In this new, ongoing series, we explore various sets on the PSA Set Registry, featuring the trading cards of iconic athletes. Select cards will be highlighted and the requirements of each set will be included.
He is affectionately known as “Yaz.” Carl Yastrzemski, now 80, was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 as a first-ballot inductee. He had a storybook career playing 23 years for the Boston Red Sox (1961 to ’83). He still holds the MLB record for most games played with one team (3,308) and holds several Red Sox records, including most hits (3,419), most runs scored (1,816) and most at-bats (11,988). He was known for being durable in the field and will forever be remembered for putting together one of the greatest single seasons (1967) in baseball history.
They called it “The Impossible Dream” season. Though the Red Sox – and Yaz – were clicking offensively right from Opening Day, the Red Sox were a young team with players averaging just 25 years old and expectations were low. Despite the bleak preseason projections, they battled their way to the top of the A.L. standings in August, although a big setback occurred that month when 22-year-old right fielder Tony Conigliaro (.287, 20 HR and 67 RBI) took a fastball to his left eye that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Yaz, playing in his seventh season, continued to lead the charge the rest of the way.
In a headline-grabbing display of hitting, Yastrzemski batted .326, hit 44 home runs and knocked in 121 runs. Most impressively he led the A.L. in each category to take the coveted triple crown, a feat that wasn’t achieved for another 45 years. More importantly, he guided the Red Sox to the team’s first pennant since 1946. With clutch play down the stretch, Boston (92-70) clinched the A.L. title on the season’s final day and squared off against the vaunted St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic. They lost to World Series MVP Bob Gibson and the Redbirds in seven games but played valiantly as Yaz shined on baseball’s biggest stage: .400 BA with 10 hits including three home runs.
Let’s celebrate Yaz’s breathtaking assault on the MLB record books by looking at four key cards (in weighted card values) found in his basic set checklist:
The 1960 Topps Baseball set has long been a favorite of card collectors for decades. Consisting of 572 cards, each measuring 2-1/2” tall by 3-1/2” wide, the set is best remembered for its horizontal design and sun-drenched hues. It is also coveted by virtue of two key rookie cards of eventual HOFers: Carl Yastrzemski (#148) and Willie McCovey (#200). Yaz’s card is extremely sought-after and shows a young Yastrzemski perhaps pondering his glorious future in the big leagues. Centering is always an issue with the card and its bright, mustard-colored background provides ample opportunity for print defects to appear. It has a robust PSA population report of 7,022 of which only a single submission has ever earned a PSA Gem Mint 10 grade. Forty-two submissions have earned PSA Mint 9 standing, while another 572 have been deemed to be in PSA Near Mint-Mint 8 condition.
In trying to assemble Yaz’s basic set checklist on the PSA Set Registry, this is the most heavily weighted card (10.00). Weights are determined by the secondary market in regards to trading card value using a scale from 1.00 to 10.00 with 10.00 being the most expensive. Using three different PSA grades for the card, here are its current industry average auction prices:
PSA Good 2: $62.40
PSA Excellent 5: $128.46
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $1,315.60
The 1962 Topps Baseball set consists of 598 cards with one each measuring 2-1/2” wide by 3-1/2” tall. The cards feature a nice portrait-type photo of the player set against a faux wood-grain background with the lower-right corner designed to give the appearance that it is peeling away to reveal his name, team, and position. The wood-grain borders, however, are highly susceptible to chipping which makes Yaz’s third-year card difficult to find in high-grade condition. The card has a PSA population report of 1,640 of which just two submissions have been graded PSA Gem Mint 10. Fourteen more submissions have been graded PSA Mint 9, while 181 others have been labeled in PSA Near Mint-Mint 8 condition.
This card is second in the most heavily weighted (7.00) category in Yastrzemski’s PSA basic set checklist. Using three different PSA grades for the card, here are its industry average auction prices:
PSA Good 2: $14.15
PSA Excellent 5: $38.83
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $461.36
The man called “Yaz” had a season to remember in 1967. The ‘67 Topps Baseball set consists of a robust 607 cards with each one measuring 2-1/2” wide by 3-1/2” tall. Each card front generally features a large color photo of the player bordered by white. Each of the cards (minus #254 Milt Pappas) sports a black facsimile autograph of the player across the front. Yastrzemski’s card #355 shows an unassuming Yaz in spring training mode. The card has a PSA population report of 1,446 of which four submissions have earned the prestigious PSA Gem Mint 10 grade. Seventy-five other submissions have been graded PSA Mint 9, while another 352 have been encapsulated in PSA Near Mint-Mint 8 condition.
This card is third within the most heavily weighted (5.50) category in Yaz’s PSA basic set checklist. Using three different PSA grades for the card, here are its industry average auction prices:
PSA Good 2: $16.00
PSA Excellent 5: $27.44
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $191.25
The 1961 Topps Baseball set returned to its vertical format with a large color photograph of each player on the card fronts along with his vital info (name, position, team) at the bottom. The set consists of 587 cards, each one measuring 2-1/2″ wide by 3-1/2” tall. Yaz’s card #287 shows the young hitter in a slightly different presentation – albeit utilizing the same head shot that was used for his true Topps rookie card (#148) – than the year prior. The card has a PSA population report of 2,892 of which four submissions have earned PSA Gem Mint 10 billing. A total of 69 others have earned PSA Mint 9 ranking, while 533 others have been found in PSA Near-Mint Mint 8.
This card is tied for fourth on PSA’s most heavily weighted list (5.00) for Yaz’s basic set checklist although it is the oldest of the five cards at that weight. Using three different PSA grades for the card, here are its industry average auction prices:
PSA Very Good 3: $18.80
PSA Excellent 5: $46.40
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $220.55
(including PSA ‘Weights’)
- 1960 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #148 (10.00)
- 1961 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #287 (5.00)
- 1962 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #425 (7.00)
- 1963 FLEER CARL YASTRZEMSKI #8 (6.00)
- 1963 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #115 (5.00)
- 1964 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #210 (4.50)
- 1965 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #385 (5.00)
- 1966 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #70 (5.00)
- 1967 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #355 (5.50)
- 1968 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #250 (4.50)
- 1969 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #130 (5.00)
- 1970 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #10 (4.00)
- 1971 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #530 (4.50)
- 1972 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #37 (4.00)
- 1973 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #245 (4.00)
- 1974 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #280 (3.00)
- 1975 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #280 (3.50)
- 1976 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #230 (3.00)
- 1977 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #480 (3.00)
- 1978 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #40 (3.00)
- 1979 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #320 (3.00)
- 1980 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #720 (1.50)
- 1981 DONRUSS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #94 (1.00)
- 1981 DONRUSS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #214 (1.00)
- 1981 FLEER CARL YASTRZEMSKI #221 (1.00)
- 1981 FLEER CARL YASTRZEMSKI #638 (1.00)
- 1981 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #110 (1.50)
- 1982 DONRUSS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #74 (1.00)
- 1982 FLEER CARL YASTRZEMSKI #312 (1.00)
- 1982 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #650 (1.00)
- 1983 DONRUSS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #326 (1.00)
- 1983 FLEER CARL YASTRZEMSKI #200 (1.00)
- 1983 TOPPS CARL YASTRZEMSKI #550 (1.00)
- 1984 FLEER CARL YASTRZEMSKI #412 (1.00)
Browse through images of the entire set within the image gallery section of the PSA Set Registry.
Yastrzemski did make it back to another World Series. In 1975, as the Sox aging, 35-year-old team captain, Yaz led Boston to the A.L. East Division title before sweeping the three-time defending World Series Champion Oakland A’s in three games after batting .455 in the ALCS. This all set the stage for one of the greatest Fall Classic match-ups ever.
In seven unforgettable games against the N.L. Champion Cincinnati Reds, complete with twists and turns that nobody could have seen coming, the Red Sox lost a heart-breaking World Series. Game 7, at Fenway Park, ended with Yaz popping out to Reds second baseman Joe Morgan in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and a man on with the score 4-3 Cincinnati. Yaz batted .310 for the series but the magic finally ran out on Oct. 22, 1975.
He finished his career with 452 home runs, seven Gold Gloves, 18 All-Star Game selections and more hits than any Red Sox player in history. For all of his glorious accomplishments, Yaz is a folk hero in New England. Give his basic set a try on the PSA Set Registry. At 34 cards deep, it’s a doable undertaking with a great feeling of satisfaction upon completion.
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