Card of the Day: 2003 Fan Favorites Vern Law

Today is the 93rd birthday of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Vern Law. He played 16 years with the Pirates, who were his only big league team. He is one of two Cy Young winners in team history. He won that award in 1960, when he helped the Pirates to a World Series title over the New York Yankees.

Today’s card selection for Law comes from the 2003 Fan Favorites set put out by Topps. I was an instant fan of these sets, which used old Topps designs with new photos of players, adding a glossy look to cards that still looked old. This particular card uses the 1960 Topps design, which is perfect for Law. It’s also great because it’s a set that had two photos for every player, so you’re getting two new photos for Law. There’s not a huge difference in the photos, as you will see below. I included a scan of a 1960 card for comparison, so you can really see how great the newer cards look, while still keeping the old look.

Here’s the front of the 2003 Fan Favorites card:

Here’s the comparison card, featuring the original 1960 Topps card of Law

As you can see, the bigger photos look nearly identical, just with a different baseball background scene. The pitching poses on the side are somewhat similar, just showing him at different points in his delivery. The design of the set is also nearly identical, except the orange on the 1960 card is red on the other. To be honest, the two colors aren’t as different in most cases as you see here, with this red looking bolder and the orange looking lighter than usual. What you can really see here is the quality of card looks better. I would personally rather have the 1960 card if I could only have one, but I would rather have both. Look at that great Pirates logo too!

Here’s the back of the Fan Favorites card:

Even if you didn’t know what the back of a 1960 Topps card looked like, you would know that there’s a huge difference that stands out between the two sets. This set included the entire career of Law, adding eight years of stats that were obviously unknown when the 1960 Topps set came out. Even more obvious at first glance is the right side with the light green strip and legal mumbo jumbo. That being said, a 1960 Topps back only has one year of stats and career stats. It also has season highlights instead of career highlights, plus there is a cartoon on the 1960 cards featuring the ever popular Generic Gray Topps Man. Basically, the two sets only share similar fronts, not backs.

If you’re interested in this card, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the price. Multiple sellers have it for around $2 delivered. There aren’t a lot of these cards listed on Ebay right now, but if you want a cheap copy, they are there. However, there are also three signed copies available, which might interest you even more. The most expensive one is $21 delivered. Law has signed a lot over the years, so he’s not someone you will have trouble finding signed cards from, which really goes for any card of his throughout the years. So it’s not surprising that his other two signed cards are going for $11 and $8 delivered. Someone actually got a great deal on a signed one recently, which ended for $3. There aren’t any available right now, but they made 299 copies of a refractor version, where the Fan Favorites logo is in color. The last one of those ended for $17 delivered.