With the resurgence of basketball cards recently I thought it was perfect timing to share what is, in my humble opinion, one of the coolest basketball cards ever. Technically these were just inserts in the 1969-1970 Topps set, but the illustrations are priceless. Lets hope that Topps thinks of doing some throwback version of this with current players–especially one featuring Tacko Fall that is yard stick-length [cue canned laughter].
Here’s the lowdown on the rulers inserts via Cardboard Connection:
“The Rulers were an insert in the 1969-70 Topps basketball set, landing one per pack. Due to their size, they were folded three times to fit them into the packs. Fully expanded, they measure 2 1/2 by 9 7/8″.
Although the 1969-70 Topps Rulers Basketball checklist goes up to number 24, there are only 23 cards in the set. Top players include Lew Alcindor, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West. Card #5 was slated to be Bill Russell. However, he retired and the card was canceled.
What’s instantly noticeable about the inserts is the caricatures of the featured players. They’re very different from the usual photos usually used on cards. If you go back to when images were painted, those took a more lifelike approach. If the NBA wanted to make a cartoon back in the day, these are the sorts of designs you might expect. They’re both bright and fun, something that’s backed up with the background colors.
The player’s name and team are noted in an oval that overlaps the image. The ruler also marks the height. 1969-70 Topps Rulers are blank on the back. Because the inserts are printed on thin paper, they can be increasingly brittle.
1969-70 Topps Rulers are somewhat overlooked today. Their non-traditional size may be a turnoff to some. And while not readily available, they can be tracked down with a little work and at reasonable prices given their age.”
1969-70 Topps Rulers Basketball Checklist:
1 Walt Bellamy – Detroit Pistons
2 Jerry West – Los Angeles Lakers
3 Bailey Howell – Boston Celtics
4 Elvin Hayes – San Diego Rockets
6 Bob Rule – Seattle SuperSonics
7 Gail Goodrich – Los Angeles Lakers
8 Jeff Mullins – San Francisco Warriors
9 John Havlicek – Boston Celtics
10 Lew Alcindor – Milwaukee Bucks
11 Wilt Chamberlain – Los Angeles Lakers
12 Nate Thurmond – San Francisco Warriors
13 Hal Greer – Philadelphia 76ers14 Lou Hudson – Atlanta Hawks
15 Jerry Lucas – Cincinnati Royals
16 Dave Bing – Detroit Pistons
17 Walt Frazier – New York Knicks
18 Gus Johnson – Baltimore Bullets
19 Willis Reed – New York Knicks
20 Earl Monroe – Baltimore Bullets
21 Billy Cunningham – Philadelphia 76ers
22 Wes Unseld – Baltimore Bullets
23 Bob Boozer – Chicago Bulls
24 Oscar Robertson – Cincinnati Royals