Steve Carlton, arguably baseball's greatest lefty, won 241 games over 15 seasons for the Phillies. I thought he'd easily outdistance anyone else in franchise history, but it barely edges 1950s ace Robin Roberts by 7 wins. They also own nearly identical career ERA+ marks, at 115 for Carlton and 113 for Roberts. Of course, Lefty struck out almost 2000 more batters and won 4 Cy Young awards in Philly, so edge to him.
This card's crazy edging reminds me how many unusual issues Topps churned out in the 1960s and 70s. Stickers, stamps, stand-ups, "supers," rub-ons, posters, deckles, tattoos, and plastic busts all got their turn in a wax wrapper. At almost 3" x 5", 1974 Deckles hold the title of "biggest Topps card in the disco era."
This 72-card, black-and-white set closely resembles collector postcards popular in Hollywood's golden era. Tying together the blue autograph, handwritten bio, and "torn" newspaper makes it look like a scrapbook page, which plenty of kids still put together. (This excellent Exhibit gallery includes lots of vintage cards in that style.)
While considered a regional test issue, deckles come in 3 print variations.
- Grey backs
- White backs, apparently rarer than grey
- Straight-edge proofs, which probably were never packaged
My #5 scan is the white back.
Value: This Carlton cost me $59 on eBay. It's low-grade due to the missing paper on the back, but shows up so rarely I was willing to overpay the book value. Common players in this condition cost $5 to $15.
Fakes / Reprints: Haven't seen anyone reprint a deckle edge card. It would take special cutting tools and a lot of collector demand to make it worthwhile. Fortunately, I doubt that much interest exists.