Card of the Day: 1963 Topps Joe Gibbon

Today’s Card of the Day comes from the 1963 Topps set. It features Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Joe Gibbon, who had two different stints with the team. He was born on this date in 1935 in Hickory, Mississippi.  He debuted with the Pirates during the 1960 season, when they took home their third World Series title. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants following the 1965 season, as part of the deal to acquire Matty Alou. The Giants traded him back to the Pirates in the middle of the 1969 season for Ron Kline.

Gibbon stayed around until the end of the 1970 season. So he put in eight years with the Pirates, and he was part of two noteworthy trades. Yet this is just his second appearance in our Card of the Day series. His first was a year ago today when we looked at his 1961 Topps card. Here’s our second look at Gibbon, with card #101 from the 1963 Topps set.

Here’s the front of the card:

Since Gibbon has only been here once, I had a few choices. The 1960 and 1962 sets are always favorites of mine, so I tend to shy away from them because I feel like I’d overuse them if I was looking for a player from that era. That still left the 1963-65 and 1970 sets. He was on the Giants in the 1966 set, while he didn’t get a card in the 1971 set, eliminating two other possibilities.

I picked the 1963 card because the bottom photo caught my eye. The regular photo on this card is typical of staged action photos by Topps during their early years. I’d love to know the total count of pitchers who can be found in the staged follow through pose on the sidelines, or even some early ones were taken in the outfield. Honestly, I think the bright red/yellow combo at the bottom is what initially caught my eye, but I like how the secondary photo is better than the first. Don’t get me wrong, I love the old baseball stadium background in this Gibbon photo, but these photos feel like they should be flipped. Those old road grays with the vest/shirt combo are so great looking.

The color combos on the bottom have multiple options for the 1963 Topps set. They didn’t sort them by team. Our last 1963 Topps article for outfielder Ted Savage shows a card with a blue bottom border and an orange photo background.

Here’s the back of the card:

Here’s another confession about my thought process here. I wasn’t sold on this card until I saw the photo of Generic Gray Topps Man on the back. It shows an injured Gibbon with a sore right arm, his head in his glove, with a baseball game (I think?) on the TV. If only someone told Gibbon that he threw with his left hand, then maybe he could have still played despite a sore right arm. That’s a tough way for a pitcher to miss time, not knowing his throwing hand.

I like that the back here has his entire pro career up to that point. You can see he was a decent bullpen piece, though his two best seasons with the Pirates (1963-64) were still ahead of him. The back tells you that he was a great college basketball player, though it doesn’t tell you that his college was the University of Mississippi. It also doesn’t tell you that he played some first base during that 1957 season, before settling into a full-time pitching role.

If you are interested in this card, there are plenty of options available on an internet site called Ebay.  In fact, there are over 300 options. There are only 38 sold auctions over the last three months, which tells you that supply far outweighs demand. That’s good for you as a buyer, as you should be able to get this card for around $2 delivered. There are two PSA 8 cards, with the lower priced one at $200. You can get a PSA 7 for $64 (with a best offer option). Or you can just go for the $40 one. There are seven autographed copies, ranging from $7 to $15. While Gibbon has passed away, he had 56 years to sign these cards, so he’s not a difficult autograph.