The Walt Frazier Rookie Card and Other Vintage Cards
Walt Frazier Rookie Cards
Walt Frazier is one of the greatest basketball players to ever take the court and a true New York icon. Not only was he great at basketball, but he is also considered one of the coolest athletes in history. When not on the court, Frazier was often found taking in the New York nightlife decked out in designer suits and fur coats. He’s often called by his nickname “Clyde,” instead of Walt, but I’ll mostly stick to Walt for consistency.
When collectors think of Walt Frazier’s rookie card it’s the 1969-70 Topps card that comes to mind. However, there was another Topps issue that year that can reasonably be considered a rookie. Some other early Walt Frazier cards are as cool as Walt himself. In this article, we’ll walk through all cards with a claim to be rookies and some other early Frazier cards.
1969-70 Topps Walt Frazier Card #98
The 1969-70 Topps Walt Frazier rookie card #98 is one of the most desired cards from one of the most unique basketball card sets of all time. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Frazier was an incredible athlete in high school. He was the quarterback for his football team, catcher for his baseball team, and was starting to play basketball. Despite getting multiple scholarship offers to play college football, he decided to go and play basketball for Sothern Illinois University instead. There, he became a two-time Division II All-American.
The New York Knicks drafted Frazier with the 5th overall pick in 1967. He would call New York City (where he won NBA Championships in 1970 and 1973) home for ten seasons before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he finished out the final three years of his career. He started his 13-year NBA career by being named to the All-Rookie team and went on to be named an All-Star and All-Defensive team member several times. The Naismith Hall of Fame inducted Walt “Clyde” Frazier 1987. While any Hall of Fame player’s rookie card is valuable, many other factors make this card even more desirable: Other factors that make this card iconic:
- Signature Shoe Pioneer: You might be surprised to learn that Frazier had the NBA’s first signature shoe long before Nike Air Jordan’s became a worldwide sensation. In 1971 Pump released the “Clyde” sneaker after signing Walt to a licensing deal. This made him the first NBA player to have a shoe named after him, which made him a significant cultural trailblazer for a trend that has only gotten bigger.
- Bigger than Life: Frazier was also known for his charismatic personality, big ties, fancy suits, and cool vibe. Frazier still carries this personality today and attracts attention wherever he goes. There is even a website named Clyde so Fly that chronicles and grades the NBA legend’s amazing suits. Interestingly, Frazier recalls that he was shy growing up and the creation of the “Clyde” persona is what allows his flashy sideshow.
- Broadcasting/Color Commentary Career: Frazier stayed with basketball in his retirement, becoming a color commentator for the Knicks on MSG. He stays in the minds of collectors who never saw him play because of his TV career, thus making his cards even more collectible and valuable.
1969-70 Topps Basketball Set Details
The 1969-70 Topps Basketball set is a classic set that is popular with many collectors due to its great design and a checklist loaded with Hall-of-Fame rookie cards. These cards are called “tallboys” due to their oversized height. The set contains 99 cards and is best known for its inclusion of Frazier and other several rookies such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#25), John Havlicek (#20), Bill Bradley (#43), Dave Bing (#55), Wes Unseld (#56), Willis Reed (#60), Earl Monroe (#80), and Don Nelson (#82).
- Year: 1969-70
- Manufacturer: Topps
- Size: 2 1/5″ x 4 11/16″
- Number of cards: 99
- Checklist (#99)
- Insert Sets
- 1969 Topps Rulers
- 1969 Topps Rulers
1969-70 Topps Walt Frazier Card #98 Details
- Card no: #98 of 99
- Name on card: Walt Frazier
- Height: 6’4”
- Weight: 205
- Years Pro: 2
- Born: 3/29/45- Atlanta, GA
- College: So. Illinois
- Home: New York City
Front of the card
Design: The 1969-70 Topps Basketball set had a very unique design. Walt Frazier’s name is across the top of the card in red lettering with his position underneath in black lettering. Across the bottom is New York in orange lettering with a black outline. Frazier himself has his photo in an oval with a magenta or pink background. He is wearing a white jersey with his name across the front, sitting while holding a basketball. Around the frame on each side are drawn pictures of basketball players.
Shop for the 1969-70 Topps Walt Frazier rookie on eBay (affiliate link), because this is the only Walt Frazier rookie card.
Back of the card
The back of the card has Frazier’s name across the top in red. The number 98 is in white lettering with a blue circle around it. His biofacts are in blue lettering over a white background. There is a red vertical rectangle with a short excerpt about Walt’s All-Star second season. Below that are his 1967-68 season statistics,1968-69 season statistics, and career totals. Below that is a cartoon of a moving truck carrying a basketball over a net. The text reads “Walt is an expert at moving the ball.”
Walt attained All-Star status in the second pro campaign with his 17.5 pt. shooting, brilliant playmaking, and strong defensive play. Ranked 3rd in assists (7.9 avg.) and 7th in field goal shooting (50.5%).1969-70 Topps Walt Frazier #98
Walt Frazier Rookie Card Value
The 1969-70 Walt Frazier rookie card is one of the most valuable basketball cards made in the 1960s. The chart below was pulled from the popular card grading site PSA on 12/06/2021. It shows prices for the Walt Frazier rookie card in various conditions.
Keep in mind that prices fluctuate. While PSA is a great way to find out the value of a card, we recommend going to eBay to see what cards are currently selling for on the world’s most popular auction site. Click here to view current auctions for the 1969-70 Walt Frazier rookie card #98
Other Relevant Walt Frazier Cards
The 1969-70 Topps Walt Frazier rookie card (#98) is the only card in the hobby that is widely considered a Walt Frazier rookie card. However, Topps did issue an insert in the 1969-70 packs that qualifies as an odd rookie. I’ll also cover a few other awesome early Walt Frazier cards that aren’t rookies but still might make nice additions to your collection.
1969-70 Walt Frazier Topps Ruler #17
One 1969-70 Topps ruler was inserted in each pack of 1969-70 Topps Basketball cards. They measure 2 1/2″ x 9 7/8″ and were folded three times to fit in the pack. Walt Frazier was one of 23 cards in the set that also included stars such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and John Havlicek. These rulers are made out of paper and their back is blank. They are pretty rare and it’s hard to find them in high-grade condition because the paper has tended to become brittle over the years. I consider this to be an insert rookie, although oddball rookie would also be a fair designation.
Shop for the 1969 Walt Frazier Ruler on eBay (affiliate link), because it’s a rare and obscure Topps rookie.
1970-71 Topps Walt Frazier #120
The 1970-71 Topps Walt Frazier #120 is Walt Frazier’s 2nd Topps card. The 1970-71 Topps set is another “tallboy” set with cards measuring 2 1/2” by 4 11/16″. The photo on this card is a great close-up photo of a young Frazier in front of a solid blue background. I can’t put into words how much I love the cartoon on the back of this card. It reads “Walt is a mod style dresser.” It’s shows that Frazier’s sense of style was part of his identity from the start of his career.
Shop for the 1970-71 Topps Walt Frazier on eBay (affiliate link)
1970-71 Topps Walt Frazier All-Star #106
The 1970-71 Topps Basketball set had a second Walt Frazier card. This all-star card honors Frazier for making the 1970-71 season All-Star team. The card is primarily yellow on the front and has a cut-out photo of Frazier’s head on an orange magazine. Apparently the magazine is titled “Sport” — very creative, Topps…
The back of the card has a a black and white in-action photo of Walt Frazier driving to the basket.
Shop for the 1970-71 Topps Walt Frazier All-Star on eBay (affiliate link)
1970-71 Topps Walt Frazier Action Poster #1
I don’t want to talk about the two 1970-71 Topps Walt Frazier cards without mentioning his poster that was inserted into packs. Topps included one poster per pack from a set of 24. These folded paper posters are rare because they weren’t usually cared for as a collectible, and because the paper became fragile over time.
Shop for the 1970-71 Topps Walt Frazier Action Poster on eBay (affiliate link)
Walt Frazier’s Legacy
Will “Clyde” Frazier was a great multi-sport athlete in high school, but luckily for Southern Illinois University and the New York Knicks, he decided to play basketball. At Southern Illinois, he was a two-time Division II All-American and in New York, he led the Knicks to NBA championships in 1970 and 1973. Frazier was as cool as he was talented and is looked at as a cultural icon. He signed the NBA’s first signature shoe endorsement deal and was known for his excellent and flashy sense of style off the court.
After Frazier’s 13-year Hall of Fame career ended he remained in the public eye by working as a radio announcer and as a color commentator for New York Knicks games. Here’s are just some of Walt Frazier’s accomplishments:
- NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1968
- 2 time NBA Champion (1970, 1973)
- 7 time NBA All-Star
- 1 time NBA All-Star Game MVP (1975)
- 4 time All-NBA First Team (1969-70, 1971-72, 1983-74, 1974-75)
- 2 time All-NBA Second Team (1970-71, 1972-73)
- 7 time NBA All-Defensive Team
- 1 time Triple-Doubles leader (1968-69)
- No. 10 retired by New York Knicks
- No. 52 retired by Southern Illinois
- Named one of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History
- Named to NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team
- Inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1987
Get Your Walt Frazier Rookie
Do you want to add a 1969-70 Topps Walt Frazier rookie to your collection? If so, we recommend starting your search on eBay – the world’s #1 card trading place. Even if you’re not planning to buy one just yet, it’s fun to look at all the great cards currently for sale.
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All About Walt Frazier Rookies Infographic
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