Contrast And Compare: Another Four From 1977 O-Pee-Chee Baseball

The subject of 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball came up on Twitter the other day, so I figured I’d take inspiration where I could and I decided to write another in a series of posts about 1977 O-Pee-Chee Baseball.

1977 OPC is a 264 card set that, like most OPC baseball sets, is a sort of parallel of the same year’s Topps set.  Unlike other years – probably because it was the first year of the Toronto Blue Jays – OPC was updated and contained many different Blue Jays and Expos than the Topps set.

I’m kind of surprised I hadn’t featured the Gary Carter cards before.  Here’s his 1977 Topps card:

For reasons unknown, OPC replaced the catching photo with a batting photo.

I think I like the catching pose better, but then again if OPC hadn’t have updated the photo I never would’ve tracked down that card.

Pete Vuckovich, who had been taken from the White Sox in the expansion draft, had a particularly unflattering photo in 1977 Topps.  They didn’t even bother to try to airbrush over the black White Sox jersey.

His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card is leaps and bounds beyond the Topps card

Vukovich was a reliever with the Jays, but a couple of years and a couple of teams later he would win the 1982 AL Cy Young Award while with the Brewers.

Pedro Garcia was with the Tigers in 1976, but was released during the offseason

He would sign with the Blue Jays early in 1977 and would play 41 games before being released in June

This last pair of cards is a little odd… Here’s Dock Ellis’ Topps card:

And here’s his O-Pee-Chee card:

Since the pose is so similar, I wonder if when they were doing OPC someone said “Hey, hand me that photo of Dock Ellis where he’s standing with his hand in his glove.”

Something about this photo on the OPC struck me as odd and it took me a few minutes to realize what it was… and it was actually two things.  First off, the spacing is unusually wide between the letters in “NEW YORK” on Ellis’ jersey;  and second, just the fact that Dock Ellis is shown in his Yankees road uniform was pretty unusual in itself.  I did a very quick review of Topps Yankees cards from 1974 to 1978 and out of what must be more than 100 cards there I counted just 7 which showed the road uniforms.

2018 Opening Day Base Cards With Different Photos, Part 4

Series 2 came out this past week, and I was happy to find out that the photo differences with Topps Opening Day weren’t limited to Series 1.  Series 2 has them as well;  time will tell what the ultimate count will be for the photo variations list, but I’m just happy that it hasn’t stopped.  The fun continues!

For those who missed the first three parts, this post features the Opening Day cards which I’ve confirmed as having a photo different from the Topps flagship counterpart. This is a work in progress and I’ll post a new batch every time I’ve found enough for a new post.

I’ll start with two examples from Series 2, the remainder are from Series 1.  With the exception of the Ohtani card, all throughout this post the Opening Day card is on the right.

Shohei Ohtani (Opening Day card #200)
No surprise that a different photo was used for Series 2.  I screwed up when scanning this pair and inadvertently put the Opening Day card on the left,

Sonny Gray (OD card # 177)
I’m 80% of the way through a Series 2 blaster, and this is the other pairing I found where I have both the Opening Day and Series 2 counterpart.

Kendrys Morales (OD card # 105)

Parker Bridwell (OD card # 197)

Zack Cozart (OD card # 33)
The graphics artists at Topps couldn’t have asked for an easier photoshopping job than this one.  Angels logo on the helmet, another on the sleeve, boom.  Done.

Alex Verdugo (OD card # 128)

Greg Allen (OD card # 121)

Summary of findings to date:
Of the 200 cards in 2018 Topps Opening Day…
43 cards have a different photo
5 cards are photoshopped (Only Giancarlo Stanton has the same photo)
3 cards use the same photo but is cropped differently
9 cards have the same photo but are missing the “Future Stars” banner in OD
83 cards are essentially the same as flagship
57 cards from Series 2 remain to be determined

If you’re interested in the full series of these posts, click on the 2018 Topps Opening Day tag below.

Four 1970’s Burger King Cards With Their Topps Counterparts

There was a bit of a conversation on Twitter regarding 1978 Burger King cards which act as a sort of ersatz “Update” for 1978 Topps, and that inspired me to get off my butt and share a couple of these cards, plus two more from 1979.

John Lowenstein came up with the Indians and spent the first 8 years of his career in Cleveland, which is what is reflected on his 1978 Topps card…

…Before being shipped off to Texas in a trade involving David Clyde and Willie Horton.  Lowenstein’s 1978 Burger King card (issued as part of a Rangers team set) reflects that.

Lowenstein would spend one year in Texas before being selected on waivers by the Orioles.  “Brother Low” would become a fan favorite and World Champion in Baltimore.

The Yankees signed Rich “Goose” Gossage as a free agent in November, 1977.. That was early enough for Topps to get their artists to do a head-to-toe job on Gossage’s Pirates uniform – aside from the fact that Gossage pitched for the Bucs in 1977, you can kinda tell from the pillbox-y shape of his Yankees cap.

Something which just occurred to me;  does the fact that his sleeves were airbrushed mean that the original photo features a gold undershirt?  You’d think that if the sleeves were black they’d just leave them as it is.


For the Burger King Yankees set, the airbrushed action photo is replaced by a real portrait.

Gossage would lead the league with 27 saves in 1978.

Moving forward a year, we have Doug Bird wearing a Royals uniform in the 1979 Topps set…

…But he was sold to the Phillies on April 3rd, 1979 and the 1979 Burger King Phillies set has him in an airbrushed Phillies cap.  It’s interesting that the BK sets were “put to bed” late enough to reflect an end-of-spring-training deal.

It’s a pretty decent airbrush job, as well… although the pinstripes are missing from the “home” uniform.

Finally, 1979 Topps team cards featured the managers in little round thumbnail portraits.

For the Burger King Phillies set, the team card was replaced by a card of manager Danny Ozark.

Interestingly enough, there was also a 1979 Burger King Yankees set, but that set did not include a solo card for manager Bob Lemon.  Instead, there was a team card which had the same front as the Topps team checklist card, but the back featured a list of Yankees team records instead of a checklist.

2018 Opening Day Base Cards With Different Photos, Part 3

As with the first two parts, this post features the Opening Day cards which I’ve confirmed as having a photo different from the Series 1 counterpart. This is a work in progress and I’ll post a new batch every time I’ve found enough for a new post.

Brandon Woodruff (Opening Day Card # 122)
I’m a sucker for cards where the ball seems to be coming right at you.

Eddie Rosario (OD Card # 174)
Kind of interesting that Jorge Polanco almost takes up as much real estate as Eddie Rosario

Troy Tulowitzki (OD Card # 106)
The Series 1 card is more interesting, but not exactly a great photo.

Alex Colome (OD Card # 194)
This one is a toss-up.

Anthony Banda (OD card # 136)
This pairing is interesting because the OD card is much more interesting than the Series 1 card.  BTW, Banda is in AAA with the Rays after this past winter’s 3 team trade that also saw Brandon Drury and Steven Souza changing teams.

Summary of findings to date:
27 cards still undetermined
31 cards have a different photo
5 cards are photoshopped (and may or may not have different photos)
3 cards use the same photo but is cropped differently
6 Series 1 “Future Stars” cards are the same but are missing the banner in OD
63 cards do not have a corresponding card in Series 1
65 cards are essentially the same as Series 1

2018 Opening Day Base Cards With Different Photos, Part 2

As with Part 1, this post features the Opening Day cards which I’ve confirmed as having a photo different from the Series 1 counterpart. This is a work in progress and I’ll post a new batch every time I’ve found enough for a new post.

I have to say… this is easily the most fun I’ve ever had with Topps Opening Day (This, by the way, is not a bold statement).

With all of these it’s Series 1 on the left and Opening Day on the right.  I’ll start with three that I referenced in part 1…

Giancarlo Stanton (Opening Day card # 60)

Next to the Shohei Ohtani rookie, this is probably the best known Opening Day card.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. (OD # 116)

Ian Kinsler (OD # 163)

Andrew Stevenson (OD # 135)
At first glance this seems like Topps photoshopped him into a different jersey, but it’s really two different photos (look at the player in the background between Stevenson’s legs).

Chance Sisco (OD # 123)

Summary of findings to date:
68 cards still undetermined
21 cards have a different photo
5 cards are photoshopped (and may or may not have different photos)
2 cards use the same photo but is cropped differently
4 Series 1 “Future Stars” cards are the same but are missing the banner in OD
63 cards do not have a corresponding card in Series 1
37 cards are essentially the same as Series 1

Three 1970’s Burger King Cards With Their Topps Counterparts

Because I don’t have time to write a deeply insightful post, I’m going to fall back on one of my ongoing series… in this case, “Contrast And Compare” in which I highlight Topps cards and their close relatives.  Today, it’s Burger King sets of the late 1970’s.

…Starting with Jim Spencer from the 1978 Burger King Yankees set.  Obviously these cards were produced by Topps.

Spencer was coming off his second Gold Glove season with the 1977 White Sox, and was obtained by the Yankees in a five-player late 1977 trade where Spencer was the only one who would play in the Majors after the trade.  Spencer would appear in only 71 games for the 1978 Yankees with only 15 games playing at first.

Here’s Spencer’s 1978 Topps card which shows him in those regrettable White Sox uniforms:

Al Oliver was a key member of the Pirates from 1969 to 1977 before being sent to Texas in a four-team trade which also involved Bert Blyleven, Willie Montanez, Jon Matlack, John Milner and Ken Henderson.

Oliver would play four seasons with the Rangers, two as an All-Star.  Perhaps he welcomed the trade;   after all, he looks kinda bored on his 1978 Topps card:

Finally we’ll wrap up with a 1979 Burger King Yankees Ron Guidry card.

Guidry was coming off of a phenomenal Cy Young Award season;  this career Yankee got a different card even though it wasn’t completely necessary.

Here’s his 1979 Topps card…

If you think the photo used for the Burger King card seems familiar, that’s because it was also used in 1979 Topps — but on a Record Breaker card:

2018 Opening Day Base Cards With Different Photos, Part 1

I’m not a huge fan of parallels… which means that I’m usually not a huge fan of Topps Opening Day base cards, which are usually pseudo-parallels of their Series 1 & 2 equivalents.

But when a set like Opening Day or Topps Chrome uses different photos than were used in the flagship Topps set… Well that catches my attention.  They’re like non-short-printed variations (with the corresponding non-short-print price).

It does seem like this year’s Opening Day set has more cards with different photos than it has in the past… or the recent past, anyway.

As soon as the Opening Day checklist was released, one of the first things I did was to bump it up against the Series 1 checklist to see which players are depicted with different teams (guaranteeing, at the very least, photoshopping into a new uniform).

This is that list:
33 Zack Cozart (LAA)
60 Giancarlo Stanton (NYY – confirmed this is the same photo)
163 Ian Kinsler (LAA)
184 Yangervis Solarte (TOR)
195 Marcell Ozuna (STL)

This was a somewhat disappointing start because it seems like there were more updated cards in the past… but this *was* an odd offseason so I won’t get all judgemental.  As I would find out, things would be better than I’d feared.

The “Future Star” cards from Series 1 don’t have that graphic in Opening Day… I mention this in case that type of variation floats your boat (variations such as this leave my boat in dry dock).

I bought two jumbo packs of Opening Day last week, and in that post I pointedly featured only one base card.  However, when I started putting the Opening Day cards into my “Current Rosters” binders, I was surprised to find that a bunch of the Opening Day cards used different photos… and that’s just the cards I happen to have.

I then found out, from the Twitter account of internationally-famous collector and all-around swell guy Mark Hoyle, that Jackie Bradley Jr. (Card #116) has a different base card, and Rafael Devers (#2) has the same photo but Opening Day is cropped looser and is horizontally-oriented.

Yesterday I found out from Once A Cub and his brand new 2018 Topps Opening Day Blog that Jose Quintana (#199) and Nomar Mazara (#104) also have different photos.  From what I’ve seen so far, I’m happy to pimp this blog.  Once A Cub digs deep into the set one card at a time, comparing the photos to Series 1, team sets, and also going out and finding the original photo plus info about the photo… Lots of great information, I recommend it.

Conversely, at this point i have confirmed 14 cards to use the same photo as Series 1.  I currently believe there are 62 cards which are “previews” of Series 2, plus the Shohei Ohtani…

…which I can’t believe won’t feature a different photo in Series 2.

So what follows are the Opening Day cards from my collection which, at this point, I’ve confirmed as having a different photo…:

Elvis Andrus (Opening Day Card #101)

Ryan McMahon (OD #115)

Nick Williams (OD #120)

Clint Frazier (OD #117)

Clayton Kershaw (OD #1)

Brian Anderson (OD #131)

Almost missed this one as it seems very much like the same play.

Daniel Murphy (OD #111)

I also found out about Willie Calhoun (OD #118) having a different photo, but I don’t yet have the Series 1 card (which has a similar photo but is a vertical card).

I’ll have additional parts of this at some point, once I’ve got enough cards scanned to make it worthwhile.


US vs. Canada In The “1977 Baseball Card” Competition

It’s been a busy week and the past day or two I’ve been spending my small amounts of free time watching Olympic mixed doubles curling… So out of necessity this post is going to be relatively quick, and will involve comparing three 1977 Topps Baseball cards to their corresponding (yet different) 1977 O-Pee-Chee Baseball cards.

First off, we’ll start with the Blue Jays’ John Scott.  Scott was the Padres’ 1st round draft pick (and 2nd overall behind Chris Chambliss) in the January, 1970 draft.  In 1976 he played for the AAA Hawaii Islanders under Roy Hartsfield, who would become the Jays’ first manager… so it’s no coincidence that he was among the first players obtained by the Jays (purchased from the Padres on Oct 22, 1976).

For Topps, he shared a rookie card with Andre Dawson, Gene Richards and Denny Walling.

But since he was a Blue Jay, he got his own card in the O-Pee-Chee set.

John Scott did not play well in his only long look in the Majors, batting .240 with 26 runs, 15 RBI and 10 stolen bases.  He’d never play in MLB after 1977, but he would play in Japan for the Yakult Swallows and make his way into the 1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball set.

As long as I’m sharing John Scott cards, here’s his 1976 SSPC card from his time with the Padres.

OK, getting back to 1977…

In 1976, Phil “Scrap Iron” Garner was the starting second baseman for the Oakland A’s, and was named to the All-Star Game, backing up starter Bobby Grich.

The A’s were, at the time, cleaning house of all of the players who were likely to leave as free agents, and Garner was involved in a 9-player trade that had him going to the Pirates.

Garner’s numbers with the 1977 Pirates were similar to his numbers with the 1976 A’s, except he went from 54 runs scored to 99, and his homers more than doubled from 8 to 17.

…and how about that airbrushing job?

For the most part I’m collecting 1977 O-Pee-Chee cards which have photos which have different photos or are airbrushed, and I skip past cards which have different cropping.  This last card falls into that category, but I didn’t realize it until after I got the OPC.  Here’s the Topps card…

In 1977, Larry Parrish was 23 and in his third season as the Expos’ starting 3rd baseman.  He struggled a bit in 1976 and 1977, but would bounce back nicely in 1978 and have an All-Star season in 1979.

O-Pee-Chee cropped his photo much tighter than Topps did.

Like Phil Garner, Parrish would later manage in the Majors.  Like John Scott, Parrish would play in Japan for the Yakult Swallows (and also the Hanshin Tigers).


Contrast And Compare: Three From 1977 Burger King Yankees

I thought that some of you might appreciate having something to read this morning, so this is my Christmas gift to you. I hope your day is merry, no matter how you spend it!

I recently got a COMC shipment which contained a number of 1970’s Burger King cards. Here are the first three, all from the 1977 Burger King Yankees set, along with each card’s Topps counterpart.

Don Gullett turned a steady career with the Reds into a 6-year contract with the Yankees, and it was early enough in the offseason that Topps was able to airbrush him into a Yankees cap (and somehow mistakenly put his name in green type).

His 1977 Burger King Yankees card is a similar portrait, but shows him in an actual Yankees cap. His expression on the BK card seems to say “Can you believe how bad my Topps card is?”

Injuries curtailed Gullett’s career in the Bronx. He only pitched 2 seasons with the Yanks, and was done with baseball at the age of 27.

Jim Wynn spent 1976 with the Braves. I got to meet him and get his autograph that year, the first Major Leaguer I’d ever seen up close, and despite his 5’10” height which contributed to his knickname as “The Toy Cannon”, he seemed huge to me.

Wynn was purchased from the Braves during the offseason, a move reflected in his 1977 Burger King card.

He unfortunately put up anemic offensive numbers with the Yankees and was released in July. He’d hook up with the Brewers, but would not play after 1977.

Paul Blair was an 8-time Gold Glove center fielder with the Orioles.  His 1977 Topps card shows him in Yankee Stadium, which could be considered to be foreshadowing if not for many AL players having their photos taken at Yankee Stadium.

Like Wynn, the end of his career was approaching and the O’s traded him for for Elliott Maddox (who scarcely played for the O’s) and Rick Bladt (who played the season with AAA Rochester before the end of his pro career).

Blair would play the 1977 and 1978 seasons in the Bronx, get released early in 1979, hook up with the Reds and then go back to the Yankees in 1980 to close out his career.

I’ll close out with an interesting Paul Blair fact:  He played in 28 World Series games and 6 World Series – four with the O’s and two with the Yanks.

Contrast And Compare: Six Cards From Three Decades

Running through some Topps cards and their variations-of-sorts, as an admittedly last-minute post.

Doug Ault had a cup of coffee with the Rangers in 1976, got selected by the Blue Jays in the expansion draft, and shared a rookie infielders card with Rich Dauer, Orlando Gonzalez and Phil Mankowski.

Because he was a first-year Blue Jay, O-Pee-Chee gave him his own card.

Ault hit two homers in the Jays’ first game, was a regular with the team and made the Topps All-Star Rookie Team.  He wouldn’t repeat the success he had in his first year and was done in the Majors after 1980.

In 1980, Omar Moreno was coming off two seasons of leading the N.L. in steals.

That got him into the 1980 Burger King Pinch Hit & Run set in the “Run” category and a different photo was used… but he’s still pictured with a bat instead of running. Go figure.

In 1980 Moreno got a career-high 96 stolen bases… but would finish one behind Montreal’s Ron LeFlore who had 97. In 1981 he’d finish second to a different Expo, Tim Raines.

In 2013 Doug Fister went 14-9, 3.67 for the Tigers, surprising people by breaking out when he was 29 years old.
After that season, the Tigers traded him to the Nationals for Ian Krol, Steve Lombardozzi and Robbie Ray. Since Opening Day gets released after Topps Series 1, a different photo of Fister was photoshopped into a Nats uniform.

Fister went 16-6, 2.41 in that first season with the Nats, but has been inconsistent since then and is currently with the Red Sox. The argument could be made that the best player in that trade was Robbie Ray, who was an all-star this year for the Diamondbacks. He was traded to Arizona in the three-team trade that sent Didi Gregorius to the Yankees.