Quick! Think of your favorite Roger Maris baseball card. Now, picture his face on that card.

1962 Topps Roger Maris (#1)Got it?

If you’ve picked any of the biggie Maris issues, like his 1958 Topps rookie cards or his 1962 Topps classic follow-through, your mood has just dropped down a couple of notches.

Maris is notorious for looking despondent at best and sometimes flat-out miserable throughout his career, and most of his baseball cards reflect that idea.

Heck, he seems to have aged 20 years and contracted a nasty stomach bug on his 1965 Topps card.

Believe it or not, though Maris did smile during his baseball career, and that twinkle very occasionally made it to a pasteboard.

1965 Topps Roger Maris (#155)It almost, but not quite happened on his 1967 Topps card, for instance.

So where can you find a grinning Maris for your plastic sheet collection?

You need look no further than your (metaphorical) cupboard.

Breakfast of the (Home Run) Champions!

While Topps was busy doing whatever the heck they wanted as the mothership of the hobby and monopoly-holder extraordinaire during the 1950s and 1960s, other companies were nibbling around the collecting edges.

Fleer wooed Ted Williams into an exclusive deal and issued sets of old-time baseball greats (Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, etc.), for example.

1961 Post Roger Maris (#7)But kids had to convince their parents to pony up for packs of Topps or Fleer, or find a way to earn their own money. Closer to home, there was a more economical alternative — food cards.

In particular, Post Cereal issued cards of active players on boxes of their breakfast goodies from 1961-63. The cards themselves were not artistic masterpieces, featuring a small player photo, some biographical information, and a block of stats.

The Post cards were blank-backed because the backs were inside the cereal boxes and the fronts were on the outside of the boxes. As you might imagine, plenty of the pasteboards arrived on breakfast tables scuffed, creased, and even torn.

It was tough to get Mom to fish through all the boxes at the store to find the player you wanted and to make sure he was in prime condition.

What wasn’t so tough, though, was finding new images of your favorite stars, and the sheer variety must have made Post cards a favorite for Little Leaguers across the nation.

I mean, where else could you find Roger Maris smiling?

Certainly not on his 1961 Topps card … or his 1962 Topps card … or his 1963 Topps card.

But take a gander at his 1961 Post card, and you see a Yankee-clad Roger with a genuine grin.

The 1962 Post Roger Maris card featured the same photo. You’d think the new home run king would have warranted a new image, but at least Maris was still smiling.

1963 Post Roger Maris (#16)And then, in 1963, Roger was more or less beaming. More teeth, squintier eyes — a happier man, by all appearances.

Collectors accustomed to Maris’s far-off gaze and flat expression may not have even recognized the slugger when they sat down at the breakfast table during that three-year run!

There’s Always Room for S-M-I-L-E-S?

But Smiling Roger wasn’t confined to just breakfast tables in the United States.

For one thing, General Foods also included the cards on boxes of their Post cereal in Canada during the summer of 1962, complete with both French and English text.

For another, they also included their cards on boxes of Jell-O pudding in both 1962 and 1963. There were slight differences in card design between the two brands, as the 1962 Jell-O cards lacked the prominent “Post” logo and the 1963 Jell-Os were slightly smaller than their Post counterparts.

These days, the main difference lies in the scarcity and pricing of the cards on the secondary market. You can see the first hints in the PSA Population Report, which shows that, while more than 6000 Post cards from 1962 have been submitted for grading, fewer than 300 Jell-O and 800 Post Canadian pasteboards have b1962 Post Canadian Roger Maris (#6)een slabbed.

The numbers are a bit more even for 1963, where PSA has graded about 3600 Post specimens, compared to around 1900 Jell-O cards.

These relative populations are more or less reflected in prices for the Roger Maris cards from the respective sets.

Browsing sales prices on eBay paint the picture:

So you can drop a pretty dime on these oddball Maris cards if you’re into high-end, investment-grade collectibles.

Or you can opt for a more affordable version for just a few bucks.

1962 Jell-O Pudding Roger Maris Box (#6)Either way, if you’ve been longing to  see the happy face of our long-time single-season home run king on a slab of cardboard, these Roger Maris baseball cards are sure to make you smile.

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