Stan Musial (1920-2013) is a Cardinals legend who is widely seen as one of the game’s greatest hitters.
All the more impressive, having returned to baseball in 1946 after a two-year stint with the navy during WWII, Musial won a second MVP award after batting .365 as the Cardinals captured their third World Series championship in five years.
Musial retired as the all-time National League leader in runs, hits, doubles, and RBIs. He was named an NL All-Star in 20 of his 22 seasons and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
Here’s a roundup with a trio of the best Stan Musial rookie cards, looking at the greatest vintage post-war options.
The Best Stan Musial Rookie Cards
He quickly worked his way up through the Cardinals’ minor league system and made his major league debut in 1941. However, collectors would have to wait until 1947 for Stan Musial rookie cards to be mass-produced.
3. 1947 Bond Bread Stan Musial (eBay)
The 1947 Bond Bread baseball set consists of 33 cards and comes in at 3-1/16” x 4-3/4”. Musial is pictured in an action shot in this landscape card, which is accompanied by the player’s facsimile signature at the bottom.
A bone of contention derives from their origin, since the images were reused for multiple sets throughout the 1940’s and the 1950’s.
For example, the ‘47 Bond Bread should have die-cut rounded corners, and white backs. The difficulty with judging legitimacy caused PSA to stop grading the set entirely.
(If you do own a copy, SGC should be able to grade the 1947 Bond Bread Stan Musial card with no issues.)
2. 1948-49 Leaf Stan Musial RC #4 (eBay)
1948-49 Leaf is a vintage post-war set that was cutting-edge at the time. It’s easy to see why, as the set infused color into collectible baseball cards, while adding smaller upgrades like the name tag seen at the bottom. Measuring 2-3/8″ by 2-7/8″, they also feature the player’s biographical info and a brief write-up.
It was the first post-World War II set to feature color pictures, after restrictions on supplies like ink and cardboard were eased. Higher grades will feature deeper colors and sharper corners, while centering is often an issue for older cards as they were sometimes printed off-kilter.
There’s also a premium Babe Ruth card contained in the set, with the duo anchoring the famous collection.
1. 1948 Bowman Stan Musial RC #36 (eBay)
Compare the colorful Leaf card to the standard 1948 Bowman release.
Of course, there’s no denying that 1948 Bowman Baseball is a massively important set within the hobby.
It was the first ever Bowman collection focusing solely on the sport, while it features a number of key rookie cards from the era, including the likes of Yogi Berra and Stan Musial.
The cards are smaller than modern options, using simple black and white images of the best players from the era.
Once again, this card is often prefered to the earlier 1947 Homogenized Bond Bread Stan Musial release, mostly due to brand recognition.
It’s worth noting that Musial refused to be featured on Topps cards until 1958. There aren’t as many vintage cards featuring the player.
Stan Musial Rookie: Buyers Guide
What do we think of the trio of Stan Musial rookie cards released during the latter stages of the 1940s?
Graded vintage options tend to be a safe bet, but they don’t come cheap. The same is true if you’re looking at ungraded Musial RCs, no matter what condition they’re in.
The ‘best’ Stan Musial card is either the 1948 Leaf or the 1948 Bowman. They’re both an important part of baseball history, and feature a legendary Hall of Famers’ rookie card.
Stan Musial Rookie Cards: Buying/Selling Advice
One of the safer investments when looking at vintage baseball cards, Stan Musial RCs are currently exceeding their suggested PSA prices.
We expect them to continue to rise in the foreseeable future. The same is true for any vintage RC featuring one of the best players from an era steeped in nostalgia.