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

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5 thoughts on “Mail Call: 75s in the 90s”

  1. Cool post. Makes me wonder which player featured in the 75 set lasted the longest in baseball. Ryan, Yount, and Brett all retired after the 1993 season. Winfield after 1995. Anyone last longer than Winfield?

    1. You got it Fuji! Winfield lasted the longest. Hough was second (through 1994), and then you’ve got the guys you mentioned plus Fisk and Tanana retiring in 1993.

  2. Bill Buckner was part-owner of a car dealership in the town where I went to middle / high school. I live about 30 minutes away from there now, but my dad still lives there.

    1. Thanks for sharing that. I like reading about random baseball player facts, especially those related to other bloggers.

  3. Tom House, the relief pitcher that caught Hank Aaron 715th Home Run, was the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers in the late 1980’s. He thought throwing a football help give the pitcher arm strength. It’s why a football shows up on multiple Rangers cards during the junk wax era.

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