By the spring of 1962, the old refrain of “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke” wasn’t quite what it used to be…or would be.

For one thing, it wasn’t until 1981 that Terry Cashman immortalized the trio in song.

And, for another, the argument around who was the greatest centerfielder in the game no longer belonged to New York alone — the Giants and Dodgers had moved to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, before the 1958 seasons.

And, for another another, Duke Snider had become pretty much a half-time player in his thirties, his legendary power relegated to the bench or locker room much of the time by age an injury.

Thank goodness baseball still had Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays in their primes, albeit on opposite coasts.

As long as Say Hey was gliding through the outfield and smashing home runs and stealing bases …

And so long as the Commerce Comet was winning the battle with his balky knees most nights and challenging Babe Ruth (and Roger Maris) and staking his claim on MVP awards …

Well, the game would be just fine.

Likewise, so long as there was Topps to capitalize on the special moments that only pre-interleague baseball could offer, collectors would have something to chase.

And, so it was that long ago spring when word broke that Willie and Mickey were on one of the wild new 1962 Topps woodgrain cards together.

Managers’ Dream, Topps called it, and who could argue with them?

Here is that glorious card #18 that greeted a young hobby in first-series wax packs:

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What skipper wouldn’t want the dilemma of deciding which of Mays or Mantle to start in the center on any given afternoon?

And, who wouldn’t take the rest of that “lineup” backing up the two headliners?

That’s pretty clearly Hank Aaron standing over there beyond Mays’ left shoulder, and next to him stands …

Well, the mind wants to jump to Ernie Banks, thanks to the blue helmet and uniform accents, and the All-Star feel of the moment.

But Mr. Cub wore number 14, not number 8.

No, that’s Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, an unheralded star who took over receiving duties full time after Roy Campanella’s car accident prior to the 1958 season.

The 1961 All-Star record bears that out, too, as Roseboro was selected to both AS Games in ‘61.

You know who else made two All-Star appearances in 1961?

Yankees catcher Elston Howard, who’s the most likely fifth Dream Hitter (the original “DH”?) over there to our left.

Of course, this card was all about the to headliners, as evidenced by Topps copy on the reverse:

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Only Mickey Mantle, I suppose, could hit a “scourging” .353. Hmmm.

Anyway …

All these years later, it’s still Willie and Mickey who drive this beauty to four-figure price tags — and beyond! — once you reach the upper echelon of graded specimens.

But, even for a manager — or collector — lucky enough to write in a couple of superstar names every day, it’s nice to have a strong “supporting” cast.

Some might even say it’s a Dream.

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Managers’ Dream has been a collector favorite for decades, so it’s no wonder it made the list of top eBay sales of PSA-graded cards during January of 2022. Check out the full list on our YouTube rundown:

1962 Topps singles *Free Shipping* updated 3/17/24

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1962 Topps Football - Pick A Card - Set Break

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