There were many great moments in 1968. The Apollo 8 became the first space flight to orbit the moon. The world was introduced to Pringles and Hot Wheels cars. And Elvis returned to the music scene while The Beatles released the White Album. As for baseball, Al Kaline and the Detroit Tigers pulled off one of the more memorable upsets in World Series history by defeating Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and the St. Louis Cardinals. There were also some great baseball cards produced. Sit back and enjoy the top 1968 baseball cards to collect.
Coming as no surprise, 1968 Topps Baseball was the most important card release even though the "burlap sack" design was not well received by collectors. Overall, it may be the least popular Topps set of the 1960s, but it is still filled with Hall of Famers as well as one of the most popular rookie cards of all-time. The 1968 Topps set is relatively small at just 598 cards and one of the most affordable from the 1960s, which does help.
Topps did not have much competition in 1968, but there were a few other baseball card products that offered collectors some appealing options. The selection includes food-based oddball sets Bazooka and Kahn's, a popular and elusive test issue with Topps 3D, and also O-Pee-Chee and Topps Venezuelan, both of which were produced for markets outside of the United States.
Given the quantity of active Hall of Fame players and the variety of product choices available to collectors from 1968, finding the best cards for your collection can be a tough task. This list includes cards of standout players, hard-to-find oddballs and test issues, and some of the most popular rookie cards from the 1960s.
Top 1968 Baseball Cards to Collect
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10T. 1968 Topps Ed Brinkman Yellow Team Name Variation #49
There are a few different cards with variations in 1968 Topps, several of which involve checklists. However, there were also three cards that had team name color variations. Two of the cards feature Washington Senators players with the word "Senators" written in yellow rather than white. The first belongs to Ed Brinkman.
10T. 1968 Topps Casey Cox Yellow Team Name Variation #66
The second card belongs to Casey Cox. Both of these variation cards can be tough to track down on the secondary market and can be costly, especially for copies in good condition. Nevertheless, many collectors consider both cards necessary to complete a master set.
10T. 1968 Topps Mike McCormick White Team Name Variation #400
The Mike McCormick card also has a variation with the team name "Giants" appearing in white writing rather than the more common yellow version. This card can often be more difficult to locate than the Brinkman or Cox cards. The two Senators players did not have noteworthy careers, but McCormick appeared in multiple All-Star Games and won the National League Cy Young Award in 1967. As evidenced by his prominent card number, McCormick was a good player during this era and a favorite with the Giants fan base, adding extra appeal to this variation.
9. 1968 Topps Super Stars Harmon Killebrew/Willie Mays/Mickey Mantle #490
The 1968 Topps set has several different combos, but this Super Stars card featuring Harmon Killebrew, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle is clearly the strongest of the group with three different players from the 500 home run club. There is plenty of demand for any card with multiple Hall of Famers from this era, but this one is a great launching point for collectors looking to find affordable options of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays from their active career. The card is plentiful and the 1968 Topps set has less demand, which has helped keep the expense of this card down.
8. 1968 Topps Willie Mays #50
Willie Mays is one of the best players from his generation and always a popular choice within the hobby. Mays' cards from early in his career are pricey, can have a limited selection, and can be condition-sensitive. The opposite is true of his later cards, which are easier to find and easier on the wallet. High-end collectors can certainly find high-grade copies, but 1968 Topps is a good option for almost anyone looking for a standalone Mays during his playing days. No matter your opinion on the design, many collectors love this portrait-style image of Mays holding two bats over his shoulder with the stands in the background.
7. 1968 Topps Hank Aaron #110
Hank Aaron is obviously another all-time great who was popular on the field and within the baseball card hobby. No matter the set, any Aaron card from this timeframe is always in high demand. The Braves Hall of Famer made several appearances in 1968 Topps, also showing up on an All-Star card, a National League RBI Leaders card with Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda, and a Topps Game insert card. While the other Aaron cards from this year are desirable, his base card is the top choice from the group.
6. 1968 Topps Mickey Mantle #280
The popularity of the penultimate Mickey Mantle Topps card has increased over the years, but it is still one of the most affordable Mantle cards from his playing career. "The Mick" was frequently the top draw in the majority of Topps releases in which he appeared. However, the lower demand for 1968 Topps has actually helped ease the cost of this Mantle. The set has good print quality compared to others from this decade, which frequently had various printing and production flaws. This is one Mickey Mantle card within reach for many collectors without having to greatly compromise on condition.
5. 1968 Kahn's Wieners Johnny Bench
The Kahn's Meat Company produced a long run of baseball cards during the 1950s and 1960s. The 1968 set, similar to others, had a short checklist that was limited to teams that played in markets where the products were sold. Luckily for card collectors, the Cincinnati Reds were one of those teams. The 1968 Kahn's set included the team's rookie catcher, Johnny Bench. While many star players from this period have a single Topps rookie card, this oddball issue provides collectors the rare second option. The card is scarce and condition-sensitive, mainly due to the fact that collectors had to hand-cut it from an advertisement. Clean and high-grade copies of the Kahn's Johnny Bench card can be one of the most expensive cards made in 1968.
4. 1968 Topps 3D Roberto Clemente
The 1968 Topps 3D set was a test issue with a very limited production run and distribution. This 12-card set was produced with XOGRAPH, which is the same company that would later help Kellogg's create baseball cards during the 1970s and 1980s. Due to the limited quantity of these cards, they rarely appear on the secondary market, prices can often run very high, and some are condition-sensitive with the same cracking issues that are present in the Kellogg's baseball cards. The Roberto Clemente 1968 Topps 3D is the outstanding card of the product and one of the most sought-after cards from the late 1960s. It is also one of the most elusive. If you enjoy the appearance of this card, but do not have thousands of dollars to chase down a copy, Topps made an insert set in 2012 Topps Archives using this same design. There is even a Roberto Clemente on the checklist.
3. 1968 Bazooka Mickey Mantle
Starting in 1959, the entire run of Bazooka baseball cards featured three perforated cards attached to the back of a box of bubble gum. Bazooka was redesigned in 1968 with the cards moving to the side panels of the box, making the dimensions of the cards rather unique at 1" x 2-7/8". The Mickey Mantle card is the most popular in the set for two reasons. First, this card has sentimental value as Mantle's final Bazooka issue. The brand would cross over into retired players with the 1969 set. Second, the long, narrow piece of 1968 cardboard is condition-sensitive due to the fact that it's a hand-cut card. Although the 1968 Bazooka Mantle can be found on the secondary market hand-cut or attached to the original box, both are scarce and expensive.
2. 1968 Topps Johnny Bench / Ron Tompkins #247 RC
Johnny Bench is considered one of the best catchers in history and is treated that way by many baseball card collectors. While this may not be the top card on this list, it is still one of the great rookie cards from the 1960s and is highly coveted on the secondary market. The Topps Johnny Bench rookie card is much more plentiful than his Khan's card, but clean and high-grade copies can be just as expensive. The design can also be a factor for collectors who are deciding between the two 1968 Bench rookie cards, especially since Bench shares his initial Topps card with Ron Tompkins. In addition, Bench has a great second-year card in 1969 Topps, which was his first standalone issue.
1. 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan / Jerry Koosman #177 RC
There may not be a large number of rookie cards in 1968 Topps Baseball, but nobody can complain about the quality of the players. Nolan Ryan is another all-time great who has long been a notable name within the card hobby. One factor that separates the Nolan Ryan rookie from Bench is the presence of Jerry Koosman, who is not a Hall of Famer, but he was still a very successful Mets player. While the 1968 Topps set is one of the easiest to assemble from the decade due to its small checklist and polarizing design, the Nolan Ryan rookie is usually one of the most difficult hurdles in completing the checklist. This Nolan Ryan card is arguable the best rookie from the 1960s and a true must-own that has been prized by collectors for years.