Learn All About the Willie Mays Rookie Cards

By: Marty Beets

Willie Mays is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time.  He is one of only a few players to hit 500 home runs, 3,000 hits while maintaining a career batting average above .300.

His rookie and early cards are some of the most valuable cards in the collecting hobby. Let's take a look at some of these vintage Willie Mays cards:

1952 Topps

Card #261

This is one of the most sought-after cards in the hobby. It's the most valuable Willie Mays rookie card.

The 1952 Topps Willie Mays rookie is his most valuable card even though it was made a year after his Bowman rookie. The 1952 Topps set is regard as one of the greatest ever made.

1951 Bowman 

Card #305

This is another iconic Willie Mays rookie. It is also one of the most sought after cards in the trading card hobby. It is the first Willie Mays rookie card.

The 1951 Bowman Willie Mays card was issued one year before the 1952 Topps, making it the first Mays rookie.  Although it's not as valuable as the 1952 Topps, it's still an iconic baseball card.

1952 Berk Ross

The 1952 Berk Ross was part of a 72-card set. It is considered an oddball rookie card.

The 1952 Berk Ross “Hit Parade of Champions” Willie Mays card features a very basic design.  This set was heavily focused on New York teams and contained a lot of Giants, Dodgers and Yankees players.

1952 Red Man 

cards ##NL15

This Willie Mays card was included in Red Man tobacco packets.  It is considered an oddball rookie card.

There was a 1/2″ tab on the bottom of each card that could be redeemed to get a free Red Man baseball cap.  If the tab is still attached, they are more difficult to find and more valuable.

 Willie Mays rookies 

1951 Bowman Universally considered a rookie

1952 Topps Sometimes conidered a rookie

1952 Berk Ross Considered an oddball rookie

1952 Red Man Considered an oddball rookie