Category Archives: 1976 SSPC

Card Spotlight: 1976 SSPC Countdown Milan 536, Mays Score 595 (#16)

Microphones.

Interviews happen all the time in life and so do speeches. Microphones help with both. When microphones are around, something important is happening. I need to pay attention.

I have no idea how many cards of players with microphones exist. But they’re not common – I can’t recall even one in the 1975 Topps set. But this sets got two.

  
Is this thing on?

There’s Felix Millan. They didn’t have wireless microphones back then. Maybe he’s in the middle of an interview. Is he talking to Keith Olbermann? Don’t know. But I just realized I hadn’t noticed how concerned Felix looks on the 75.

Willie Mays shows up twice in both sets (though in Topps it’s the MVP reprint subset). In this SSPC checklist card, he’s being interviewed by Herb Score, who was a radio play-by-play announcer at the time. This is a good read about Herb, who may have been one of the best pitchers had it not been for an unlucky accident. Stats never tell you the full story about a person.

If you’re looking for SSPC cards from this set, I have almost 70 on COMC here (including a couple of Mays cards).

Card Spotlight: 1976 SSPC Countdown Doyle 407, Hargan 254, Stargell 573, Hands 253 (#17)

Candid Photography.

Sometimes what makes photos good is that they’re candid. Maybe the intent was for a posed shot, but they were taken a moment before the player was ready.

The 1976 SPC set has some of those and they end up shows you guys that look more approachable. I can relate to them.

Unlike Topps which had the luxury of selecting from many photographs, SSPCs likely had a limited selection since they had to get in and out with their photography as fast as they could. And that turned out to be a pretty good thing for us.

Steve Hargan has that split second of surprise. That’s what my face looks like when I forgot to take the trash out (and the truck’s passing by). A good complementary card to Topps Hargan.

Denny is lost in thought. A few more seconds and he’d be looking at us, or maybe they’d make him look at the sky. This pensive state is much more interesting. It’s the look I have wondering about upgrading my Topps Doyle card full of print streaks.

 

I can’t relate to Topps Willie Stargell. There’s no way I could get away with looking that cool swinging a bat. SSPC Stargell is what I’d look like when a prowler woke me out of bed as I scrambled out with my bat… ok, half true. I’d be much less intimidating until I spent years building up to those Stargell muscles.

And some players look just the same in Topps as SSPC, like Bill Hands. He’s ready. He’s been ready for 10 minutes and now he’s annoyed. Will you just take the picture? We’ve all been there… relatable.

By the way, I’ve finally got some extra SSPC card available on COMC (look here for SSPC or here for over 800 other cards).

Card Spotlight: 1976 SSPC Countdown Charlie Williams 98 (#18)

Transformation.

When I think of baseball players from the 70’s, I picture them as seen in their photos from the 1975 Topps set.

And that’s the way it was… until I caught a glimpse of some SSPC cards that were unique in all sorts of ways. I got the whole set and my world view of how baseball players should’ve looked in ’75 changed.

The Charlie Williams that I saw at my local mini-mart had with straight hair but he’d already transformed into some serious curls that year. It took until 1978 Topps Charlie Williams to ditch the perm.

 

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This dusk shot of Williams captures the sun setting at the ballpark so well that it transcends being just a card.  It makes me feel like I’m in the middle of a warm summer night

Card Spotlight: 1976 SSPC Countdown Darrell Porter 232 & Jim Colburn 226 (#20)

Facial Hair.

When think of the 70’s, I think of facial hair.  And there’s a bunch of it in the 1975 Topps Set.

But there are players like Darrell Porter who are clean shaven in the Topps set but have a lot more hair on their SSPC card – like Darrell’s horseshoe mustache. If Topps Porter ran into SSPC Porter in a bar, I don’t think he’d want to start any trouble with himself.

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Like Porter and Munson, Jim Colburn was clean shaven on his 1975 card but sporting a twirly mustache on the SSPC.

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Finding the SSPC set was like unearthing photographs of people you’ve known all your life and discovering their wild and crazy side.

Card Spotlight: 1976 SSPC Countdown Jim Hunter 425 (#22)

Nickname appropriate.

Catfish Hunter’s SSPC card pictures him in a pose that matches his nickname.

If you bought a Topps card in 1975, his card showed him as an Athletic but he was really a Yankee by then. If you own the SSPC card, that covers both teams he played on (though technically he started as a Kansas City Athletic).

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Bake McBride is another player with an SSPC card that’s more nickname appropriate.

Card Spotlight: 1976 SSPC Countdown Rudy May 427 (#23)

Perspectives.

Some of the photographs in the 1975 Topps and the 1976 SSPC sets are so different it’s hard to tell it’s the same person. And others, like this one of Rudy May are more subtle.

I was used to the sullen Topps Rudy May that I’ve grown accustomed to for decades. When I picked up the SSPC recently, there’s familiar Rudy with the same glasses (a little crooked), a Yankees cap (not airbrushed), and sort of a grin. Plus he’s got a gold chain.

And there’s more. More of his Yankees uniform. More of the background with a stadium full of fans.

That’s what I like about this SSPC set. It’s a different perspective on familiar faces from the Topps set. And that’s pretty cool.

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Card Spotlight: 1976 SSPC Countdown Oscar Gamble 526 (#25)

Built-in Traded Set.

This is the last card of Oscar Gamble in an Indians uniform. The back of the card highlights his trade to the New York Yankees in exchange for Pat Dobson. In his career, Gamble switched teams eight times (including two repeats: the Yankees and White Sox).

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SSPC took full advantage of the timing of their release to include the trades after the 75 season. So the SSPC set is a base and traded set all in one. And that’s why this Oscar Gamble “Traded” card is among my 1976 SSPC favorites: to commemorate the coolness of that idea.

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