CGC Cards Certifies High-grade 1951 Whitey Ford Rookie Card

Posted on 1/19/2024

The recently submitted card of the iconic New York Yankees pitcher now has a commanding lead among the 23 examples in the CGC Cards Population Report.

Once again, CGC Cards™ has been entrusted to certify a high-grade rookie card, this one of New York Yankees legend Whitey Ford. CGC Cards' grading experts authenticated a 1951 Bowman #1 Whitey Ford and graded it CGC 8.

Part of the classic 1951 Bowman set, the rookie card of the Hall of Fame pitcher is hard to find in this grade today, with examples fetching five figures on the rare occasions they have been offered at auction.

Click images to enlarge.

The 1951 Bowman set is a classic and attractive series filled with several Hall of Famers, which makes numerous cards from it highly sought after by collectors. Three rookie cards stood out in the set: Ford, his teammate and fellow Yankees icon Mickey Mantle and New York/San Francisco Giants legend Willie Mays.

However, as prominent as Mantle and Mays are within baseball, Ford was the player who received the distinction of having his rookie card selected as the #1 slot in the series. The selection did have an unintended adverse effect on many of Ford's cards from the set though. Since the first and last card in the 324-card 1951 Bowman set were subjected to more handling, they were more susceptible to damage compared to the other cards in the series, making higher-grade copies scarce.

Other cards in the set include Hall of Famers such as Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Warren Spahn and Ted Williams. Each card front features an artistic rendering of a press photograph from each player and a simple name caption, resulting in a colorful and beautiful series that is still coveted in the hobby to this day.

Nicknamed the "Chairman of the Board," Ford played his entire 16-year MLB career with the New York Yankees. After signing with the Yanks in 1947, the young pitcher made his pro debut on July 1, 1950. He took leave of his team over the next two seasons, serving in the United States Army during the Korean War, before returning for the 1953 season. Upon his return, Ford blossomed into one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation.

He went on to set numerous World Series pitching records, including games started (22), innings pitched (146), wins (10), consecutive scoreless innings (33⅔) and strikeouts (94). Ford won six World Series titles with the legendary Yankees teams of the 1950s and 1960s. He was also a 10-time All-Star, Cy Young award winner, World Series MVP, two-time MLB ERA leader and three-time AL wins leader. The Yankees retired Ford's No. 16 jersey number in 1974, and he was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame the same year.

This card leads the 23 examples in the CGC Cards Population Report, with a grade three points higher than its closest competitors. In all, CGC has certified over 500 cards from the Bowman set. None has been seen more often in the Grading Room than the Whitey Ford, a strong indicator of its enduring value to the hobby.

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