Fast Five: Action Shots From 1975 Topps Football

“Fast Five” is meant to be a quick posting of five cards along some kind of theme with a minimum of writing. I’ll freely admit that, given where I’m at this week, it’s either a few “Fast Five” posts or the blog going dark for a week or two. I hope you’ll agree that “Fast Five” is the preferable option.

Today’s post features some of my favorite action shots from 1975 Topps Football, the only football set I’ve ever completed.


Although this is Greg Pruitt’s card, the Steelers’ “Mean Joe” Greene is the one who catches your eye.

The quarterback that Bill Stanfill is about to staple to the turf is the Bills’ Joe Ferguson.

This photo is probably from the same Dolphins-Bills game as the Bill Stanfill card.  Assuming it’s from 1974 and in Buffalo, then the game was on September 22 and the Dolphins won 24-16…. and that’s Larry Csonka (#39) watching on the sidelines.

Lawrence McCutcheon tries to evade the Redskins’ Chris Hanburger.

This last card has me mildly intrigued…  #25 would seem to be the Colts’ Ray Oldham… but Oldham was a defensive back and Zabel was a linebacker.  So why would they be on the field at the same time?

Guesses:  1)  Special teams?  2)  The photo’s old enough that #25 was somebody other than Oldham  3)  The photo’s old enough that it shows Zabel as a tight end, which he was in his 1970 rookie season (but the Eagles jersey doesn’t seem to match what they were wearing in 1970).

For what it’s worth, the Colts did play in Philly in 1974;  September 29th and the Eagles won 30-10.

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And Another One Gone And Another One Gone…

The Las Vegas Raiders.

*Siiiiiiiiiigh.*

It’s not like I’m a fan of the Raiders or have even been to Oakland, but…

*Siiiiiiiiiigh.*

I do understand that there are other factors involved than just uprooting a team.  I realize that o.co Coliseum is among the worst stadiums in the country, that the team’s attendance figures are down at the bottom of the league (although not exactly “drawing flies” at 50,000+ per game) and that the Raiders had left Oakland before.

But to be honest, if it were just the Las Vegas Raiders, I wouldn’t be all that upset about it… but it’s the Las Vegas Raiders on top of the Los Angeles Chargers on top of the Los Angeles Rams.

It’s about Los Angeles having the Rams and the Chargers when it’s debatable how much they really want either.  It’s about the Chargers paying more for a relocation fee than they seemed willing to contribute to a stadium in San Diego.

It’s about having this kind of relocation going on when the league is far from struggling.  We’re not talking 1970’s hockey or basketball where some teams were not meeting payroll.

It’s about a league where decisions are based on how many hundreds of millions, how many billions of dollars are involved.

It’s about a league where you know that, before terribly long, teams like the Jaguars and Bills will threaten to move to St. Louis or San Diego.

Maybe I’ll feel different about it next fall, but right now being a fan of the NFL feels a lot like being a fan of Amazon or Google… Just another huge corporation bent on world domination.

*Siiiiiiiiiigh.*

The Brady Bunch All-Stars

A while ago I had the idea of featuring cards which correspond to each character’s name on The Brady Bunch.  Don’t ask about where this idea came from… Sometimes these things just fall together.

To be honest it was quite a while between inspiration and execution, because some of these were much harder than I’d expected… especially – and not surprisingly – for the “very lovely girls”.  Some of these are quite a stretch to fit into the theme, but that adds to the fun (I hope).

As an extra-groovy feature, I’ve added a few athletes who played themselves on The Brady Bunch.

And so, here’s the story…

Mike

1975 Topps Mike Schmidt
1975 Topps Mike Schmidt

Without really thinking, I went looking for images of 1975 Topps sheets to figure out which card the blue at the top of my card came from.  I say “Without really thinking” because the way 1975 cards show up on the sheet, a card with a green top should have a card with a green bottom above it on the sheet.  I came to find out that Schmidt is at the top of the sheet, so aren’t any cards above Schmidt.  I found another card online that has similar blue at the top, so I guess it’s a “printing thing”.

…And I found that looking at images of uncut sheets of 1975 Topps is kinda mesmerizing…  So many colors…

Greg

2000 Pacific Greg Maddux (Portrait)
2000 Pacific Greg Maddux (portrait)

I’ll bet many of you don’t realize that Pacific was doing variations 16 years ago.  In the 1999 and 2000 Pacific sets, a number of the bigger names and hyped rookies came as either a portrait or an action shot, and there wasn’t anything to distinguish the two other than the photo.  I remember being very perturbed when I found this out…

…and then mom gave me a Snickers bar and I felt better.

Peter
1982-83 O-Pee-Chee Pete Peeters
1982-83 OPC Pete Peeters

The 1982-83 hockey season was the first season in nearly 20 years that Topps had not issued a hockey set.  I was still an active hockey collector at the time, so I bought a hand-collated set of that year’s O-Pee-Chee.  It’s not a classic set, but for us Americans any O-Pee-Chee set that isn’t based on Topps becomes a classic oddball set.

Bobby
1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA Bobby Hull
1974-75 OPC WHA Bobby Hull

Also in the early 1980’s I made one of my favorite hockey purchases of all time.  At a show I saw this cool-looking oddball hockey set featuring players from the recently-deceased WHA.  The complete 66 card set was just $10.  I jumped on that set and never looked back.

Ever since I started this blog 4+ years ago, I’ve been thinking that I need to feature cards from this fun oddball hockey set.  I really need to sit down and scan a bunch of these.

Carol
1981-82 O-Pee-Chee Carol Vadnais
1981-82 OPC Carol Vadnais

It’s the story of a lovely… um…  Vadnais…

I didn’t mean to have three straight O-Pee-Chee hockey cards, but that’s just the way it happened.

And matching Carol Brady with Carol Vadnais?  Trust me, it gets worse from here.

Marcia
1976 Topps Welcome Back Kotter #37
1976 Topps Welcome Back Kotter #37
I had trouble with finding an athlete named Marcia who appeared on a card, so I went with a 1976 Topps “Welcome Back, Kotter” card which features actress Marcia Strassman (who played Julie Kotter) holding a basketball.  Her name is Marcia, and she’s pretending to be athletic, so that’s close enough for government work.

Jan
1975 Topps Football Jan Stenerud
1975 Topps Football Jan Stenerud

Jan Stenerud was born in Norway and was the first Football Hall Of Famer to have been solely a kicker (as opposed to guys like George Blanda who was a kicker and a quarterback).  The Chiefs have retired his #3.

Cindy
1999 Fleer Ultra WNBA Cindy Brown

1999 Fleer Ultra WNBA Cindy Brown

1999 Fleer Ultra WNBA #87 – Cindy Brown – Courtesy of COMC.com

I had to go searching far and wide to find a “Cindy” for inclusion in these all-stars. There just aren’t that many athletes named Cindy.

This Cindy is quite the impressive athlete. As a senior at Long Beach State, she set NCAA records for most points in a season (974, since broken) and in a game (60, still a record). She also played for the Olympic Gold Medal-winning basketball team in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Speaking of Olympians…

Alice
2014 Topps U.S. Olympic/Paralympic Alice McKennis

2014 Topps U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team and Hopefuls Alice McKennis

2014 Topps U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team and Hopefuls #61 – Alice McKennis – Courtesy of COMC.com

What I said about “Cindy” also applies to “Alice”.

In a set of “Olympians And Hopefuls”, Alpine Skier Alice McKennis fell into the category of “Hopeful” because a severe leg injury caused her to miss the 2014 Sochi Olympics.  She was the 2015 World Champion in Super-G (Super Giant Slalom).

While researching her, I was thrown a bit because the first images I found of Alice McKennis didn’t look that much like the image on the card.  As it turns out the dramatic lighting used for the card does her no favors.

Sam, the Butcher
1987 Buffalo Bisons team set BUTCHer
1987 Buffalo Bisons BUTCHer

Donald “BUTCHer” Palmer was a batboy for the AAA Buffalo Bisons and seems to have been a fan favorite.  In researching him I saw references to his “trademark antics”, which implies that his appeal went well beyond “Heh heh, lookit the huge batboy”.

Cousin Oliver
1994 Pacific Crown Collection Joe Oliver
1994 Pacific Crown Collection Joe Oliver

1994 Crown Collection is an odd set.  It’s mostly full-bleed, has foil and a faux marble background on the bottom, but that widely-kerned font just makes it look really amateurish.  I can only guess that it looked better in pre-production.

Special Guest Stars and the episodes in which they appeared:

Joe Namath
1970 Topps Football Joe Namath
1970 Topps Joe Namath
“Mail Order Hero” – In which Bobby lies about knowing Joe Namath.  Hilarity ensues.

Deacon Jones
1974 Topps Football Deacon Jones
1974 Topps Football Deacon Jones
“The Drummer Boy” – Peter is teased by his football teammates for being involved in glee club and being late for a special football clinic with Deacon Jones.  Hilarity ensues.

Don Drysdale
1990 Topps All-Star Glossy Don Drysdale
1990 Topps All-Star Glossy Don Drysdale
“The Dropout” – Mike invites Don Drysdale, one of his clients, to the house. Drysdale compliments Greg’s pitching, Greg gets a swelled head and hilarity ensues.

(I was surprised to find that this is the only Don Drysdale card I own.)

Wes Parker
1972 Topps Wes Parker
1972 Topps Wes Parker
“The Undergraduate” – Greg develops a crush on his math teacher, but the teacher is already engaged… to the Dodgers’ Wes Parker.  Hilarity ensues.


‘Til the one day when Shlabotnik had a brainstorm
And he knew that it was much more than a hunch
That this group must somehow form a blog post
That’s the way they all became The Brady Bunch… All-Stars…

1980, Here I Come! Right Back Where I Started From…

Something which has been a mild source of embarrassment for many years is the incomplete state of my 1979 and 1980 sets.

To explain why it’s a mild source of embarrassment, I have to give you a little personal history.

I started collecting in 1974 and eventually completed a master set from that year, including the Traded set, “Washington Nat’l Lea.” cards and all of the other variations.
1974 Topps Luke Walker

1975 was the year I fell hard for collecting, completing the baseball set…
1975 Topps John Hiller
…And getting about 75% of the Football set (which I finally completed a couple of years ago).
1975 Topps Football Ken Houston

Back in the day, I also completed the ’76, ’77 and ’78 sets in relatively short order.

1979 was a different story.
1979 Topps Denny Martinez
I didn’t like 1979 Topps as well as as I had liked the prior sets, plus I was a teenager and my friends had moved on to other things. 1979 was the first year I actively collected cards yet didn’t complete the set.

1980 Topps was a similar story…
1980 Topps Dave Parker
At the time, I’d dismissed the set as a warmed-over 1974 design, and while I bought a bunch, I didn’t get close to completing the set.

The introduction of competition in 1981 rekindled my interest and I completed both the Topps and Fleer sets. I lapsed again in 1982 and didn’t complete another Topps set until 1988, but I’m not as concerned about those sets.

For years I’d been saying “If I stop screwing around and complete those two sets, I’d have a run of complete Topps sets for my first eight years of collecting”, but it wasn’t until a year or two ago I decided that my mild embarrassment needed to be counteracted with a similarly mild push to complete both of these sets, with greater focus on 1980 because it’s grown on me over the years.

The biggest obstacle I faced for the 1980 set was the Rickey Henderson rookie.

Last year I bought a box that contained someone’s childhood collection of late 1970’s and early 1980’s cards. I filled a number of 1979 and 1980 wants with some musty, fairly-well-loved cards… But naturally, there was no Rickey.

At a show this past spring I picked up a couple of stars (like the Dave Parker featured above) and even found a 1980 wrapper for $2.
1980 Topps baseball wrapper
But, again… No Rickey.

Finally, a couple of months ago, I found what I was looking for on COMC… A G/VG Rickey for under $10. Condition’s never been of primary importance for me, so I pounced.
1980 Topps Rickey Henderson
It’s got a big ol’ crease in the upper left, but the crease doesn’t touch Rickey himself;  otherwise the card’s seen a fair amount of action but is in decent enough shape.

…And now I’m out of excuses.  Guess I should move my 1980 Topps effort a notch or two up from “mild”, huh?

1975 Topps Football Scratch-Off Game Cards

The other day I was going through my folders of scanned images, looking for something for a future post and I ran across my scans of the “scratch off” game inserts from 1975 Topps football… and I said “I didn’t write about that already? Huh…”

So, as you might have guessed, 1975 Topps Football came with a scratch off game inserted into packs. Since I busted the proverbial crap-ton of 1975 Football wax, I went through a lot of these scratch off games… and over the past few years, I realized I still had some of them. Even better, I have them in unscratched and scratched condition, so that’s what I’m going to show you today.

Here’s what the card looks like out of the pack.
1975 Topps Football Scratchoff Front
The rules on the back say that you play against another kid, each of you with a card. I can’t remember ever doing that, that was more trouble than it was worth. I think I may have played it myself, when I did play it. Each box is supposed to be a down, more or less. Well, you can just look at the back of the card for the rules, if you’re interested.
1975 Topps Football Scratchoff back
The actual scratched-card doesn’t show up well in a scan, as the print underneath is very light… so I played with the brightness and contrast in the image to punch it up a bit.
1975 Topps Football Scratchoff scratched high contrast
Anyway, I don’t really have a whole lot to say about this, I just figured you might find this interesting.

Forgotten Franchises: The AFL’s & NFL’s Houston Oilers

The Houston Oilers were a charter member of the American Football League, which began play in 1960. The NFL took the AFL seriously enough that they intended to expand into Dallas and Houston for 1960, thus potentially taking away two of the prime locations for the AFL. Dallas did get the Cowboys, but the NFL put the second team off for a year, and put the team in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Houston Oilers Logo
The Oilers were the class of the early AFL years, winning the first two championships and losing the third to the Dallas Texans (who had played their last game as the Texans… But I’ll save that story for another “Forgotten Franchises” post).    The Oilers would play in the 1967 AFL Championship, getting blown out by the Raiders, 40-7.  The Oilers didn’t score their 7 points until the 4th quarter, by which point they had been down 30-0.  The Raiders went on to play in Super Bowl II, while the Oilers would never play in another championship game, neither AFL Championship nor Super Bowl.

1971 Topps Football Ken Houston

Despite the lack of championships beyond the early 1960’s, there were a number of Pro Football Hall-of-famers who played for the Oilers, including Curley Culp, Elvin Bethea, George Blanda, Earl Campbell, Ken Houston, Warren Moon and Mike Munchak.

After researching this post, it seems to me that Oilers owner Bud Adams made a hobby out of threatening to leave Houston. In 1967 he made threats about moving to Seattle if season ticket sales did not improve. This was well before Seattle was granted an expansion team which would become the Seahawks.

1975 Topps Football Dan Pastorini

In 1987, Adams made noise about moving to Jacksonville. They eventually got concessions from Houston which resulted in $100 Million in upgrades to the Astrodome, but it wasn’t long before Bud Adams became dissatisfied with what he had. After the 1995 season, it was announced that the Oilers will be moving to Tennessee.

The team spent a lame duck season in Houston and spent one season in Memphis before moving to Nashville. After playing two seasons as the Tennessee Oilers, the team renamed itself the Tennessee Titans.

1982 Topps Football Vernon Perry

Contrast & Compare: 1977 O-Pee-Chee vs. Topps – George Hendrick and Joe Ferguson

Today I’ve got some more 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards which differ from their Topps counterparts.  1977 was the year that the Toronto Blue Jays entered the American League and OPC was apparently very intent on getting as many Jays as they could into the set. Apparently they figured as long as they were going through all that effort, they may as well update some of the other players.  Here are two of those…

George Hendrick was a two-time All-Star with the Indians, and has a pretty unique Topps card which shows him wearing an Indians visor and one of those generic windbreakers that made it on to a lot of Topps cards of the day (at least George wasn’t wearing it under his jersey).
1977 Topps George Hendrick
In December 1976, Hendrick was traded to the  Padres for Fred Kendall, Johnny Grubb and Hector Torres.  A photo was airbrushed to include a Padres cap, but you can tell that they took a photo from the same session and airbrushed over the visor, which gives it a sort of odd effect.
1977 OPC George Hendrick
It’s kind of a shame that they didn’t extend the airbrushing up a shade to make it look more like a proper cap, because it’s otherwise a pretty decent airbrushing job.

Hendrick would stay in San Diego for a little over one season, as he was traded to the Cardinals in May, 1978 for pitcher Eric Rasmussen.


Joe Ferguson is a guy I always think of as a Dodgers catcher, but he did make some detours during his career.  In June, 1976, the Dodgers traded him and two minor leaguers to St. Louis for outfielder Reggie Smith.  In 1977, Topps showed Ferguson in his Cardinals uniform, a combination which still looks odd to me all these years later.
1977 Topps Joe Ferguson

Ferguson wore #13 most of his career, a number he probably didn’t have much trouble obtaining.

This 1977 Topps card was already out of date by the time it came out, because in November, 1976, Ferguson and Bob Detherage – one of the same minor leaguers involved in the earlier trade – were sent to Houston for Larry Dierker and Jerry DaVanon.  O-Pee-Chee then used an airbrushed photo which is… um… attention-getting.
1977 OPC Joe Ferguson
Joe Ferguson was the Astros’ starting catcher in 1977, and halway through 1978 he was shipped back to the Dodgers.

Before I wrap up with Joe Ferguson, I wanted to go off on a quick tangent.

I had a bunch of cards of Joe Ferguson the catcher as a kid, and I also had several cards of Joe Ferguson the Bills quarterback…
1975 Topps Football Joe Ferguson

…And yet it never occurred to me for the longest time that they had the same name.  I guess that just goes to show how compartmentalized I kept the two sports and collections.