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Old 05-05-2012, 10:16 AM
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toppcat toppcat is online now
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Default Dating Topps Hocus Focus To 1955

I was doing a little research on the Topps Hocus Focus cards this week and think I have finally managed to figure out their year of issue. Almost every hobby reference or article I have ever seen refers to the smaller of the two sizes issued as a 1955 and the larger (smaller and larger being relative terms) as a 1956. Based upon the player selection in the Baseball Stars subsets (23 cards in the small version, 18 in the large) it is obvious both came out in 1955.

Each Baseball Stars subset includes at least one player form each major league time at the time. In addition, two players printed in both sizes had team changes and these really help to pinpoint the year. Ed Lopat started the year pitching for the New York Yankees but was traded to Baltimore on July 30, 1955. He would end his career for the Orioles, who released him on October 10th. He is shown in both sets as a Yankee.

Boston and Kansas City were the only two teams with two players in the "large" set, so Lopat was the only Bronx Bomber present. He dates the set at 1955, as does the inclusion of Johnny Schmitz.

Johnny is clearly a Senator in the "small" set and Washington traded him to Boston after the 1955 season. In addition, he indeed led the Senators staff with a 2.91 ERA in 1954, which answers the quiz question on the back of his card. Based on Lopat and Schmitz, I am dating both Hocus Focus sets as 1955 issues.

The other thing I am learning is that the first 96 cards in each set are identical, except for size and subset numbering. All 96 seem to share the same photo, text and card number, although not all small cards are confirmed yet in this run but each one that is matches the corresponding large numbering. I am still working on the length of the small set but it's well above #96.

All Hocus Focus cards have the set name on the back. The 1948-49 Magic Photos do not. I have some details here:
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