BASEBALL CARDS 1966 HANK AARON

In 1966, Hank Aaron continued his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record of 714 home runs. Aaron entered the 1966 season with 573 career home runs, just 141 shy of Ruth’s mark. Baseball card manufacturers knew Aaron’s chase for the home run crown would be one of the biggest sports stories of the year. As a result, Aaron’s 1966 baseball cards received special attention and are among the most sought after and valuable from that era.

Topps was the dominant baseball card company in 1966 and they produced multiple Hank Aaron cards that year. Aaron’s main issue card was part of Topps’ flagship 1966 set, which featured 660 total cards. On his standard issue card, Aaron is shown batting from the left side of the plate while wearing a Braves home white uniform with red trim. The photo captures Aaron in his classic smooth, compact right-handed swing. The 1966 design frames each player’s photo with a simple white border. Aaron’s vital stats, including his career home run and RBI totals through 1965, are listed directly below the photo.

In addition to his base issue card, Topps also included Aaron in several promotional and high-number subsets in 1966. He was featured on the cards “Home Run Leaders” (#660), “All-Time Home Run Leaders” (#661), and “Career RBI Leaders” (#662). These special cards highlighted Aaron’s place among the game’s all-time offensive giants as he closed in on Ruth’s hallowed home run record. Aaron’s high-number cards are considerably rarer and more valuable than his standard issue card due to the much lower print runs of the promotional subsets.

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Another coveted Aaron issue from 1966 Topps was the “Mini Cards” promotional subset. These postcard-sized cards were inserted randomly in wax packs instead of the standard baseball cards. The mini cards featured the same front design and photo as the standard issue but were approximately half the size. Aaron’s mini card captures the excitement of his record chase in a unique compact format. Like the high-number cards, Aaron’s mini is quite scarce and holds substantial value for collectors.

While Topps was the main producer, other companies also tried to capitalize on Aaron’s pursuit of the home run record in 1966. Fleer released sets in both 1965 and 1966, but they were produced in much lower numbers than Topps. Aaron’s Fleer cards tend to be more valuable as a result of their relative scarcity. His 1966 Fleer card shows Aaron from a similar angle as his Topps issue, but with a light blue and white color scheme instead of the typical red border used by Topps.

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The Cincinnati-based Sweet Caporal cigarette company issued regional baseball cards as promotions in the mid-1960s as well. Their 1966 Aaron card is quite rare, only distributed locally in the Midwest and parts of the South near Cincinnati. The design differs significantly from Topps or Fleer, with Aaron depicted in a color action photo swinging from the left side. While not widely distributed, Aaron’s Sweet Caporal card holds cachet for serious collectors due to its extremely limited production and regional-only distribution.

By the end of the 1966 season, Aaron had hit 40 home runs to boost his career total to 573. He was now just 141 homers shy of Ruth’s record with the 1967 season looming. Card manufacturers recognized fans’ intense interest in Aaron’s pursuit and produced special high-number cards to chronicle his progress. His 1966 issues, particularly the rare and unique parallel releases from companies like Fleer and Sweet Caporal, are highly-coveted pieces for collectors today. They represent a pivotal time when Aaron was on the cusp of baseball immortality by surpassing the Babe. Aaron would go on to break Ruth’s record in 1974 amidst intense national attention, cementing his place as one of the game’s all-time greats. His 1966 cards foretold this achievement and remain a treasured part of baseball history.

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In summary, Hank Aaron’s 1966 baseball cards hold special historical significance as products of the time when he was closing in on the most cherished record in American sports. Topps led the way with prominent standard and short print issues that highlighted Aaron’s home run and RBI stats. Other companies like Fleer and Sweet Caporal also recognized Aaron’s impending greatness with their own scarce regional releases. For dedicated collectors, Aaron’s 1966 cards serve as tangible remnants of the build up to one of baseball’s most iconic moments. Their rarity, condition, and connection to Aaron’s pursuit of Babe Ruth make them highly valued today.

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