemed impossible at the time, but Koufax actually lost Game 2 of the 1965 World Series to Jim Kaat and the Minnesoat Twins.

Not to worry, though, because when the Dodgers needed him most, Sandy delivered wins in Game 5 and Game 7.

On his ’65 Topps card, Koufax is lasering in on you just like he did on Twins batters that fall.

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1966 World Series MVP – Frank Robinson (1966 Topps #310)

1966 Topps Frank Robinson

Robinson broke the pitcher stranglehold on Series MVP awards with a two-home run showing in sweeping Los Angeles.

A fitting outcome given that F. Robby had taken the AL Triple Crown and MVP during the regular season after the Reds traded him.

He was a “not young” 30, according to Reds GM Bill DeWitt, but Robinson had plenty of vitality on the field and on his 1966 Topps card.

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1967 World Series MVP – Bob Gibson (1967 Topps #210)

1967 Topps Bob Gibson

Gibson was back on the hero trail in 1967, winning three games in the Cards seven-game nail-biter over the Boston Red Sox and AL Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski.

Hoot looks all warmed up and ready to take on whatever batter comes his way on that 1967 Topps card of his.

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1968 World Series MVP – Mickey Lolich (1968 Topps #414)

1968 Topps Mickey Lolich

If not for Lolich, Gibson would have been looking at his third Series MVP award in 1968.

But the Detroit lefty stood toe-to-toe with Gibson in Game 7 and notched his third victory of the Series … Detroit wins, four games to three!

Lolich is just getting warmed up, maybe with an eye on October, on his spring-y 1968 Topps card.

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1969 World Series MVP – Donn Clendenon (1969 Topps #208)

1969 Topps Donn Clendenon

The Mets weren’t supposed to be a contender, weren’t supposed to win the division, weren’t supposed to win the first-ever NLCS.

But they did all that to find themselves facing the vaunted Baltimore Orioles rotation in the 1969 World Seriees.

It was no slug-fest, but Clendenon slammed three of the Mets’ six homers, and he batted .357 as New York breezed to a 4-1 Series win.

Amazingly, Clendenon’s 1969 Topps card shows him with the Houston Astros, a team for which he never played.

After the Montreal Expos drafted him from the Pirates in the 1969 expansion draft in October ’68, they flipped him and Jesus Alou to Houston for Rusty Staub.

Donn refused to report to the Astros, so the Expos had to work out something else … which ended up being a deal with the Mets.

Whew!

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1970 World Series MVP – Brooks Robinson (1970 Topps #230)

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Everybody knew Robinson was a lockdown third baseman heading into the 1970 World Series, but he changed the way fans thought about the position that fall.

Against the Reds, B. Robby made incredible play after incredible play and solidified his claim to the title of “best defensive third baseman ever.”

A couple of dingers and a .429 BA didn’t hurt his MVP cause, either.

No matter how nice and unassuming Robinson looked on that 1970 Topps card of his, the world soon learned he was more of a baseball beast than anyone ever knew before.

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1971 World Series MVP – Roberto Clemente (1971 Topps #630)

1971 Topps Roberto Clemente

The 1971 Fall Classic was a heart-stopper that featured three one-run games over the final four.

It all came down to the final frame, and the Pirates clung to their 2-1 lead to down Baltimore, four games to three.

In the Series, Clemente hit a gaudy .414 with two home runs, the last of which put the Bucs ahead to stay early in Game 7.

Like the man himself, Clemente’s 1971 Topps card has some big lumber on display.

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1972 World Series MVP – Gene Tenace (1972 Topps #189)

1972 Topps Gene Tenace

Tenace hit .348 in this Series and smashed four of Oakland’s five home runs, while also driving in nine of their 16 runs.

To that point in his career, Tenace had never played even 85 games in a season.

But he became an instant regular that October as the A’s nabbed their first of three straight World Series by downing the Reds, 4 games to 3.

The young(ish) catcher looks intense and ready for the challenge on his 1972 Topps card.

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1973 World Series MVP – Reggie Jackson (1973 Topps #255)

1973 Topps Reggie Jackson

Reggie became Mr. October later in the 1970s with the Yankees, of course, but his postseason heroics began with his first team.

Even though he looks more like a broken pitcher than the slugger he was on this 1973 Topps card, Jackson’s bat carried him to the Series MVP award with a dinger and six RBI.

It wasn’t an overpowering performance, but it was probably the best among a great team effort, and a solid complement to Reggie’s regular-season MVP performance.

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1974 World Series MVP – Rollie Fingers (1974 Topps #212)

1974 Topps Rollie Fingers

Dodgers hitters may have felt like they were batting against the mottled background from Fingers’ 1974 Topps card when they faced Mr. Handlebars in the World Series that October.

Over nine-plus innings of relief, Fingers held LA to two runs in posting one win and two saves.

Without his stingy pitching, Oakland never would have pulled off their three one-win victories to take the Series.

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1975 World Series MVP – Pete Rose (1975 Topps #320)

1975 Topps Pete Rose

It’s tough to pick an MVP from a seven-game tilt that still stands as one of the most dramatic World Series ever.

Cesar Geronimo, Ken Griffey, Rawly Eastwick, and others all have a strong claim to the title.

Pete Rose took the hardware, though, on the strength of a .370 batting average and .481 on-base percentage … and maybe aided by his 1975 Topps card, where he looks poised to bust some kneecaps.

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1976 World Series MVP – Johnny Bench (1976 Topps #300)

1976 Topps Johnny Bench

The Big Red Machine was firing on all cylinders by the time they rolled into the 1976 World Series, and they were loaded with huge stars.

None shined brighter than catcher Johnny Bench as the Reds bulldozed the Yanks in four games, though — JB hit .533 with two dingers and six RBI.

Truthfully, Bench might have won the award and cruised to Cooperstown on the strength of his gritty 1976 Topps card alone.

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1977 World Series MVP – Reggie Jackson (1977 Topps #10)

1977 topps reggie jackson

THIS is the Reggie we all remember, right?

Three homers in a game, five in the series, a .450 batting average, eight RBI, and ten runs scored?

Yeah, that’s a Series MVP for the ages, even imparting some mystique to that garish airbrush job on his 1977 Topps card.

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1978 World Series MVP – Bucky Dent (1978 Topps #335)

1978 Topps Bucky Dent

Dent strolled into the 1978 World Series with a newly-minted nickname after killing the Red Sox in the ALCS.

He kept the lava flowing with a seven-RBI performance driven by a .417 batting average.

Bucky will forever bunt in sun-dappled pinstripe glory on his 1978 Topps card.

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1979 World Series MVP – Willie Stargell (1979 Topps #55)

1979 Topps Willie Stargell

Stargell was 39 years old when the “We Are Family” Pirates pushed into the 1979 World Series, and he had mostly lost his boyish figure.

That pretty much all showed up on his school-bus yellow 1979 Topps card, but that follow-through also hints at some remaining power.

That all came to the fore in the Series as Pops popped three homes and drove in seven while batting an even .400 to propel the Bucs over the Orioles in seven games.

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1980 World Series MVP – Mike Schmidt (1980 Topps #270)

1980 Topps Mike Schmidt

Schmidt has something of a reputation for not showing up completely in the post-seaon, but the 1980 National League MVP was in full-force that October.

Against the Royals, Schmidt hit .381 with two homers and seven RBI as the Phils took the Classic in six games.

His 1980 Topps shows the Hall of Famer in full baseball royalty, with flowing banners and that heart-pumping burgundy Phillies warm-up and an All-Star stripe and that perfect 70s ‘stache.

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Player pages at Basebal-Reference.com for these World Series MVPs:

Johnny Podres
Don Larsen
Lew Burdette
Bob Turley
Larry Sherry
Bobby Richardson
Whitey Ford
Ralph Terry
Sandy Koufax
Bob Gibson
Frank Robinson
Mickey Lolich
Donn Clendenon
Brooks Robinson
Roberto Clemente
Gene Tenace
Reggie Jackson
Rollie Fingers
Pete Rose
Johnny Bench
Bucky Dent
Willie Stargell
Mike Schmidt