Monday, November 17, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #31 through #36


#31 Glenn Abbott
#32 Garry Templeton
#33 Dave Lemanczyk
#34 Willie McCovey
#35 Sparky Lyle
#36 Eddie Murray All-Star Rookie

The Murray card I have has been PSA graded, which is why it's scanned separately here.


Good: The script used for the team names is unusual in some ways, such as the lower-case "r"s. Check them out in "Mariners" and especially in "Cardinals" above. Note how high the r's go, all the way up over Templeton's belt. The way the Cardinals name overlaps Templeton's belt gives that card a very nice framed quality.

Bad: What is the deal with giving McCovey a card number like #34? Topps was already giving good numbers to stars by this time, and although he was at the tail end of his career, McCovey was coming off a good year in 1978 and was still a major star. That was really unkind of Topps, I think.

Also the hot pink and green cards just keep coming and coming, with a Cardinals card this time.


Good: Heck yeah, we've got two awesome photos here. Firstly, the McCovey card is simply beautiful. The parallelism between the "Giants" team name both on the card and on his jersey is great. The pose is great, and the coloring is spot-on with all the black and orangey-red. Secondly, the Murray card is just an absolute classic. The guy looks like such a god damn bad ass, and he really was. It's such a close-up shot and Murray has such a stern look. You can't bare look away but also can't help but get a chill.

Anybody voting for anything other than McCovey or Murray here is crazy.

Bad: The Lyle photo is clearly mere milliseconds after the photo used on his Record Breaker card #2, which is no big deal, just thought I'd point that out.

The real loser here is Dave Lemanczyc, caught not only with a bizarre collared shirt under his jersey, but a badly pressed collared shirt at that. How embarrassing.


For pitchers with at least 1200 IP since 1960, Glenn Abbott had one of the lowest strikeout rates. His walk rate was pretty good but his hit rate was high, leading to a career 1.366 career WHIP.

In his all-star season of 1979, Lemanczyk went 8-10 despite an ERA+ of 116. Overall, his neutralized record was 45-54 (.455) as compared to what he actually got: 37-63 (.370). This guy was royally screwed.

Which pitcher gave up the most homers to McCovey? That would be Don Drysdale, with 12.

Sparky Lyle has the most wild pitches (66) by a pitcher who never started a single game since 1901.

Murray's the only player with at least 1 triple every season from 1977 to 1994.


Hall of Famers: 10
(+1 for McCovey again, +1 for Steady Eddie Murray)

Deceased: 1
(I'm pretty sure that Garry Templeton's soul died a long time ago, but I don't think that counts.)

Future managers: 4

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 4
(Murray's brother Rich played in the big leagues, although I'm not adding that to the counter)

Loyalty counter: 2

Rookies of the Year: 6
(+1 for McCovey again, +1 for Murray)

Total all-star appearances: 147
(+3 for Templeton, +1 for Lemanczyk, +6 for McCovey again, +3 for Lyle again, +8 for Murray)

Total MVP awards: 5
(+1 for McCovey again)

Total Cy Young awards: 2
(+1 for Lyle again)


White Sox Cards said...

It's nice to see the original trident logo on the Mariners hats.

moschella said...

either it was mothers' day or templeton's bat has been messed with by the topps artists. the pink film is really mis-aligned just above the batting glove.

and if templeton had only one glove, he should have been posed righty not lefty (so the glove would be on the bottom hand).

fogus said...

I can't recall (although, I'm not really trying to) a single card where Murray looks anything less than 100% badass.


gcrl said...

i like the lemancyk card - i am a sucker for the windbreaker under the jersey look.

the murray card, though, is one of the iconic cards of this set. i just wish they had put the position ball in the upper left hand corner - for balance.

Andy said...

I talked to Kevin over the weekend and he said the same thing about Murray always looking badass.

Timberhill said...

I'm rather confused by the color scheme that Topps chose for the Blue Jays card. Sure, the border and font colors are not a team's colors, but still. Padres colors for a Blue Jays card?

I would like to take this moment to point out my general disapproval of the pullover jersey era. Though sleeveless jerseys may be worse.

Kevin said...

I was only six when the O's traded Eddie for a pu-pu platter in which the big prospect was Juan Bell. One of the great front office moves in the ensuing years came in 1996, when the team brought him back from Cleveland. He hit 10 home runs in 64 games (including his 500th), and hit .300 with one more homer in the final postseason of his career. Heck, all Cleveland wanted for him was Kent Mercker!

Fleerfan said...

I was 12 when this set came out, and had just started following the Orioles around the time of Murray's rookie season.

With Murray's ROY season coniciding with my newfound love of the Orioles, I became a lifelong Eddie Murray fan. He was, and always will be my favorite player.

I am so glad that he didn't make the cut for the 1977 set and get stuck on a 4 on 1 Rookie Card like Dawson and Murphy the year before. Missing the 1977 set allowed Murray to have his Rookie card all to himself, and display his Topps Rookie hardware and that serious badass look that let you know that Eddie was ready to play.

I think its telling when you realize that when Cal Ripken talks about his career and the consecutive games streak, the name he mentions is Eddie Murray.

There are certainly a number of iconic rookie cards, but I don't know if any of them look better than Eddie's.


(Whoops, sorry about that. I thought I was back on 33rd St. at the old Memorial Stadium!)

RoofGod said...

I dislike the Gary Templeton pre-fro days. Man could really rock the hair.

night owl said...

Although Murray's card was clearly a great "get" in 1978, rookie cards weren't nearly the huge deal back then as they are now. It was just as cool to get the Templeton card, even though he had a card in '77, too.

Matt said...

The way Glenn Abbott's jersey is folded makes it look like he plays for a team named Brine's. Considering the Mariners went 56-104 in '78, maybe they should have been known as the Brine Shrimp.

Luke said...

The Murray card is simply great. And when i saw it, I had a craving for a Big Kahuna Burger

MMayes said...

Call me crazy....I voted for Sparky. I like the photos of McCovey & Murray, but I like the '88 Score-style action on Sparky's photo.

I don't know what's going on with Templeton. He was one of the most talented guys I've ever seen put on a Cardinal uniform, but he was definitely caught up in the selfishness that can hit ballplayers. I'd like to think that since his career ended and he's gone into coaching/managing in the minors he's had some regrets about how he managed his career, but who knows.... All I know is that he had the tools to be one of the all-time greats and now he's only known for (1) being traded for Ozzie Smith, (2) flipping the bird to Cardinal fans and (3) indirectly being the reason All-Star managers feel like they have to put every player in the game when he complained "if I ain't startin', I ain't departin'"

Fool'sErrandBoy said...

Sparky Lyle's motion looks substantially more conventional in this photo than in his first card in the set, where it looked like he didn't bend his front knee at all (it looks almost as if he was making a pickoff attempt in the record breaker card). It's odd that there are two Lyle cards in such close proximity (33 apart) yet neither of them have a premium number.

Jeffrey Wolfe said...

One of the reasons I was excited about this blog is we'll get a rare glimpse at the Mariners and Blue Jays uniforms from their first year. I also think it's neat that Topps started out with the respective aces of both expansion teams that year.

jacobmrley said...

the murray card in this set is not only one of the iconic cards of this set, but one of the great topps rookie cards of all time - with the all-star rookie trophy. a short list:

1. 1978 Murray

2. 1959 McCovey

3. 1969 Bobby Bonds

4. 1961 Santo

5. 1962 Torre

while there are plenty of greats with the trophy, these are the top 5 whose very first topps card had it...a rarity even in olden days, and a practical impossibility now...

dayf said...

I'm calling it now, Murray is Card of the Set. I'm glad to see him with 70% of the vote right now.

I was about to note that this is the first set where the Mariners have real uniforms and not airbrushed caps, but Jefferey beat me to it.

Andy said...

I'd be very surprised if Murray isn't in the final four at least.

--David said...

My brother has the entire 1978 Topps set. Oh, except for the Murray card. I kept it as 'payment' for organizing his cards one year. Aren't I a bad big bro?

Thomas said...

This Eddie Murray card is, hands down, the best card of the entire 78 set. Although if memory serves me, the Carlton Fisk card in 78 was pretty cool too.

Andy said...


white sox cards: +2
moschella: +2
fogus: +1
gcrl: +2 (good point about the ball)
Timberhill: +1
Kevin: +3
Fleerfan: +4
(Yeah, I said the maximum points you can earn is 3, but Fleerfan's post made me want to give him 4. I spent some time on 33rd St myself, although the Orioles had moved to Camden Yards by then.)
RoofGod: +1
night owl: +2
Matt: +2
Luke: +1
MMayes: +3
Fool'sErrandBoy: +3
Jeffrey Wolfe: +2
jacobmrley: +3
dayf: +1
--David: +2
Thomas: +1

kevinb said...

Former Tigers counter (have some catching up to do) - 4

Lemon-check and the first of the '84 Tigers in this set...Glenn Abbott.

kevinb said...

I meant 5...d'oh

CubanXSenators said...

Funny Fleerfan, I broke into the bigs with Eddie too. He at first and me in the upper deck. My favorite of all-time, too.