Friday, November 14, 2008

Links and comments

I have yet to add links to this blog. If your blog has a link to 78 Topps Cards, please let me know so I can add a link to your blog. (Comment here or email me at 78topps at gmail dot com.)

Also if you didn't read it already, check out this post which tells you how to win 78 Topps cards by commenting on the posts.

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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #19 through #24


#19 Darrell Porter
#20 Pete Rose
#21 Steve Kemp
#22 Charlie Hough
#23 Bump Wills All-Star Rookie
#24 Don Money


Good: The thing that sticks out here is the All-Star Rookie gold cup on Wills' card. It's the same design used on 88 Topps all-star rookie cards. The exact same design was used on many other sets as well, but not every year. 1986, for example, does not have all-star rookies. Plus, I think the design of the cup was different in earlier years. But overall, it's very cool to see this same cup design across so many years. It's a very nice way of linking and unifying Topps' brand and design. Somebody out there must know the full story about which cup styles were used in which years--please comment and enlighten me.

Bad: The baseball on Money's card is really off. The threads are totally asymmetric, unlike every other card, and his position designations are way, way, off center. Do I really care about this? No, but I have to say something.

I must also point out the last sentence on the back of Kemp's card: "He gets good wood on ball." In particular with the bad grammar, that sentence is truly embarrassing.


Good: The Porter photo is an absolute classic. The side view is great, and yet you can still see his face. Plus he's got the Royal blue eyeglasses and he's making a hang-10 sign with his left hand.

Bad: Look at the Rose card. Seems like a good photo, huh? Look again. Now notice that there is a friggin' bat about 6 inches away from the camera, running right across the photo. Pete Rose is such an interesting subject that you're immediately drawn to his face on any baseball card. But why, oh why, would they use a photo with a bat obscuring so much of the view? If not for it, we might be able to tell who's sitting next to Rose on the bench.

I like the closeup of Kemp but they might have chosen a less goofy face.


First of all, how about that stat mentioned on the back of Wills' card regarding two consecutive inside-the-park homers? Wow, that must have been damned exciting to watch.

Steve Kemp is a name that might not be too familiar to many current fans, but check out the list of guys to get at least 100 RBIs in both 1979 and 1980. Kemp's on there with Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Gorman Thomas, and just 3 other guys.

Can you believe that Charlie Hough had already been playing for 8 years when this card came out? And that he also pitched for the Florida Marlins in 1993 and 1994?

Don Money hit a whopping 6 homers off Fergie Jenkins (Money's most against any pitcher.) Check out the first two. The first one came in the 7th inning with his team down 5-1 to make the score 5-2. The second came in the 9th inning with the same score, tying it at 5. Checking out the box score, Money hit a go-ahead double in the 11th inning, but the Cubs won the game on a homer by Willie Smith in the bottom of the frame.

You may notice that I have gotten rid of "good" and "bad" stats. I'm having trouble finding good and bad stats easily, so rather I'm just going to share 2 or 3 cool stats regardless of them being good or bad.


Hall of Famers: 8

Deceased: 1
(+1 for Porter, the first deceased person in this set)

Future managers: 4
(+1 for Rose again)

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 4
(+1 for Pete Rose Jr. again, +1 for Maury Wills, father of Bump)

Loyalty counter: 2

Rookies of the Year: 3
(+1 for Rose again)

Total all-star appearances: 119
(+4 for Porter, +17 for Rose again, +1 for Kemp, +1 for Hough, +4 for Money)

Total MVP awards: 4
(+1 for Rose again)

Total Cy Young awards: 1

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

How to win cards on 78 Topps

I'm giving away the entire 1978 Topps set as we go along here. There will be no contests. The winners will be determined by who makes the best comments on the site.

My rationale is very simple: my motivation for doing this blog (as well as the 88 Topps Cards blog) is simply the interaction with all the readers and hearing all the cool/interesting/funny things you all have to add to my posts. So I am going to motivate you all to think about the posts and make comments.

This is all going to be very, very subjective, but here are the basic "rules" such as they are:
  • I'll be giving the cards away roughly 60 at a time, i.e. cards #1-60 then #61-120, etc.
  • If you've ever seen the show "Around the Horn", the system will be similar. When the host thinks someone has made a cool/interesting/funny point, they get points.
  • After the first 10 posts appear on a comment, those 10 will get graded by me and can earn anywhere from zero to three points.
  • By the time we reach 60 cards, or wherever I choose to break up the cards to give away, whomever is in the lead wins all the cards posted since the last giveaway.
  • Only your first comment on a given post counts. Comments by me don't count. Only comments on posts with 1978 Topps cards count. Comments on posts like this don't count.
  • I'll be giving out points for lots of things including interesting tidbits or stories, things you noticed about the cards, humorous stories, correcting or adding to my original copy, answering questions I might include in my posts, or interesting talk about baseball cards in general. Be concise, though. You'll lose out for being long-winded.
  • I reserve the right to run these giveaways in whatever fashion I choose or change the rules at any time. There is no fairness here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Welcome to 78 Topps Cards!

Come one, come all to 78 Topps Cards at!

This is the follow-up to my 88 Topps Cards blog. We're stepping another 10 years back in time to look at the front and back of every card from the 1978 Topps baseball card set.

We won't get up to full speed until next week, after the 88 Topps Cards blog is completely closed out. But you have already seen the first couple of posts here, and this is the general format:
  • I'm posting 6 cards at a time, instead of 1 like on 88 Topps Cards.
  • I'm including links to each player's page for easy access.
  • I'm posting 4 categories of info for each group of 6 cards: The design, the photos, the stats, and the counters.
  • "THE DESIGN" looks at elements of the design of the cards, such as coloring, layout, or commentary written on the back of the card.
  • "THE PHOTOS" looks at the photographs used on each card.
  • "THE STATS" looks at a good stat and a bad stat for each group. The stat are all taken from's Play Index. Because I'm only posting 2 stats for each group of 6 cards, not every player will get his own stat.
  • "THE COUNTERS" are cumulative totals for a bunch of different categories. They are all self-explanatory, except for "Loyalty Counter", which gives a +1 for any player who spent his entire major league career with a single franchise.
Every post will have a poll to select which card among the group of 6 is the best. Later, we'll pit the winners of each poll against each other, and eventually we'll find the best card of the 1978 as determined by you, the readers. (The first 2 posts did not have polls but they will be added later and I'll post a reminder about them.)

I'm also giving away all the cards posted on this blog. There will be another post to explain how the winners will be determined. It's going to be an unusual (and hopefully fun) method. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Polls added

Every post from now on will have a poll to vote for best card out of the group of 6.

I have added polls for the first two posts here and here.

Polls will typically stay open for about two weeks.