Contrast And Compare: 1977 OPC/Topps George Scott And Cecil Cooper

Of all the photo differences between 1977 Topps and O-Pee-Chee baseball, this is one of my favorites just because of the attention to detail by the airbrush artist.

First we have the Topps George Scott.  “Boomer” came up with the Red Sox but was part of a 10-player trade after the 1971 season.  Scott would play with the Brewers from 1972 to 1976
1977 Topps George Scott

In December, 1976, George Scott and Bernie Carbo were traded to the Red Sox for Cecil Cooper. I think everybody should take a moment to appreciate this impressive airbrush job.
1977 OPC George Scott
Not only does the Red Sox logo actually look like a Red Sox logo, but the artist attempted to duplicate the glare on the helmet and – this is the part that really gets me – also the reflection of the logo on the brim of the helmet. That is the kind of detail you don’t often see on Topps airbrushings.

I should also mention that a powder-blue Brewers road jersey was converted to a white Red Sox home jersey. Despite everything going on, it doesn’t scream “AIRBRUSHING!!!!”

..and as long as I’m pointing out every little detail, the signature on the Brewers card is laid out vertically (first over last name), while the Red Sox card signature is horizontal.

Ah, the heck with it, as long as I’m at it, I may as well share the other end of this deal. Here’s Cecil Cooper with the Red Sox…
1977 Topps Cecil Cooper

…and here he is airbrushed as a Brewer. Not as good of a job, but still nothing to be ashamed of.
1977 OPC Cecil Cooper

This trade worked out better for the Brewers, as Cecil Cooper would play 11 years for the Brew Crew, make the All-Star team five times, win three Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves, and twice lead the AL in RBI.

Without A Cup, Part 2: First Base

In 1974, Topps didn’t use a cup… That is to say, they didn’t use the golden “All-Star Rookie” cups on the cards which feature members of Topps 1973 All-Star Rookie team. Since Topps didn’t honor those players, I will. Today we’ll be looking at the first baseman on that team.

This is Gary Thomasson’s rookie card.  In 1973, Gary batted .285 with 4 homers and 30 RBI in 112 games, which was enough to get him on the All-Star Rookie team.

Gary played with the Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, and A’s from 1972 to 1980, after which he signed a contract with the Yomiuri Giants which would be, at the time, the biggest contract in Japanese baseball history.  He was a disappointment to the Yomiuri fans, hitting only 20 homers in his first season while coming close to breaking the record for strikeouts in a season.  Injuries while in Japan ended his career.

In March, 1978 he was one of 7 players sent to the A’s for Vida Blue.  Later that season, he was traded to the Yankees for the immortal Dell Alston and Mickey Klutts.  While with the Yankees, he would make his only World Series appearance, going 1-for-4 over the course of three games.

When the Major Leagues switched to Rawlings baseballs in 1977, Thomasson was the first player to hit a homer with the new ball.  That ball was given to the Hall of Fame.

Also in 1977, Thomasson led the Giants in stolen bases with a whopping total of 16.  Oooh, speed demons.

Baseball Digest selected Dan Driessen as the 1st baseman on their All-Star Rookie team, even though Driessen played more games at third in 1973.  There’s a reason for this, which I’ll get to when we discuss the Topps third baseman.

Since I don’t want to use the Driessen card image just yet, here’s a special bonus image of Cecil Cooper, who would play 29 games at first base for the 1973 Red Sox and would become their regular 1st baseman in 1974.  I couldn’t find any other rookies who played a significant number of games at first .

Coming up next:  One of the greatest players ever to come out of Rhode Island!