Wednesday, November 5, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #1 through #6


#1 Lou Brock Record Breaker
#2 Sparky Lyle Record Breaker
#3 Willie McCovey Record Breaker
#4 Brooks Robinson Record Breaker
#5 Pete Rose Record Breaker
#6 Nolan Ryan Record Breaker


Good: The stars are a nice little feature to get these cards to stand out from the rest of the set, especially since they didn't use the script font we'll see on all the rest of the cards.

Bad: Those stars again. Look closely on cards 1 through 5 and you'll see that there's an odd gap between the first 5 stars and the rest of the stars across the top row. All 6 of the cards have a similar error on the row of stars above the player's name: there's a weird gap between the 4th and 5th stars. I guess stuff like that was more challenging in the days before computer layout. I'm also not crazy about the red and green color scheme on these cards.


Good: The Lyle photo on card #2 takes the cake here as a nearly full-body shot of the man in mid-pitch. I like Brooks Robinson's photo too, mainly because of the tiny people in the back. And the Pete Rose photo is a classic action shot of Charlie Hustle.

Bad: Clearly McCovey got the worst treatment of this group, with the top half of his face completely in the shadows. For anyone not familiar with his appearance, you couldn't even use this photo to ID him in a lineup, which means the photo is no good. Special mention of Nolan Ryan's extreme closeup with the 70s hair. I cannot recall another photo that shows him with such a big smile. Maybe he was thinking 15 years into the future about beating the crap out of some young White Sox 3B.


Good: Prior to The Steroids Era, the two most recent seasons where a guy qualified for the batting title while posting an OPS+ of at least 200 (think about OPS+ of 200) were George Brett in 1980 and Willie McCovey in 1969. Despite being a Hall of Famer, I think McCovey might actually be a bit underrated. For guys with at least 8000 career at-bats, he has the 17th-best career OPS+, clearly making him one of the greatest players of all time.

Bad: Since 1901, 22 players have had at least 10,000 career at-bats, and Robinson and Brock have the 3rd- and 4th-lowest career OPS+ among them. We can forgive Brock since he was a leadoff hitter, but one might have expected that Robinson was a little better. Pete Rose is in the bottom half, too.


Hall of Famers: 4
(+1 for Brock, +1 for McCovey, +1 for Robinson, +1 for Ryan)

Deceased: 0

Future managers: 1
(+1 for Rose)

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 1
(+1 for Pete Rose Jr.)

Loyalty counter: 1
(+1 for Robinson)

Rookies of the Year: 2
(+1 for McCovey, +1 for Rose)

Total all-star appearances: 55
(+6 for Brock, +3 for Lyle, +6 for McCovey, +15 for Robinson, +17 for Rose, +8 for Ryan)

Total MVP awards: 3
(+1 for McCovey, +1 for Robinson, +1 for Rose)

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


dayf said...


Andy said...

Hold on, just getting warmed up.

csd said...

That Ventura thing always has to get brought up doesn't it?

MMayes said...

Brooks and Larcenous Lou look like their photos were taken on the same Spring Training field.

Anonymous said...

Good to see you get started!

Kevin said...

This is Brooks' last Topps card - he doesn't have a base card in this set, and he played his final game on August 13, 1977 in odd circumstances. In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, Dave Skaggs on second base and the A's leading the O's 9-5, Brooks pinch hit for Al Bumbry, but then was removed for another pinch hitter, Tony Muser. Muser struck out to end the game. As near as I can figure, Brooks had already decided to hang 'em up and just wanted (or was given) a curtain call.

Robinson's final at-bat was on August 5 (my birthday!). In the eighth inning, he pinch hit for Mark Belanger and lined out to short against Frank Tanana.

Andy said...

The fact that Robinson got a RB card for his longevity with the Orioles but also has no base card in this set is both awesome and heartbreaking.

gcrl said...

i love the 1978 set. it was the first set i put together, the first set i collected, and the first year i really followed baseball. i lament the absence of boog powell and al downing to name two men who played in 1977 but did not get a card in this set.

brooks robinson also retired following the 1977 season and did not get a regular card in this set, but at least he got his recordbreaker card - "23 years with one team, and all i got was this lousy record breaker card. where's the final tribute?"

White Sox Cards said...

It's interesting to see what records were set back then and to know that some have already been broken.

fogus said...

"more challenging in the days before computer layout"

Before computers? Does not compute.