Friday, October 28, 2011

Third Decade of Topps Baseball, 1970 - 1980

Prior to a looming seventh game of the 2011 World Series, let's wrap up my childhood memories of the 1970s and those waxy packs of Topps cards. The salad days of youth and cardboard!

1970 Topps #5, Wes Parker

Parker might be L.A.'s most underrated first baseman, little-known behind guys like Gil Hodges, Steve Garvey, and Eric Karros. I bet his name comes up about as often as Greg Brock, despite the good hitting and streak of Gold Gloves. Take heart Wes, we remember you!

1971 Topps #5, Thurman Munson

What more is there to say? One of the best-ever cards by Topps.

1972 Topps #5, John Bateman

I love to visit Montreal and am always bummed that they lost their baseball team.

1973 Topps #5, Ed Brinkman

My set profile poked fun at Ed's odd pose here, but it could be worse. It could be raining.

1974 Topps #5, Hank Aaron Special

Funny that 1968 and 1969 Topps used the same photo, but color-balanced it so differently that the bat looks yellow and the background's a green fog. Baseball cards are weird.

1975 Topps #5, Nolan Ryan Highlight

Nolan Ryan (as Rangers owner) is again front-and-center for the 2011 World Series. Given the back-and-forth games, I imagine he wanted to pick up a glove again and brush back some batters on more than one occasion.

1976 Topps #5, Tom Seaver Record Breaker

Pretty sure Seaver can strike anyone out, but that retouched red helmet gives me the willies.

1977 Topps #5, Victory Leaders

Jim Palmer's average season was 17-10 with a sub-3 ERA. You better believe that's a HOFer.

1978 Topps #5, Pete Rose Record Breaker

Little League baseball helmets have earflaps on both sides, so either lefties and righties can use them. As a kid, I assumed switch-hitters like Rose would also use them. Nope. As this picture demonstrates, MLB teams can afford two helmets, one for each side.

1979 Topps #5, Victory Leaders

Trivia: Ron Guidry and Willie Randolph captained the Yankees together from 1986-1988, the only time New York featured team co-captains.

1980 Topps #5, Garry Templeton Highlight

Another switch-hitting highlight! Always respected guys who can hit well from either side. It seems like a superpower.

Any other collectors who started buying packs in the 1970s? If so, what's the first card or player you remember picking up?


night owl said...

First card was 1974 Tommy John. Card #451.

I'm proud to say I have all those #5s, except for Brinkman (although now I'm not sure about the Guidry-Perry. Will have to look in the morning ...)

Matthew Glidden said...

Cool! Might have an extra Brinkman around, too...

Johngy said...

The first card I remember really trying to get was 1973 Rick Stelmaszek, because his wife was our teacher. Sadly, I didn't get that year's card until years later.1