Collectible of the Week: Mike Schmidt Rookie Card

1973 Topps - Mike Schmidt Rookie Card

The 1973 Topps Mike Schmidt rookie card is the most recognizable Phillies card ever produced.  As a young Phillies fan during the 1980's, Mike Schmidt was easily my favorite player.  My bedroom walls were covered with his posters, and I had all of his cards stored neatly in plastic pages (nine at a time, front only).  For me, like most other Phillies fans, the Schmidt rookie card is the "holy grail".

The set:
The complete 660-card, 1973 Topps set is a really unique - and in many ways has always been defined by its inclusion of the Schmidt card.  Many detractors of the set will point to examples of poor photography, or card design but it has always been one of my favorites.  In addition to Schmidt, the set also contained both Bob Boone and Goose Gossage's first cards and singles of 25 other HOFers (including the final cards for both Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente).  And personally, I have always liked the All-Time Leaders and Post-Season highlight card subsets - and of course, the horizontal regular issue player cards (like the sweet Willie Montanez card below).

Willie Montanez 1973 Topps

The set was originally sold in series via wax packs, rack packs, cello packs and vending boxes.  The final series (cards 529-660) have generally been considered "the hardest to find".  Coincidentally,  the Mike Schmidt card falls right in the "sweet spot" of this series (#615), and in addition to his status of the greatest third baseman of all-time contributes to the card's overall/lasting value.

Schmidt Card Vital Stats:
Manufacturer: Topps
Year: 1973
Card Number: 615
Description: Part of the "Topps Rookie Stars" subset, the card features Schmidtty as one of three future star third baseman (Ron Cey and John Hilton are the others).  While I am sure both Cey and Hilton refer to it as their rookie cards - Schmidt is the obvious attraction for MOST of the market.  Even with the depreciation in card values over the years, the Schmidt rookie still commands prices between $90-150 (or more dependent on grade).

By the way, after years of longing for that Mike Schmidt rookie of my own - my dad bought me one for my 13th birthday.  Still one of the greatest gifts ever...