Tuesday, November 11, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #13 through #18


#13 Art Howe
#14 Lerrin LaGrow
#15 Tony Perez
#16 Roy White
#17 Mike Krukow
#18 Bob Grich


Good: First let me direct you to the back of Bob Grich's card (see the image below) which includes an explanation of the "Play Ball" game on these cards. Roy White has a home run on the back of his card...indeed! Among these cards are the first two with decent coloring. The Yankees have an almost blue kind of purple that looks nice and the Cubs have a decent blue that is close to their team color with an unobtrusive yellow.

Bad: But, holy crap, check out the Angels and Astros cards. MORE hot pink on green? What the hell?


Good: There is a lot to like in this group. Grich's card caught my eye first, with absolutely miles and miles of green pasture behind him. Beautiful. LaGrow's photo is a super closeup with what is now a very retro uniform. Is that Yankees Stadium or old Comiskey behind him? And Tony Perez's photo is one of the very rare examples of a guy shown without a cap or helmet. He's making a very expressive face that, although unusual, is not goofy. It gives Perez much more of a sense of personality than most guys have on their cards. The Howe photo is also great.

I'm not crazy about the photo on White's card (see below) except for the fact that we get a bonus shot of HOFer Carlton Fisk!

Bad: The Krukow photo is nice except for that odd white bubble in the background. Roy White's legs look so weird that I can't actually figure out what he's doing. It looks like he's about to trip himself, if you ask me. If this were one of those 3-exposure Upper Deck cards, would he be eating dirt in the third frame?

All in all, I'm just nit-picking. This is a simply awesome group of 6 photos.


Good: Roy White and Bobby Grich were 2 of just 21 guys to have at least 50 HR and 50 RB over the period 1972 to 1976. Raising the bar to 69 HR and 75 SB, Grich is one of just seven guys along with Amos Otis, Joe Morgan, Reggie Jackson, Cesar Cedeno, Bobby Bonds, and Don Baylor. Wow, nice company.

Bad: LaGrow had an up and down career. (Follow the link above to check out his career stats. I'd never heard of him before.) He did give up some long balls, including 4 apiece to Bernie Carbo and George Scott.


Hall of Famers: 8
(+1 for Perez, +1 for Carlton Fisk on White's card)

Deceased: 0

Future managers: 3
(+1 for Howe, +1 for Perez)

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 2
(+1 for Eduardo Perez)

Loyalty counter: 2
(+1 for White)

Rookies of the Year: 2

Total all-star appearances: 92
(+7 for Perez, +2 for White, +1 for Krukow, +6 for Grich)

Total MVP awards: 3

Total Cy Young awards: 1


Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Timberhill said...

Tony Perez is giving me a Bernie Casey in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure kind of feel.

As soon as I saw his face, in my head I heard, "Bill, Ted, this is really quite simple. You have flunked every section of this class. Now unless you get an A+ on your final oral report tomorrow, guys, I have no choice but to flunk the both of you."

Kevin said...

Lerrin LaGrow was also the guy who hit Bert Campaneris in the ankle in the 1972 ALCS. Campy threw his bat at LaGrow in response, touching off a brawl.

Deleted and reposted to fix the link.

Matt said...

I'm not sure if LaGrow is at Yankee Stadium, but it definitely does not look like old Comiskey - the upper deck there wrapped around almost the entire stadium save for the exploding scoreboard in center.

--David said...

Roy is doing his Michael Jackson imitation. The photo was taken just moments before the "WOO-HOO! HEE!"

And, man those Astros unis were... VERY 70's! I read somewhere that the uni was changed because the stripes helped the umps set a strike zone... Nice.

DaveH said...

I was excited to see the Tony Perez link at the top of the post. Growing up in Kentucky with grandparents in Cincy, he was a childhood favorite. Imagine my disappointment when I saw the Expos uni. I completely forgot you were doing '78.My face was not unlike Tony's. Clearly he was not thrilled to play north of the border.

gcrl said...

can't you tell just how happy tony perez is to be an expo?

despite what appear to be art howe's disconnected sideburns, in my opinion, the roy white card is clearly the best of this bunch. This is for the simple reason that it is the only one that provides real game action. was it a drive into the right center gap or a lazy fly ball? no one knows, but at least roy's not faking it.

night owl said...

As a kid growing up in Yankee territory and hating the pinstripes with a passion, I was absolutely convinced that Topps gave the Yankees all the good action shots in 1978 Topps. White (and the Lyle record breaker card) are the first examples of my conspiracy theory back then. There are many more to come.

David said...

Can anyone explain to me how the "Play Ball" played by two thing worked?

Andy said...

Pretty straightforward to play the game. You get 3 outs, you pick out cards at random and record baserunners/runs/outs by displaying cards one at a time. Once you get 3 out, your half of the inning is over and your opponent has his turn. Play 9 innings. Whoever has more runs at the end wins. There is no strategy, and of course once you eventually memorized which cards contained which plays, the game got less exciting over time.

Night Owl, I don't think it's a conspiracy. The Yankees were given the best shots because they had just won their first World Series in a while and were the hot and interesting team. It's no different from Topps screwing the Phillies, Brewers, and Mariners out of a single decent action shot in the 88 set--all those teams sucked, so why bother giving them good photos? Make them look bad to make the other teams look better.

RoofGod said...

I never knew that Lerrin LaGraw was Neil Youngs long lost brother.

kevinb said...

I like this blog so I hope this doesn't come across that I am a complainer, but I think the hall of fame counter shouldn't count players in the background

dayf said...

Poor Tony looks miserable in a 'spos uni. I love that Howe card.

Anonymous said...

Perez (or "Doggie" as he was called by his Big Red Machine mates) never looked good in any uniform besides the Reds. He will always be a Red to his fans.

Andy said...

kevinb: there's no problem pointing out your difference of opinion.

My take on it is this. As with the 88 Topps blog, I count everything I see. If the same guy appears on more than 1 card and he's a HOFer, I count him in the HOF count as many times as he appears. Similarly, I count his All-Star appearances multiple times. Why? Because it gives us a sense of what cards were really in the set. If a maker chooses to make multiple cards for a future HOFer, that's relevant to the makeup of the set. Similarly, if they choose to use a photo that captures another future HOF player, that's of interest.

I can see the other side argued as well, but let's face it--these counters are all just for fun, and nothing is more fun than spotting a HOFer in the background!

kevinb said...

Another counter idea...although we haven't seen it yet, you have to count the number of stylin' fros in this set. If memory serves me correctly, there were quite a few classic ones in this set. Definitely a style of its time, nothing screams late '70s like a great fro hairstyle.

kevinb said...

Also...as a Tiger fan, I will keep track of the number of past, current, and future Tigers...since pretty much all of the greats from the '84 team had their rookie cards in this set. The counter is now at 1 with Lerrin LaGrow, have no idea who he was but as the kevin above stated, he did play a memorable part in the '72 playoffs.

Andy said...

I'm got the following points to give out:

Timberhill +2
kevin +2
matt +2
--david +2
daveh +1
gcrl +1
night owl +2
roofgod +1
kevinb +1
dayf +1
thewritersjourney +1

That's 11 instead of 10, but like I said, nothing's fair here.

fogus said...

Bobby Grich is one of my favorite underrated players. He was a borderline hall of famer who got very little recognition in his time due to things like walks and double plays. He's a SABR's dream player.

MMayes said...

I remember this group of cards very well...

Howe -- smiles while looking at Lerrin LaGrow, thinking, "I've got colorful uniforms while you've got that gawd-awful set of PJ's."

LaGrow -- has a determined look as if he's pitching to Bert Campaneris

Perez -- my neighbors & I growing up thought he looked like he was about ready to cry. Wouldn't blame him, being sent from Cincy to Montreal.....

White -- based on Fisk standing up I'd say there was a hit & run on and Roy hit the ball towards right field. That means between first and second Mickey Rivers is muttering something unintelligble to Denny Doyle on his way by.

Thomas said...

I had a lot of trouble getting this Roy White card. I think I had like 12 Dennis Rasmussens (or was it Eric Rasmussen?) before finally getting the Roy White card. The Orioles team card was also very tough for me.

Did they make fewer of some cards? It always seemed like to me that they did.

CubanXSenators said...

Just arriving . . . Love this. I didn't start collecting til '79, but this still were floating around of course.

My guess is that Tony's got no hat because the photo actually was of him in a Reds uni and it was easier to doctor. Notice too that the SOX logo on LaGrow appears to be off center - he's probably actually in a Cards uni before Topps doctored the photo.