Contrast And Compare: Greg Gross And Manny Trillo From 1979 Topps / Burger King

During the late 1970’s, I was a baseball card snob who looked down upon anything that didn’t come in wax, cello or rack packs. What a fool I was. :-)

The Burger King sets from 1977 to 1980 acted as “traded sets” for at least a few teams, and now I’m trying to make up for lost time by tracking down these cards. Today I’ve got two more examples.

The Cubs and Phillies made an eight-player trade in late February, 1979; this trade was well past any deadlines in effect for the Topps set, but two of the Philly-bound players made it into the Burger King Phillies set.

In this trade, the Phillies sent Ted Sizemore, Barry Foote, Jerry Martin and two other players to the Cubs for Dave Rader…

…Greg Gross…

…and infielder Manny Trillo…

In 1979 there were only Burger King sets for the Yankees and Phillies, so the guys going to Chicago didn’t appear on cardboard in a Cubs uniform until 1980 (if at all). Dave Rader, who would play only 31 games with the Phillies uniform, also didn’t get the BK treatment.

But there were Burger King cards for Manny Trillo and Greg Gross.

Greg Gross would play 10 years for the Phillies as a pinch hitter and backup outfielder. Gross is the Phillies pinch hit king and 5th all-time in the Majors with 143 pinch hits. He won a World Series with the Phillies in 1980 and finished 2nd in 1974 N.L. Rookie Of The Year voting, behind Bake McBride and ahead of Bill Madlock.

Interestingly enough, Manny Trillo got airbrushed in this set, even though he was acquired in the same trade as Greg Gross.

Trillo was originally signed by the Phils, went to the A’s in the Rule V draft and was traded to the Cubs in the Billy Williams deal.

In his four years with the Phillies, Trillo won 3 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers and was an All-Star twice, in addition to being named the MVP of the 1980 NLCS.

Does anybody out there have a Manny Trillo collection going? He strikes me as a fun guy to collect… He was good enough to make a number of oddball sets, but well-traveled enough (38 games with the A’s, 17 games with the Reds, 31 games with the Expos and 88 with the Indians) to make for plenty of… variety, for lack of a better word. After a fairly quick search, I could only find one card which showed him with the A’s (1974 Topps Rookie Shortstops), two cards which showed him with the Reds (1989 Bowman and 1989 Topps Big Baseball) and a handful of cards which show him in Expos and Indians uniforms.

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5 thoughts on “Contrast And Compare: Greg Gross And Manny Trillo From 1979 Topps / Burger King

  1. Love these oddball food sets. They are, as you said, like update or traded sets for some players. My personal favorite is the 1980 Burger King set. Also I am sure you may know about the 1977 Yankees set that includes a photo of Reggie Jackson in a Yankees uniform and the late addition of Lou Piniella to the set. If not, please look it up. It is one of the better food sets of that era.

    Also, I must add that this is around the time that Topps started doing the aquamarine-background-sky-washout trick on their cards. Looks like they did it on the Greg Gross Phillies card. Not sure why they thought it was necessary but it is distracting to me. Maybe it is to mask the poor card stock and printing techniques of the time.

  2. I guess you could say that I collect Manny Trillo, seeing as I hoard whatever cards of future/current/former Cubs head my way. He definitely has some fun cards out there!

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