Friday, November 14, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #25 through #30


#25 Jon Matlack
#26 Rich Hebner
#27 Geoff Zahn
#28 Ed Ott
#29 Bob Lacey
#30 George Hendrick


Good: The brown and orange on the Padres cards (see Hendrick's) are great. In fact, these are the same colors that Topps used for the 1988 Padres cards. It worked well both times. And the Phillies are yet another team with hot pink and green, and yet it works OK for them since it very roughly matches sorta their team colors.

Bad: Notice how large the "A" in "A's" is on Lacey's card. Topps altered the size of the font for the team name based on how long each name was. That "A" is ridiculously large and loopy. I never understood why the nickname "A's" was used on so many cards instead of the team's full name. We don't see cards with "BoSox", "Phils", "Yanks", "Brew Crew" or anything like that. Why "A's" then?


Good: The Hendrick photo is clearly the winner here. There is unbelievable color unity on the card with more browns and oranges in the background. Even the yellow "D" on Hendrick's T-shirt (surely part of "PADRES") matches the yellow on his cap.

Hebner's photo is casual but also nice.

Bad: The Lacey card is just awful. Miles and miles of blue sky are nice when there is some blue on the card. The godawful pink border, green letters, blue sky, yellow's like a puke rainbow.

I'm sort of torn on the Ott photo. I like it, just wish his eyes weren't quite so shadowy.

Ed Ott had a career OPS+ of just 86 but once had 10 total bases in a game. The Pirates won that game 3-1, with two solo homers by Ott sandwiching a steal of home by Scrap Iron.


Matlack was robbed by pitching for mostly bad teams. Among pitchers with at least 2000 IP and a W-L% below .505, he has the 3rd-best ERA+ since 1901. His neutralized stats are 146 wins and 113 losses, for a .564 W-L% compared to his actual figure of .498. Wow.

Hebner had 1 game with 2 triples.

Zahn was a good pitcher but gave up a bunch of homers. Look who leads the pack: Baylor, McRae, Murray, and Zisk.

Hendrick is often overlooked as a top power hitter in the game. From 1973 to 1983, 19 guys had at least 200 homers and an OPS+ of 120. The list is a who's who of power hitters from that era, and it includes Hendrick.


Hall of Famers: 8

Deceased: 1

Future managers: 4

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 4

Loyalty counter: 2

Rookies of the Year: 4
(+1 for Matlack)

Total all-star appearances: 126
(+3 for Matlack, +4 for Hendrick)

Total MVP awards: 4

Total Cy Young awards: 1


Johngy said...

I can see voting for the 78 cards is going to be a challenge for me.

I voted for Ott, narrowly edging out Hebner. I love both cards. In any other voting, Zahn or Hendrick could have easily been my favorite, too.

gcrl said...

i love that hebner card. to me, it is pure 1978. he reminds me of the high school kids i would see hanging out at the 7-11 after school.

ed ott - the shortest name in the majors. that's got to count for something!

Kevin said...

Thought it was almost certainly a typo, I like the term "Toppsed". It could be defined as a style element implemented in the design of Topps cards.

Also, Ed Ott has to have the shortest name in this set, right? Five letters?

Andy said...

Toppsed = Topps used...fixed

Luke said...

time to let the cat out of the bag: It was a tough choice, but i went w/Hebner. Simply because I have a his Lumber Company Bobblehead!!!

Yes, a richie hebner bobble. 16 losing seasons vs Hebner Bobble

Go bobbleheads!!!!

fogus said...

OK, I didn't grow up in the 70's but to my warped view of that decadent era Hebner is the epitome.

I voted for Zahn card as I love that lefty wind-up. Is it just me, or is the 'P' offset?

night owl said...

When I was a kid I didn't know the Oakland team by any other name than "A's" If someone used "Athletics" it seemed odd. I'm purely guessing, but the term "A's" probably became the nickname of choice during the 72-74 World Series run when they were known as the "Swingin' A's" Topps used "A's" from '72 on in the 70s, but didn't use it in '71.

Timberhill said... a loyal Twins fan, I WANT to vote for Zahn, but really, there's nothing about that card that does it for me.

I agree with Hebner. He's totally leaning on his Trans Am, probably putting back a Schlitz or two in the convenience store parking lot while eyeing some underage girls.

But really, the Hendrick card is clearly the best. I know nothing about the guy, but goddamn, look how cool that dude is. I imagine that even if he weren't playing for the Padres he'd still be wearing that same jacket. Style points.

RoofGod said...

And the award for most plain and boring card in the set goes to....Bob lacey of the Oakland A's.

mickey s. said...

in 1970 Charles Finley officially renamed Oakland the A's. Walter Haas, Jr., re-Athleticized the team in 1981. any 1970's A's reference is technically correct, but no less silly.

MMayes said...

You almost forget that Silent George played for the Padres. He also seemed to like the vinyl pullover, as he not only is wearing it here, but also in his 1976 Indians card.

I'd like to know what Jon Matlack is staring at. It seems to be equal parts curiosity and troubling. Hopefully it doesn't have anything to do with Kingman.

For the Pirate in this group all I have to say is his nickname....Too Hot Ed Ott. Wouldn't you love to see a footrace with him, Milt May and Marc Hill?

--David said...

Is it just me, or do all those empty stadium backgrounds look awful on cards? I mean, it screams "we have no fans... no one is watching baseball." Okay, yeah, they were taken at practice or training or whatever, but to see that many all lined up... Just sad.

Andy said...

Good point, with 3 such cards in a vertical column there.

Personally, I love the color uniformity of empty seats much more than glops and glops due to fans in the background, such as on Sparky Lyle card #2 back on the first post here.

gcrl said...

i prefer to see "athletics" over "a's". back in 1970, topps used "cards" instead of "cardinals" and "yanks" instead of "yankees" on some, but not all, of those players' cards.

jacobmrley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jacobmrley said...

au contrair to your nicknames theory - 2008 topps used d-backs for the diamondbacks (a dumb unoriginal nickname for an awkward and frankly awful team name).

i do believe because "A's" and "d-backs" is used officially by the team (jerseys, logos, etc.), topps takes that as the green light to use it on the cards. but i'm with you, write out the name.

moschella said...

i dig the beat up batting gloves. today they wear them for probably one game. looks like ott and hebner used theirs in the garden all spring.

i don't like the a's abbreviation either - and i'd love to see a metropolitans card some day.

kevinb said...

Tiger counter:3, Richie Hebner played 1st base in the very early '80s for them

I voted for the UPS truck driver in the lower right corner...what can Brown do for you?

moschella said...

did lacey borrow someone else's glove for the photo?

please tell me his nickame wasn't "ace".

or did he drop the "y" when he ran out of room at the rawlings logo?

dayf said...

I had to go with Hebner on this one. I like the uni, I like the border, I like the batting cage and Richie's having a good 'ol time. This was a tough vote, I like all of them on the right side. I hate all of them on the left oddly enough.

The reason for the use of A's instead of Athletics is tradition. The original Philadelphia Athletics club back in the 1800's used just an A as their logo. Connie Mack's A's continued the tradition and Athletics wasn't used on the uniforms till the 50's. Mickey already pointed out that Finley added the 's in the 70s.

Andy said...


johngy: +1
gcrl: +2
kevin: +1
luke: +1
fogus: +1
night owl: +2
timberhill: +2
mickey s: +3
mmayes: +2
--david: +1
jacobmrley: +3
moschella: +1
kevinb: +1
dayf: +3

edgycater said...

My pick is George Hendrick. He looks like someone off-camera is trying to steal his sandwich. That's the way I remember George.