1954 marked the first year that the city of St. Louis only had one major league baseball team, with the Browns moving to Baltimore and becoming the Orioles. The Cardinals had finished in 3rd place the previous three seasons, but with the town to themselves, they fell to 6th place in 1954. Before the season, they traded away a hall-of-famer to the Yankees, Enos Slaughter, but replaced him with the 1954 NL Rookie of the Year, Wally Moon. They also picked up shortstop Alex Grammas from the Reds. Stan Musial was the offensive leader on this team, leading the team in all of the triple crown categories. He led the team in home runs, nearly doubling the 2nd best home run hitter, Rip Repulski 35 to 19. Harvey Haddix leading the pitching staff, leading the team in wins and strikeouts.
Starter and Hall-of-Fame/All-Star Scores
Exclusive players to a set are in italics
Topps Regulars (11): Bill Sarni, Ray Jablonski, Alex Grammas, Rip Repulski, Wally Moon, Solly Hemus, Harvey Haddix, Tom Poholsky, Stu Miller, Joe Presko, Cot Deal
Bowman Regulars (8): Red Schoendienst, Rip Repulski, Solly Hemus, Vic Raschi (shown with Yankees), Al Brazle, Jerry Staley, Stu Miller, Joe Presko
Topps All-Stars & Hall-of-Famers (2): Ray Jablonski, Harvey Haddix
Bowman All-Stars & Hall-of-Famers (1): Red Schoendienst
The Cardinals give an advantage to Topps. The only key player on a card in 1954 missing in the Topps set is hall-of-famer Red Schoendiest. There are actually several regulars who are missing in both sets: 1st baseman Joe Cunningham, 1st baseman Tom Alston, pitchers Brook Lawrence, Gordon Jones, Royce Lint, and Ralph Beard. Also missing in both of these sets of course is the biggest Cardinal omission of all...Stan Musial. But you could get a 1954 card of Stan Musial, you just had to look at the Red Heart set in 1954. More on that set below.
The Red Heart set consisted of 33 cards. They were distributed nationally with dog food. Yes dog food, although, this isn't the only time I have seen this happen. I am covering 1984 (well at least slowly), and there was a 33 card set distributed with dog food by Ralston Purina. I specifically remember getting those cards in bags of dog food. Anyway, to see the complete set of 1954 Red Heart cards, check out this website which has a scan of all 33 cards in the set.
This, of course is the only set to get a Stan Musial card in 1954. Supposedly, the big guns (Topps and Bowman) didn't pay him what he thought he was worth, but Red Heart had no problem. They also had a Mickey Mantle card in the set. How these cards were obtained was by sending in labels of dog food to get one set of 11 cards. This explains why the cards have three different background colors (blue, green, red). Rumour has it that these cards may have been available to order as late as the 1970s.