Category Archives: 1975 Topps

Mail Call: 2017 Opening Day

Opening Day is about starting fresh. For me that means catching up, which starts with writing.

And the first thing I needed to write about is a very generous card care package from Fuji. Queue Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show thank you writing music…

First up is Johnny Bench from the 2010 Topps Vintage Legends set (I don’t know why 2002 Topps is printed on the card). I have a card from this set because it’s a 1975 look-alike with Babe Ruth.

2010 VLC Johnny Bench  2010 VLC Babe Ruth

The Bench card has a familiar photo. It was also used in the 2011 Topps Lineage Mini set. I’m looking for his mini card so if anyone has one to trade then, you know, get in touch.

The backs tell us how these players would rank against future players. Apparently good enough to keep the legend status intact.

I also have a couple 1991 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes cards, but hadn’t seen this one:

This went right in the 1975 theme folder. The back tells us Joe was so awesome in 1975 that he was named MVP. Then he did it again in 1976. There’s also mention of Ernie Banks as the only other NL player with back-to-back MVP years.

I like Then & Now cards. And I also like the Father & Son sets. Here’s one of Tony Perez and son Eduardo:

In 1982, Topps produced parallel cards for the Reds and Red Sox team sets. The packs had 3 player cards plus a team “header card” with the team name and a Topps ad on the back. The Oddball Collector’s complete write-up covers other differences between the base and Coca-Cola sets.

Fuji included a couple of these Coke cards. Here Dave Concepcion and Dan Driessen are next to their younger 1975 selves:

The signatures are similar, but a little different. What else is different? You’ve got caps vs. batting helmets. Dan moved to first base by 1982. Topps added their logo. There’s the Coke logo, which I like. The Red Sox version also included a Bringham’s logo. It starts to look like Times Square with all the branding.

The 1982 base set has a green back, but the Coke versions are red, which works much better for a Reds or Red Sox theme.

Speaking of themes, are you sensing one yet? The package was full of Reds and Red Sox players and logo stickers.

Who doesn’t like stickers? First up are three Fleer Cloth Patches. Are these stickers or patches or both? I don’t know. They were made between the late 60’s and mid-70’s.

The Fleer Sticker Project blog is my go to for Fleer Sticker info. There’s a post about the Reds patches, where I learned there are at least 3 variations of this one:

The other two patches were coming off the backing paper:

That was fine because unlike cards, stickers are meant to be stuck on things. These didn’t stick, but that’s ok because they slid in the binders:

Reds Sticker on Binder

 

The rest of the stickers might also go on a binder — ones like this one from the 2001 Opening Day Set (Topps first foray into baseball card stickers):

Then there’s this 1989 Fleer sticker:


It has some historical information on the back. I’m not familiar with 1980’s Red Sox history, so had to check on the Joe Morgan reference. It’s not that Joe Morgan from the Reds.

And it wasn’t just logos, but also uniforms:

Here’s the last sticker, a 1991 Upper Deck Reds Hologram. It’s a super cool cross between the Reds logo and Ghostbusters:

There were a few more cards, but I need to wrap this up. Thanks Fuji for the cards and your most excellent attitude. You’re the best!

1975 Topps Military Service for Veteran’s Day

This is a 1975 Topps-style tribute to the service men and women who’ve served to protect all of us.

On this Veteran’s Day, I’m sharing five cards from the set that pay homage to ballplayers’ military service. I like that Topps included those stats on the card backs.

Garry Maddox – Card No. 240

1975 2401975 240b

Garry served two years in the United States Army from 1969 to 1970 in Vietnam.

 

Al Bumbry – Card No. 358

1975 3581975 358b

Al also served in the United States Army. He led a platoon in Vietnam and was awarded a Bronze Star.

 

Dave Goltz – Card No. 419

1975 419 1975 419b

Dave served in the Army Reserve when called to duty in 1969 to be a helicopter mechanic.

 

Ed Figueroa – Card No. 476

1975 476 1975 476b

Ed joined the United States Marine Corps and did a tour in Vietnam in the 1969 season.

 

Jerry Terrell – Card No. 654

1975 6541975 654b

Jerry served in Vietnam in 1969.

 

There are other players from the set who weren’t acknowledged on the ’75 cards primarily because they who served but before they started playing in the majors. These included Bill Campbell, who “saw combat duty in Viet Nam as a radio operator” according to the back of his 1980 Topps card; Jim Bibby, a truck driver in Vietnam; plus others like Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan who served in the Reserves.

Their contributions like the countless non-ballplayers are in our thoughts today.

1975 Baseball’s Six Degrees of Separation Fuji Style

Fuji of The Chronicles of Fuji, threw down a challenge / contest with a post at the start of February. It’s a great idea – connect a player to another through cards by way of the six degrees of separation concept.

It’s been a tough month to find time to post but I was able to eke this out. So here’s my take on Fuji’s idea – a card journey that starts with 1975 Topps.

I start with Card #1 of 1975 Topps: Hank Aaron’s landmark setting record documented on a card. It’s the first place I’d start for many reasons. It had meaning not only for baseball but also for social reasons. Plus the event and the trying time leading up to it speaks to Hank Aaron’s character.

19 1975 001.png

The first connection is to Al Downing, the pitcher that Aaron hit his 715th record setting home run.

1975 498

Tom House is the guy who caught the ball – here’s his recollection about it. House was born in Seattle Washington and coincidentally he also made his last MLB appearance with the Seattle Mariners. House gave the ball back to Aaron, his Atlanta Braves team mate (there were players positioned in the stands to catch it).

1975 525

After retiring House coached for the San Diego Padres, the team that Dave Winfield started playing on in the majors. And out of all the players in the 1975 Topps set – Winfield’s the one who played the longest, retiring in 1995. Nobody from the set lasted until 1995.

1993 UD TN09

George Brett also started his MLB career in 1973. Here’s a young and older Brett. He played for one team during his whole career. He retired on October 3, 1993.

1993 Pinnacle 294 George Brett

And tying it back to 1975 Topps, Robin Yount retired on the same exact date that George Brett retired. Like Brett, he also played on one team, his entire career, the Milwaukee Brewers. He was the final 1975 Topps player (that was also Hank Aaron’s teammate) to retire.

1975 223

2015 Topps Mini Parallel Set Celebrates 40th Anniversary of 1975 Minis

2015 Topps Mini with 1975

I’ve been wondering how Topps was going to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1975 mini release. This past week we got the answer: a complete mini set of the 2015 Series 1 & 2 cards. But the icing on the cake is 11 parallels and 10 cards with a 1975 design.

I’m a 1975 collector. I’ll get into modern cards if they have players from the 1975 set on a 1975 style card. But the anniversary of the minis and my getting back into collecting this last year means this set’s my Christmas gift.

I don’t know how the parallel split will work out. Based on the description, Topps will put a total of 700 gold, 3500 red, and 7000 black parallels in the packs (11,200 cards). There are “Less than 1,000 boxes available” so I don’t know if there are really 700 boxes and everyone gets a gold or if there’s a random split where one person gets all reds and another gets multiple golds. I’d rather get a guaranteed gold, but I guess that’s part of the gamble.

This is one of Topps’ online exclusives at $100 for the box. At first I thought they might sell out quickly, but noticed that the Topps Legacy parallel (also $100) was still around so figured it could take a while. And almost a week later this mini set is still available today.

I got curious about the dynamics of how these sets show up on the resale market because I thought about selling the base cards as team sets (though I’m still undecided). I’m most interested in the 1975 cards and didn’t want to get into bidding wars or pay a lot for 10 cards. Plus I’ve never opened a pack with parallels, so that’s a bonus experience and they may be interesting to keep.

But a truth I’ve discovered with card collecting is that if you have an idea, it’s almost certain a bunch of other people do too. The box breakers are already out in full force.

The angles to reselling these are: full base set without the subset or parallels, team sets, individual inserts, and select base rookies. No surprisingly, there’s a lot more eBay resale action with the minis than Legacy, which doesn’t have the parallels or subset. So maybe the minis will sell out faster on the Topps site.

I’m not one of those people obsessed about card values. And that’ll make it interesting to see the process of the cards finding their value without having any angst about it. I haven’t paid attention to this before.

On that note, what do the eBay tea leaves tell us today?

  • A base set without the inserts have sold for $49
  • Team sets sold from $3 (for the Reds) to $25 (for the Dodgers)
  • Mike Trout and Kris Bryant 1975 subset cards are the most popular (Trout has a wide range from $6 to one that’s bidding for $20, which is part of it finding its value)
  • The blacks (x/10) and reds (x/5) have sold in the teens to the $20’s and the golds for $30+
  • The 1975 subset of 10 cards have sold for $30 to $50
  • If you’re buying the set to get a Kris Bryant Gold, it’s gone (with an attempt to sell it for $999)

I can’t wait to see what parallels I get…

2015 Topps Highlight of the Year: 1975

I’m always looking for cards that commemorate 1975. So when I saw a card from this year’s Topps Highlight of the Year subset, I immediately checked and found a 1975 highlight on COMC.

There are 30 cards in the subset. The odds are 1:4 packs, so they’re not rare, which is fine since it translates into a card that’s less than a buck.

The 1975 card celebrates Willie McCovey’s third Career Pinch Grand Slam. McCovey is still tied for that record with four other players (two in each league). Plus he’s still the National League Grand Slam holder (and tied for 5 overall).

2015 H-18 2015 H-18b

I like the card. It’s got a gritty feel to it. And does the photo look familiar? Topps lifted it from the 1975 Topps Set. I like the tribute and tie-in to my favorite set:

1975 450

By the way, COMC is the best source I’ve found for modern cards because you’ll usually find the best prices and you can combine shipping from many sellers. And equally important is the fantastic support they provide. With eBay sellers, I’ve had mostly positive experiences, but some were lemons. But with COMC, every person has been friendly and every order has been great.

Currently their standard shipments include the scratch-off card below (until they run out). So if you’re about to have cards shipped to you, this is what you’ll get:

Misc COMC

Mail Call: 75s in the 90s

I like seeing how players from the 1975 Topps set show up in other years. And that’s what you’ll find in this post.

I need to start with a classic Bill Buckner card. In Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Mookie Wilson hit a ball that slipped past Buckner’s legs. The Red Sox eventually lost the series and he was blamed (but nobody really knows the outcome even if he made the play). The whole thing was over in 40 seconds. But four years later, Upper Deck didn’t forget and they poked fun of it in the 1990 set.

Even today the first thing a search for Bill Buckner World Series pops up is a YouTube video of the event. As time passed and the Red Sox won multiple World Series, most everyone including Bill got over it. He even appeared in a 2011 Curb Your Enthusiasm episode that joked about the incident.

So yeah, the card’s an oddball equivalent of a stand-up joke, but it also reminds me of perseverance and that’s why I like it. Winning is great but dealing with adversity really tests a person. How many people could’ve dealt with making a similar public mistake?

Cards and baseball are sometimes about more than just cards and baseball.

1990 UD 252 1975 244
Buckner’s oddball vs. the real Buckner in 1975

There are other Upper Deck oddballs. Some are a bit mysterious. Why are those footballs there, Jim? What’s Frank doing with the Laundry detergent bucket?

1989 UD 331b 1989 UD 391

Some players don’t make it past a year in the majors. And 15 years is impressive for any line of work, let alone playing in the majors. Players from 1975 with the stamina to play into the 90s (like Buckner) quickly dwindle. In 1988, only 35 were still playing and 3 years later there were less than half – Dave Winfield was one of those still in the game:

1975 61 1992 UD 222

I like how these cards contrast

A lot of junk wax era cards are just junk. I didn’t collect back then and missed most of it so Bru’s cards were an eye opener. Many of these Upper Deck cards are examples of when photography and design are both excellent. The results can be spectacular even if the cards were overproduced. They include great action shots:

1990 UD 777b

Fans are much closer to the action

But just because you can take stop-action photos doesn’t mean you should use them all. Like bad family photos, we just don’t need to see 1989 Upper Deck Charlie Hough’s weird facial expression. I had to pull 1975 Topps Charlie to make it better…

1989 UD 437 1975 071

I haven’t owned a single DonRuss card and wasn’t seeking them out. Bru sent some and I won’t turn down any card with 1975 players. The photos in the 1990 DonRuss set are mostly mediocre. But I really like this Griffey – the photo’s good and the color fits in with his uniform. Even the cheesy paint speckles seem to work. So this is my favorite DonRuss card so far:

1990 DR 469

Mail Call: Astros Uniforms 75 vs. 89

I’m always interested in any cards with players from the 1975 Topps set, and Bru from Remember the Astrodome delivered with a stack of cards. That motivated me to organize my cards and find some Astros he could use. It took a while (in between other projects), which explains the month long hiatus here.

I’ll break this mail call into two posts, starting with Astros uniforms. I really liked them growing up. They fit right in with clothes we wore those days (like Ocean Pacific t-shirts). Even today their iconic outfits from the mid-70s and 80s takes me back to those days.

The Astros had tame-looking uniforms in the 75 Topps cards:
1
1975 541

They didn’t match my reality of what the Astros wore. It’d take another year to highlight their new threads on cardboard. 1976 SSPC Roger Metzger and 1976 Topps Joe Niekro look like they’re still getting used to their new outfits:

1976 sspc 0571976 273

What started me on this path was one of the cards Bru sent. Buddy Bell was an Astro for a year but he was wearing a different outfit than I remembered. After digging into it, turns out there were four incarnations of what are dubbed Tequila Sunrise uniforms. These lasted until 1993 and the 89 Upper Deck card shows him in the third version:

1989 UD 112 1989 UD 112b

The 1975 Buddy I knew played for the Indians (so he’ll always seem out of place in an Astros uniform):

1975 038

There’s also a cool page I found on mlb.com with a slideshow of Astros uniforms throughout the years (starting with them as the Colts in 1962). I wasn’t planning a post about uniforms, so thanks for the inspiration and for sending the cards Bru!

Card Spotlight: 660 Hank Aaron

This is a 1975 card blog, and so far I haven’t posted about any cards from my favorite set… not cool.

Given we’ll get the voting results on Tuesday for the Greatest Living Major League Baseball player, I’m sharing my vote here. It’s not just about the player stats, but the person and their personality. I don’t choose a friend based on who makes the most money or has a winning personality trait which doesn’t outweigh their other flaws. I based it on their total character.

These are the contenders:

 

Misc 2015 MLB Votes

I pick Mr. Aaron. He stands out not just because of his drug-free home run achievement, but also the strength he has to have put up with all the junk leading to getting to 715. When I first read of the threats and evil words other humans sent to him, it reminded me that there are tools out there that have nothing else to do in life but hate. It takes a really tough person to live with that.

So that’s why he gets my vote and he’s the first 1975 card that gets tribute here.

1975 660

I hope you enjoy the 86th All Star Game.

1975 Stamped BuyBacks

In the middle of completing a 1975 Topps Baseball set, I found some 75s with foil stamps on eBay that caught my attention.

There were 3 stamps used in 2014 and 2015 and for whatever reason, it feels like having a card with each stamp completes my ’75 collection. So this is what I got:

1975 bb 3831975 bb 4571975 bb 639

The backstory is that Topps bought vintage cards (including ones from 1975), stamped them with silver foil and inserted them into new 2014 and 2015 packs as “buyback” cards.

The 2014 stamped buybacks have a “Topps 75th” logo in two sizes. As far as I know, the smaller logo is from Series 1 and the larger one is from Series 2. The logo represents their 75th anniversary (which technically was in 2013). I think there were two cards per Hobby Box, but if anyone knows for sure let me know.

1975 bb 2014-2 1975 bb 2014

2014 Foil Stamps (series 1 on the left)

This year, Topps stamped buyback cards with a “Topps Original 2015” foil stamp and inserted two in each Series 1 Hobby Box (36 packs per box, 50 cards per pack). This continues in the Series 2 Hobby boxes (I’ve seen some Series 2 buybacks hit eBay with the same stamps – so 2015 has just one type of stamp).

1975 bb 2015
2015 Foil Stamp

Most of the cards I’ve seen so far have been commons and in exmt or lesser shape – the exception was a Schmidt. Most of these carry a premium when sold as singles (and the Schmidt was an exponential $36 on eBay).

While writing this, I was looking for more info about the 2014 logos and found Night Owl’s recent post. He’s trying to collect as complete a set as possible.