One of the most intimidating pitchers the game has ever seen, Bob Gibson was relentless on the mound, known for shear dominance and a cannon for an arm. But his ascension into baseball greatness was somewhat unexpected.
Gibson was touted for his basketball abilities and attended college under a hoops scholarship. In fact, he didn’t even make his big league debut until the ripe old age of 23. What’s more, it would take some time for the hard-throwing righty to blow away the competition; the first two years of his career were pedestrian compared to the Hall of Fame dominance he would go on to exhibit.
During his third year in the league, however, things began to click for Gibson. Following up a disappointing second year that saw him take a stint in the minors, Gibson had a chip on his shoulder and started making multiple bats miss the mark. Despite teeter tottering from the bullpen to starter, he amassed 13 wins and a 3.24 ERA, down more than two points from his previous year.
By his fourth year, 1962, Gibson started to catch fire. He won 15 games and improved in every major statistical category. The momentum continued in the ensuing years, the wins and dominance mounted, culminating in a truly legendary display of pitching during the 1968 season. “Hoot” went 22-9 with a mind-boggling ERA of 1.12 and compiled 13 shutouts during that year. He went on to record 17 strikeouts in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series. He was such a force, he won National League Cy Young and MVP honors.
His reputation as a no-nonsense assassin on the mound, who controlled the game and didn’t shy away from “brushback pitches,” was firmly in place.
Naturally, cards of this two-time World Series champ, nine-time All-Star and Hall of Famer are still sought by collectors everywhere and retain solid trading card value, especially his 1959 Topps rookie card. We went through the Bob Gibson Basic set and picked four key cards to highlight.
As the only Hall of Fame rookie in a popular – and colorful – Topps release, Bob Gibson’s card is the clear-cut key to the set and a favorite among collectors. Though the set is also jam-packed with stars, collectors still clamor for Gibson’s eye-popping rookie card. The card features a striking bubble-gum-pink border framing the righty who is sporting a rare smile, with his facsimile autograph prominently featured above his team logo on his chest. High-grade examples can be found, but the price may be steep, starting at $1,900 in PSA 8. Centering and print defects are common grading conditions with this issue.
PSA Good 2: $167
PSA Excellent 5: $363
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $1,900
Moving on to the lone horizontal card layout of the Gibson issues featured in this entry. His 1960 Topps #73 features juxtaposing images of the feared right-hander. On the left, Gibson looks downfield, apparently deciding what pitch to hurl. The right depicts the pitcher’s profile, amongst a blurred out background of the stands. Though Gibson’s 1959 rookie is the most celebrated card of the legendary pitcher, his 1960 offering is one of only three issues in the Bob Gibson Basic Set to never receive a PSA 10 grade.
PSA Good 2: $24
PSA Excellent 5: $30
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $330
There’s that faux wood grain from Topps again. Gibson’s 1962 issue from Topps is a tough find, thanks to its high-number, short-printed nature. Don’t get us started on those fragile faux wood borders, either; they’re just asking for wear and chipping. Centering also hurts the card’s condition. Just one example of this notoriously tough grade has reached PSA 10 status.
PSA Good 2: N/A
PSA Excellent 5: $50
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $830
Fleer had a tough going in 1963. Thanks to a lawsuit by rival card manufacturer Topps, Fleer had to stop its 1963 issue at just one series of 66 cards. What that means for collectors is that this is one of the more rare Gibson offerings. Its rarity is compounded by notoriously tough centering. The green-bordered backs are also apt to chip. Still, with such factors working against the release, you can hunt down this card in high-grade for surprisingly cheap. PSA 8s run around $100.
PSA Good 2: N/A
PSA Excellent 5: $30
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $100
Bob Gibson Cards Required to Complete the Set
(Including PSA Weights)
- 1959 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #514 (10.00)
- 1960 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #73 (6.00)
- 1961 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #211 (4.00)
- 1962 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #530 (8.00)
- 1963 FLEER BOB GIBSON #61 (6.00)
- 1963 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #415 (5.00)
- 1964 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #460 (5.00)
- 1965 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #320 (5.00)
- 1966 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #320 (5.00)
- 1967 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #210 (3.00)
- 1968 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #100 (3.00)
- 1969 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #200 (3.00)
- 1970 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #530 (3.00)
- 1971 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #450 (3.00)
- 1972 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #130 (2.00)
- 1973 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #190 (1.50)
- 1974 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #350 (1.00)
- 1975 TOPPS BOB GIBSON #150 (1.50)
Browse through images of the entire set within the image gallery section of the Set Registry.
Collecting Bob Gibson Cards Is a “Hoot”
“Gibby” might be the most intimidating pitcher to ever set foot on the mound. You’d never catch one of his contemporaries say they looked forward to facing the imposing right-hander. If batters crowded too close to Gibson’s strike zone, he wouldn’t think twice about sending a blazing 96 M.P.H fastball high and inside. “Chin music” was one of Gibson’s preferred tactics; that was Gibson’s home plate and batters knew better.
It was this fiery tenacity, brilliance on the mound and longevity with one team, the Cardinals, that led his name to be a favorite amongst fans. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also considered one of the all-time greats. Gibson isn’t just a hard-nosed pitcher who served 17 years with the Cardinals; he’s one of the best the game has seen. And for collectors seeking out Bob Gibson cards, there’s good news. Yes, his high-grade cards can be worth big bucks, but he’s readily available in mid-grade.
Visit the PSA Set Registry and check out the Bob Gibson Basic Set.Start Your Set Today