Among the myriad of sports cards, there’s a unique subset that features not just one, not two, but three iconic players on a single card. These cards capture extraordinary convergences of talent, highlighting team success, legendary individual accomplishments, a bit of hobby history, and family success. In this post, I’ll share ten of the most iconic sports cards that showcase trios of athletes across the four major sports.
1953 Bowman Color #44 Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer, Mickey Mantle
This “Baseball Collector Series” classic is one of the hobby’s early combo cards and features “three great Yankee stars” who “represent a tremendous amount of batting power, plus superior fielding abilities.” It’s a candid image of the three Yankees teammates at the end of the team’s dugout in Yankee Stadium.
1959 Topps #262 Hitters’ Foes Podres, Labine, Drysdale
Pitchers tend not to get the love they deserve in the hobby, and the 17 1959 Topps multi-player cards make up a fantastic subset, so I was compelled to include the 1959 Topps Dodgers Hitters’ Foes card of Johnny Padres, Clem Sabine, and Don Drysdale on this list.
1967 Topps #1 The Champs Frank Robinson, Hank Bauer, Brooks Robinson
Topps has kick-eff a lot of their sets with great cards, and the 1967 Topps “The Champs” card is no exception. It features two MLB Hall of Famers, Frank and Brooks Robinson, and another all-time great, Hank Bauer, who makes another appearance on this list after transitioning to coaching. The back explains that Frank Robinson was the 1966 AL Batting champ who also hit 49 home runs and drove in 122 runs, while Brooks Robinson was a Gold Glove Award winner who hit 23 home runs.
1968 Topps Super Stars #490 Harmon Killebrew, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle
The 1968 Topps Super Stars card is one of the hobby’s most popular multi-player cards and features three of the sport’s all-time greats. The back explains, “This powerful trio has blasted 1462 home runs during their careers in the big leagues!”
1969-1970 Topps Scoring Average Leaders #2 Jerry West, Lew Alcindor, Elvin Hayes
I was hoping to avoid including “leaders cards” on this list, but the 1970 Topps NBA Scoring Leaders card features three of the greatest scorers in NBA history, and the set’s leaders card backs are some of the best in any sports in the hobby.
1971-72 Canadian Bazooka Panels
Hey, if the 1980 Topps baseball card panels count as cards, so do Bazooka boxes, and there have been so many great trios across the bubble gum boxes over the years. But I thought I’d include what are likely the rarest. The hockey panels are so rare that when Robert Edward Auctions, perhaps the premier vintage auction house in the hobby, sold one featuring cards 19, 20, and 21, they wrote that they couldn’t find any examples offered in their past or any past sales. The Bazooka cards are a bit smaller than regular issue cards.
My hockey card knowledge is poor, so if you know of any other trio cards I should have included on this list, let me know in the comments.
1973 Topps #1 All-Time Home Run Leaders Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays
While this is a leaders card, it didn’t feature active players; Topps hit “home run,” leading off their 1973 set with this All-Time Home Run Leaders card with Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays. It’s a tough one to find in good condition, given it’s a card #1, and the back’s black borders show every slight imperfection.
1980 Topps Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson
It’s not every day that you get a rookie card featuring two of a sport’s all-time greats; in this case, those two are joined by another of the sport’s legends. The Larry Bird, Julius Erving, and Magic Johnson 1980 Topps basketball panel is a hobby monster; the pictured copy sold for $522k in August 2022, but that’s nothing; Goldin sold another PSA 10 for $861k the year earlier, nearly at the peak of the hobby boom.
1988 Donruss #625 Ripken Baseball Family
Cal Ripken Jr. is my all-time favorite baseball player, and this card has always been a hobby highlight to me, despite its overproduction, highlighting family. It explains that Ripken Jr. was only the third son in baseball history to be managed by his father, the previous being Connie and his son Earle Mack, and Yogi and his father, Dale Berra. And then Billy joined the Orioles as their second baseman. This card was released the year before his infamous 1989 Fleer card.
1992 Score The Franchise #4 Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, and Carl Yastrzemski
The 1992 Score The Franchise triple player autograph is the GOAT of junk wax era autographs, potentially, of all time. Just 500 signed copies were ever released!
What cards did I miss? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out these three other articles I’ve written highlighting other great multi-player sports cards:
- 10 Great Multi-Player Baseball Rookie Cards
- 12 Cool Multi-Player Signed Sports Cards
- 7 Awesome Mickey Mantle Multi-Player Cards
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