1975 Topps And How It Reflects Transactions from Late 1974

Sheesh, the title of this sounds like an academic paper.

This is the third post in a series with no real point other than my finding it fun and interesting to see which trades from one season got updated in the following season’s Topps sets.  I’ve gotten some positive comments when I’d done similar research into 1974 Topps and 1981 Topps, and that gave me the motivation to do another.

For the record, the transaction information comes from Baseball Reference

The earliest transaction I could find which resulted in an airbrushed photo in 1975 Topps is the June 5, 1974 sale of Joe Lis from the Twins to the Indians.

I should point out that it isn’t out of the question that a player acquired before the 1974 season still got airbrushed for 1975 Topps, but I draw the line at changes made because of transactions, as opposed to Topps saying “Shoot, we don’t have a current photo of this guy!”


UPDATE:  Bryan left a comment on this post correctly pointing out that there was an earlier transaction than the one I just highlighted:

April 26, 1974
The Cleveland Indians traded Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw to the New York Yankees for Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, Steve Kline and Fritz Peterson

All three of the players acquired by the Yankees got photographed in pinstripes for the 1975 set, but all four of the players acquired by the Indians are airbrushed for 1975 Topps

Thank you for keeping me honest, Bryan!


The latest in-season transaction which was captured by a Topps photographer rather than an airbrush artist was the June 24th waiver claim of Ollie Brown by the Phillies (from the Astros)

The first significant transaction of the postseason – interestingly this happened *during* the World Series, something that is forbidden today – was the October 13th trade where the Mets sent Ray Sadecki and Tommy Moore to the Cardinals for Joe Torre… Sadecki and Torre were dutifully airbrushed in 1975 Topps.

Tommy Moore never appeared on a Topps card, but *did* appear in the 1990 Pacific Senior League set.

The latest transaction to be completely reflected in 1975 Topps – I’ll explain the “completely” part shortly – is the November 8th trade where the Braves sent Danny Frisella to the Padres for Cito Gaston.

“Completely” applies to the previous transaction because there was a related pair of trades on November 18th where only one of the six Major Leaguers involved was updated in 1975 Topps.  In the first half of the deal, the Tigers obtained Nate Colbert from the Padres.  Colbert was airbrushed for 1975 Topps, but like Frisella and Gaston the airbrushing was of the “Player is watching a passing airplane so we’ll just do a quick airbrush of his jersey” variety.

Going to San Diego in exchange for Colbert were Dick Sharon, Bob Strampe (who only appeared on a 1973 “Rookie Pitchers” card) and Ed Brinkman.  The Padres immediately flipped Brinkman to the Cardinals for Rich Folkers, Alan Foster, Sonny Siebert and the proverbial Player To Be Named Later.

If you went solely by 1975 Topps it would appear that Colbert, Brinkman and Sharon were teammates in 1975, but in reality they were on three different teams… or more than three, really, because Brinkman would also play for the Rangers (1 game!) and Yankees in 1975.


(Side note: Writing this post was beneficial to me because I made me realize that this well-loved Dick Sharon card is, by even my lax standards, in need of an upgrade)

The cards for Siebert and Foster included a “Traded to San Diego Padres” note on the back, but none of the other cards reflect the deal in any way.



If you were wondering, the PTBNL was Danny Breeden, a catcher who appeared on “Rookie Stars” cards in 1969 and 1970 Topps.

I’m going to wrap this up with another pair of trades which probably had someone at Topps pulling their hair out.

On August 19th, 1974 the Twins traded Jim Holt to the A’s for Pat Bourque.  Holt got some minimal airbrushing in 1975 Topps.

I would image that similar steps were taken to get an image of Bourque to show him with the Twins, but on October 23rd, Borque was traded back to the A’s for “Disco Dan” Ford (whose rookie card came in 1976) and a minor leaguer.

Bourque ends up in 1975 Topps with the A’s…

And the back of this card starts off by saying he “came to the Twins” and then ends with “He returned to A’s during off-season”.

(FYI, I adjusted the brightness and contrast of this image to make it easier to read… the card doesn’t actually look like this)

The kicker of all of this is that Bourque didn’t play for the A’s in 1975… he was cut during Spring Training and would play the next four seasons in the Mexican League.

10 thoughts on “1975 Topps And How It Reflects Transactions from Late 1974

  1. Your inclusion of Joe Torre reminded me that he was traded to the Mets in time to accompany them on their tour of Japan in the fall of 1974. The first ever cards showing him as a Met were in Ed Broder’s set for the tour.

    I had a bet with a classmate on Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Carlton Fisk’s home run won me that Pat Bourque card!

  2. I had no idea that trades during the playoffs were allowed back in the ’70s. I wonder when that changed, because I can’t imagine something like that happening now.

  3. I always thought the trade deadline was 08/15, then in 2019 it changed to 07/31. Players had to on the major league roster by 08/31 in order to qualify for playoffs that year. A lot of head shots in 75 & spring training photos on cards in this article.

  4. The Tom Buskey and Fred Beene Indians cards are airbrushed, they came to the Indians in the Chris Chambliss deal on April 26, ’74.

    • Damn, you are absolutely correct… Steve Kline and Fritz Peterson are also airbrushed… and I collect Fritz, so I have no excuses. Thank you for setting me straight! I’ll update the post and maybe do a follow-up as well

  5. Pingback: I Stand Corrected! A 1974 Transaction I Missed In My Recent Post on 1975 Topps | The Shlabotnik Report

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