In 1968, Topps printed a unique booklet called “Tipps from Topps on How to Play Baseball.” It reproduced the playing tipps panels that they printed on 1968 Bazooka baseball boxes. I’ll run down both collectibles in this article.
The 20-page (including the covers) Tipps from Topps booklet has green front and back covers with white and black text.
The table of contents has green and black text on the inside cover, running down the 15 Tipps from Topps panels that they also printed on 1968 Bazooka baseball boxes.
The inside of the back cover, and the page next to it, also with green and black print, share the information about how to order the baseball equipment that the text above the table of contents refers to.
The Ball & Strike Indicator (Product #445) and Sunglasses (Produced #440) are the same items Topps advertised on their 1968 Baseball Wax Pack wrappers. You’ll notice the wax packs and the inside cover of the booklet both advertise the “Famous” MacGregor Baseball gear catalog.
Concerning MacGregor Sporting Goods potentially being the sources of these booklets, the Topps Archives Blog wrote that the “promotional page in the back of the booklet infers the booklet may have been distributed by MacGregor Sporting Goods but that is unconfirmed. MacGregor had a history of offering tips booklets of different sorts through ads in Boys Life magazine so I think this is a fairly solid lead as to the booklet’s origin.”
As you can see on the table of contents pictured above, the inside of the book has 15 pieces of advice on bunting, batting, stealing bases, etc., by 13 different players (Maury Wills was used twice) and one coach (Frank Crosetti of the New York Yankees).
My favorite page in the book has the Willie Mays and Lou Brock panels; they’re two of the six Hall of Famers included in the run.
The booklets have increased in price recently, but there are quite a few listed on eBay for ~$100 right now. A few boxes were found in the late 1970s and distributed between a few collectors, so usually, the booklets are found in excellent condition. Closed, they’re about six by three inches in size, so I store mine in an oversized top loader.
Now let’s jump over to the 1968 Bazooka Baseball boxes. Topps made some changes in 1968 when they ditched the three-player panel that was printed on packages starting in the early 1960s and printed four rectangular cards on the sides of the box. There were 15 panels, with four cards “double printed” to make a tough set of 60 plus the 15-panel set cards called, you guessed it, “Tipps from the Topps.”
In color this time, the panels showed the player’s headshot, position, team, name, and sketches with some “Tipps” on playing the game. The Tipps from Topps concept must not have been super popular at the time as Topps didn’t replicate this format.
PSA has only graded a handful of each of the “Tipps from The Topps” panels: here’s the checklist, and in parentheses are the number of panels PSA has in their Pop Report.
- Maury Wills – Bunting (4)
- Carl Yastrzemski – Batting (9)
- Bert Campaneris – Stealing Bases (4)
- Maury Wills – Sliding (6)
- Julian Javier – Double Play (4)
- Orlando Cepeda – 1st Base (5)
- Bill Mazeroski – 2nd Base (5)
- Brooks Robinson – 3rd Base (9)
- Jim Fregosi – Shortstop (4)
- Joe Torre – Catching (5)
- Jim Lonborg – Pitching (5)
- Mike McCormick – Pitcher’s Fielding (4)
- Frank Crostetti – Coaching (4)
- Willie Mays – Outfield (4)
- Lou Brock – Base Running (4)
Additionally, here are a couple of complete graded boxes I found listed for sale over on eBay, with the listed price:
1968 Bazooka Complete Box #10 – PSA 5 (Tabs Missing) – Joe Torre – $350
1968 Bazooka Complete Box #9 – PSA 1 – Jim Fregosi – $400
1968 Bazooka Complete Box #5 – PSA 6 – Julian Javier – $1150. This box has the Hank Aaron Bazooka baseball card on it.
And in case you were wondering, the Mickey Mantle card came on Panel (Box) #11 with the Jim Lonborg Pitching Tip. And this complete box was sold at a Mile High Card Company auction in June 2018 for $6355.
The Tipps from Topps booklet is a must-have item for collectors of 1968 Bazooka cards/boxes or fans of Topps’ history. Connecting the two is cool for any fan of hobby history. And if the Bazooka boxes weren’t going to cost me $10k, I’d be looking to add them to my collection. For now, I’ll just flip through a couple of pages, happy collecting!