The Road To Hell: Cards From 1975 Topps Football

I’ve always got the intention to follow-up on posts that I say I’m going to follow up on, but you know what they say about good intentions. Last September I was sharing some of my 1975 Topps Football set, and I keep meaning to share more, but unfortunately when it comes to this blog, I’ve often got the attention span of a 3 year old.

Anyway, this is all a long-winded way of saying “Here are more cards from 1975 Topps Football”.

Don’t you go screwing with Alan Page, cause if you do, he’s gonna mess you up.
1975 Topps Football Alan Page

…and if he doesn’t mess you up, his friend Otis will take great pleasure in messing you up.
1975 Topps Football All-Pro DTs

This was not a card I had as a kid, but if it were then it would’ve been one of my favorites… cool action shots like this pretty durn rare in 1975.
1975 Topps Football Doug Kotar
Assuming that this is a photo from 1974 – which could be a pretty safe assumption because it’s the only year in the several years before this that the Giants had a quarterback who wore #12 – and if that #77 in the background is a Dallas Cowboy and not a Detroit Lion, then this looks like an October 27th loss to the Cowboys at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, CT (where the Giants played their home games that year).  The quarterback appears to be backup Jim Del Gaizo, who came in late in the game.

I’ve never tried this type of thing for football before and I couldn’t find a #77 on the Cowboys or the Lions (not on, anyway) so please feel free to poke holes in my research. It could’ve been a preseason game, in which case all of my conjecture is probably crap.

My apologies to Billy Parks, but this card always made us laugh when we were kids.
1975 Topps Football Billy Parks
We thought it hilarious that he looked like Harpo Marx. …Well, he does, kinda. Stick a beat-up top hat on him, give him a horn…

When I was a kid, George Blanda was some unspeakably old guy on my football cards.
1975 Topps Football George Blanda
George Blanda was 48 when this card came out.

I just turned 48 a few months ago.


Although it does depress me that “1975 me” would consider “2014 me” to be really old, there’s another way of looking at this.

I’m 48 and I suffer after spending a weekend doing yardwork.

George Blanda at 48 was playing in the NFL.


So, George… I hope I wasn’t out of line with that “unspeakably old” crack…

That Which Was Wrongly Thought Complete, Let It Truly Be Whole

Back in December, I made a horrifying discovery. Well, horrifying to me, anyway…  And it actually ended up being three horrifying discoveries.

You see, back in my younger days, I collected a run of complete sets from 1974 to 1978… or so I thought.  Apparently my inventory methods were something less than industry standards at the time, because I recently found that I was one short on the 1974 set, 3 short on 1976 and 1 short on the 1977 set.  Thankfully, my 1975 and 1978 sets have maintained their completeness over the years.

I recently went to a card show, and the primary mission was to complete those three sets I had already believed to be complete.  For a grand total of $3 I bought all five of the cards I need, I have three complete sets and can sleep better at night.

This card didn’t look familiar to me, so I may never have had a complete 1974 set.
1974 Topps Fred Norman
What’s funny is that this card completes the 1974 set and the 1974 master set.  Over the past couple of years I’d finished off all the variations and “Washington Nat’l Lea” cards and team checklists without realizing that I didn’t really have a complete set to start with.

I’m almost positive I’d had this card before, but Lord knows where it went.
1977 Topps Ed Bane

This card doesn’t seem all that familiar to me…
1976 Topps Mike Norris

…nor does this, but they’re such generic 1970′s cards that it’s hard to tell for sure.
1976 Topps Pepe Mangual

At a buck, this was my big purchase of the lot:
1976 Topps NL RBI Leaders
It’s one thing to be missing an Expos outfielder, but you’d think I would’ve noticed a distinct lack of a league leader card… but that speaks volumes about my collection’s organization.

While I was a bit upset and annoyed that I was missing cards, I have to admit it was fun looking for them at the show.  I hadn’t added to my 1976 or 1977 Topps sets in over 35 years.

What do you suppose the odds are that the next Fairfield repack I buy will have one of these cards in it?



Don’t Bother Looking At This – Weigh-In #48

Posting my progress in organizing and purging helps with both motivation (if I do well) and guilt (if I don’t).  I used to update my numbers weekly, but now I’m good with doing this quarterly.  You won’t see another post like this until July.

I know this isn’t the most exciting subject, so to spice things up a tiny bit, I’ve included some cards I’ve gotten in my last two 100-card repacks.

The numbers here reflect changes since January 1st…

1976 Topps Rick Waits

Net change in the collection since 1/1/14: -358 (782 added, 1140 purged – I  need to work on the purging some more)

Total # of cards purged from the collection to date: 8,533

2012 Topps Update Matt Harvey

Net change to the # of cards in the house since 1/1: +1,024 (1499 in, 475 out… I went to a card show for the first time in quite a while and… well… I bought a lot of stuff)

Total # of cards which have left the house to date: 33,775

1989 Score John Smoltz
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 48,300

Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 16,920

…which means I’ve got at least 65,220 cards in my collection.

1997 Upper Deck Pete Schourek


2014 TSR – Four New Base Cards, Plus Two Inserts!

Ten games into the season, there’s a Yankee who’s batting .387, has 6 doubles and 7 RBI, and yet I’m happy about it.

2014 TSR #177 Yangervis Solarte

Yangervis Solarte has the kind of story I’m just a sucker for.  He had been a non-roster invitee, a minor league free agent with 8 years of experience, and he turned a hot spring into a utility role on the Yankees.  After an injury to Mark Teixiera moved Kelly Johnson over to first, Solarte took over playing third base and has been raising eyebrows over the past two weeks.

He’s the first Yankee since Joe DiMaggio to get multiple hits in each of his first three Major League starts

Oh, and he’s also the nephew of Ronny Cedeño.

Met custom of the week

I believe that “apprehensive” would be the proper word to describe how I felt when I heard that the Mets had signed Jose Valverde… but I have to admit, he hasn’t been bad so far.

…emphasis on “so far”.

2014 TSR #140 Jose Valverde

Oriole Custom of the week

I was considerably more excited about the Orioles obtaining Steve Lombardozzi towards the end of Spring Training.
2014 TSR #161 Steve Lombardozzi
I’ve liked Lombardozzi for a while now, but I’m not entirely sure why… Is it because of his former Major Leaguer father, also named Steve? The last name that arches down around his uniform number? A certain ‘je ne sais quoi’?

I don’t know, I just go with it.

Dude Needs a card!

I don’t know what bothers me more… the fact that Tony Watson’s only nationally-distributed card seems to be a 2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects card, or the fact that I wasn’t aware of him until recently.

2014 TSR #38 Tony Watson

I’ll start with the headline about Tony Watson:  Up until the other day, he had a 24-inning scoreless streak that dated back to last season.  Last year, he made 67 appearances for the Pirates;  in 2012, he made 68.  Even in 2011, when he got called up during the season, he had 43 appearances.  The guy’s got over 180 Major League appearances and doesn’t have a proper rookie card?  C’mon, Topps!  Dude needs a card!!!!


And finally, in preparation for next week’s virtual release of virtual Series 2 wax packs in virtual retail big box stores like VirtuWal-Mart, here are a couple of sneak peeks of “Throwback” inserts.

2014 TSR TB-74A Aaron Harang

The Braves wore 1974 throwbacks as part of the Hank Aaron 715 commemoration the other day, so it seemed only right to make make 1974 customs.
2014 TSR TB-74B Andrelton Simmons

Hey, Topps Archive product managers… are you taking notes???

1976 SSPC #165 – Buck Martinez (Royals)

1976 SSPC #165 Buck Martinez

Buck Martinez… Was a defensively-oriented catcher who played 17 seasons in the Majors and also managed the Blue Jays for a season and a half, but he’s better known by many as a TV analyst.

In 1976, Buck Martinez… was the Royals’ starting catcher and batted .228 and 5 homers and 34 RBI.  In October he made his only postseason appearance, starting in all five games, batting .333 with 4 RBI.  The Yankees beat the Royals 3 games to 2.

Shea-o-meter: It’s Shea.
Shea:  39
Pretty sure it’s Shea:  7
Can’t tell:  7
Not Shea:  5

Betcha didn’t know… on 8/29/79, Buck pitched an inning of relief in a game that would end as an 18-8 loss to the Brewers.  Buck allowed a walk, a double and a run in the 9th inning of that game.

1976 SSPC #165 Buck Martinez back

Pack Animal! – 1988 Topps Leaders

I recently got a free pack of 1988 Topps Leader minis… I’ve never owned a single card from this set, and I figured I can’t be the only one, so I figured I’d share the whole pack.
1988 Topps Leaders Minis wrapper

Here’s the highlight of the pack for this Mets fan:
1988 Topps Leaders Minis Roger McDowell

The back of the card, for those who love those backsides…
1988 Topps Leaders Minis McDowell back

Tony Gwynn… I don’t have the actual cards near me as I’m writing this, so don’t ask me what particular league-leading thing is being commemorated with each card.
1988 Topps Leaders Minis Tony Gwynn

By the way, these cards are glossy on the front… one might even say “Super Glossy”…  and are overall a little nicer than I’d expected.
1988 Topps Leaders Minis Carlton Fisk

…which is not to say that I’m going to run out and get more of these. As they say, the price was right.
1988 Topps Leaders Minis Dave Parker

A checklist! How quaint.
1988 Topps Leaders Minis Checklist

Hey, it’s the dude from ESPN!
1988 Topps Leaders Minis John Kruk
…not to mention the guy who famously said “I ain’t an athlete, lady, I’m a baseball player.”

I don’t know if this is why Mike Dunne is in this set – the actual cards are elsewhere, as I mentioned – but he lead the NL with a .684 (13-6) winning percentage in 1987.
1988 Topps Leaders Minis Mike Dunne
He finished 2nd to Benito Santiago in Rookie Of The Year voting, but never had that kind of success again.

I’ll be honest with you… Part of the reason for this post is because last week I had a post with an embedded video;  something about it doesn’t play nice with blogrolls, and I’m trying to add posts to get the video far enough into  my past that it won’t piss me off anymore.  That’ll teach me to share videos…

Masanori Murakami: Not So Much A White Whale As A “Pallid Porpoise”

The other day I was watching highlight videos on the website for Japan’s Pacific League – The link was provided by NPB Card Guy Over At the Japanese Baseball Cards blog – and watching those game highlights took me back to my youth… Kinda.

Back in the late 1970′s there was a TV station in or near New York City that broadcast foreign language programming, and I would occasionally catch a Japanese baseball game. Just like the highlights on the Pacific League website, I didn’t know the context of what I was watching, I didn’t know most of the players and I couldn’t understand the broadcasters but I didn’t care, because it was Japanese baseball – familiar and exotic at the same time.

Those televised games in the 1970′s started something of a lifelong fascination with Japanese baseball. When Hideo Nomo and others came over, I started a Japanese player collection… but that collection more or less got abandoned after Ichiro came over.  The overabundance of Ichiro and Hideki Matsui inserts, plus the increased number of players coming over overwhelmed my tenuous ties to the players, and I lost interest in collecting them as a group (I still collect certain players).

All along, however, the one card I wanted was the rookie card for Masanori Murakami, the Japanese pitcher who played for the San Francisco Giants in the mid-1960′s.

One could call this card a “white whale”, except I didn’t try all THAT hard to get it. I’d always look through the 1965′s at a show, say “Oh, well” when I didn’t see this card within my budget, and I moved on.

But those days are behind me, because at the last show I went to, I found this:
1965 Topps Rookie Stars Estelle Murakami
And it is mine, mine, mine! Yet another addition to my growing 1965 collection (52 cards right now).

BTW, Dick Estelle pitched professionally from 1960 to 1972, but his only MLB experience came during 12 games from 1964 to 1965.  He was a very young pitcher who didn’t stick and didn’t make it back despite pitching for 8 years in AAA.

There are a few tributes to this card that are already in my collection.  Back in 2002, Topps did a series of “East Meets West” inserts that featured Murakami and current-at-the-time Japanese Major Leaguers:

2002 Topps East Meets West_00012002 Topps East Meets West_0002

For what it’s worth, there’s a purple-bordered Rookie Stars card in the same #282 slot in 2014 Heritage, but it’s Heath Hembree and Kevin Siegrist… both pitchers, but only Hembree’s a Giant and neither is Japanese.

As long as I’m writing about Murakami, I should also show off the 1979 TCMA card I’ve had since the early 1980′s:

1979 TCMA Japanese Masanori Murakami
I think it may have been this set that first clued me in to the fact that the team is the “Fighters” owned by Nippon Ham, and not the “Ham Fighters” of Nippon.