Monday, June 7, 2010

1971 O-Pee-Chee Baseball #5, Thurman Munson

Born on June 7, 1947, and Yankees team captain from 1976 until his accidental death in 1979, Thurman Munson.

Card front

While card photography slipped badly after baseball's expansion in 1969, this card is one of the decade's best. It's got a great action photo, the Topps All-Star Rookie trophy, and one of the 1970s top players. Like Munson, it's the complete package.

New York's fielded many fine catchers over the years, including Bill DickeyYogi Berra, and Elston Howard, but Thurman's the only one to take the captain's role. Munson rewarded this honor with an MVP season in 1976 and proved essential to their 3 straight World Series appearances.

Card back

Canadian card maker O-Pee-Chee (OPC) based this set on Topps' own release, but with a redesigned back that allowed for French text.

1960s OPC checklists typically stopped at two or three hundred cards, but 1971 matched Topps card-for-card at 752 total. Several of its players appear on updated teams, so I assume it came out after Topps started issuing cards in the US. (It also got some extra Expos, to better interest Canadian fans.) Rather than list the changes here, just check out Oh My O-Pee-Chee's 1971 blog posts!

Value: While notably rarer than Topps versions, 1971 OPCs haven't taken off in value. Low-grade Munsons cost $20-$40 in either set.

Fakes / reprints: 2010 Topps includes a reprint of the American Munson in its "Cards Your Mother Threw Out" subset. Not sure if anyone faked the real thing, but it's definitely possible. 1971 OPC came on cheaper, whiter stock than US cards, and use less gloss. Already plagued by chipping black borders, Canadian edges also fray more easily, making it tough to find high-grade examples.


Captain Canuck said...

Thurman is one of the cards I still need for my set.
Which I am never going to finish. Or at least it seems that way sometimes.

Matthew Glidden said...

Hmm, no extras here--wish I could help! That's a hell of a set to build, given the stars and high numbers.

BA Benny said...

That is one of my all time favorite cards. My father never cared a bit for baseball cards but when he saw that one (well the Topps version) he actually liked it. Being a Yankee fan from the late 40's on, Munson was one of his all time favorites with Whitey Ford and Eddie Lopat. Munson is one of my all time favorites as well even though I am a Mets fan.

Matthew Glidden said...

Oh, that's a cool story. Whitey Ford and Munson would be an amazing battery!