Contrast And Compare: More 1977 O-Pee-Chee And Topps Baseball

1977 was one of the few times where Topps’ Canadian partner O-Pee-Chee attempted to build upon the Topps baseball set. This was likely due to the excitement over having two Canadian teams for the first time, as 1977 was the first year for the Toronto Blue Jays.

This first card I’m featuring is an example of Topps getting screwed by the roster shuffling of expansion teams.

Shortly after the end of the 1976 season, the Blue Jays purchased several players from the Padres, including Catcher/3rd Baseman Dave Roberts (not to be confused with 1970’s pitcher Dave Roberts).
1977 Topps Dave Roberts
Dave Roberts was the first-overall draft pick in 1972, and like Dave Winfield the following year, Roberts went straight to San Diego. He played 100 games as a rookie and made the Topps Rookie All-Star team. Roberts had some success in 1973, struggled in 1974, spent much of 1975 and all of 1976 in the minors, and it was during that time that the Padres decided to convert him to a catcher.

But then in February, 1977 the Jays traded Roberts back to the Padres for pitcher Jerry Johnson. Topps’ airbrush artists said “Son of a —-” and O-Pee-Chee said “Where are the Roberts photos that haven’t been airbrushed?”
1977 OPC Dave Roberts
Roberts would play one more season with the Padres before being involved in a five-player trade that would send him to to Texas.


Wayne Garrett was acquired from the Mets in July, 1976 and Topps used a photo of Wayne taken in Shea that August or September.
1977 Topps Wayne Garrett

O-Pee-Chee figured they could do better by their Canadian teams, so they got a more current photo taken during Spring Training in home whites.
1977 OPC Wayne Garrett
With the Mets, Garrett was a member of the 1969 Miracle Mets, and also the 1973 NL Champion Mets. Wayne lasted exactly two years with the Expos; they acquired him on 7/21/76 and sold him to the Cardinals on 7/21/78. He would finish out the season in St. Louis and then spend two seasons in Japan with the Chunichi Dragons.

Why The “1972 Mini” Cards Might Look Wrong To You

Whenever Topps does something Heritage-y, Archive-y or Lineage-y, my thoughts turn to “How will they re-create these cards for teams which didn’t exist at the time?”

So when I saw that they were going to do 1972 minis, my first thought was –

Well, to be honest, my first thought was “Minis. Why did it have to be minis?”

– But my second thought was “I’ll be curious to see how they handle all the teams that they can’t just copy from the original 1972 cards” (i.e. the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Rays, Diamondbacks and Nationals).

So after pulling this Giancarlo Stanton card from a pack…
2013 Topps 1972 Mini Giancarlo Stanton
…I just shook my head and disapprovingly said “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude…”

The first thing I noticed was the fact that the “LINS” part of “MARLINS” sort of sags down closer to the border, which looks sloppy.

…but something else about it looked wrong.

After a minute or two, I realized that the big problem is on the perspective. The letters are supposed to look like they’re coming out from behind the photo, all of them originating at some distant vanishing point.

Here, I’ll give you an example… I took a 1972 Frank Robinson card and used pink lines to extend the drop shadow on the letters (This was done virtually; no HOFers were harmed during this exercise):
1972 Topps Frank Robinson with lines
The letters are meant to look like they’re emerging from some distant point behind Frank’s head.  These lines don’t all converge on exactly the same point, but that’s probably just me not drawing the pink lines right… it’s still close enough to get the idea across.

But look at what happens when I do the same thing to the Stanton card:
2013 Topps 1972 Mini Giancarlo Stanton with lines
See? It’s a freakin’ mess. The person who did this may have the skills, but didn’t “get” what the original artist was doing… or maybe they weren’t given enough time to do it right.

Whatever the reason for this, it fails a critical test: Is it better than I could’ve done?  I’ve got some artistic ability and I like to play around with Paint Shop Pro, but I am not, by anyone’s definition, a Graphic Artist.  I’m not even one of these people who thinks they can call themselves a Graphic Designer because he/she made up a business card saying that they’re a Graphic Designer.

…So when someone who makes a living out of manipulating pixels, someone who ostensibly calls this their career, when that person produces something which makes me feel like I could do better, then that’s a failure.

You know what? I’m not objective on this. We should ask someone who doesn’t have a stake in this… someone like…. Oh, I don’t know… Someone like the 1971 National League ERA Leaders. I just happen to have them here… OK, guys. Look at this mini. What do you think of the job Topps did on this card?

1972 Topps 1971 NL ERA Leaders

See, it’s not just me. Even Seaver, Roberts and Wilson are unimpressed.

1974 Week: Washington “Nat’l Lea.” cards, Part 4

One of four “Dave Roberts” to have played in the Majors, one of three “Dave Roberts” to have played for the Padres, and one of two “Dave Roberts” to appear in the 1974 set (the other was a pitcher with the Astros).  This Dave Roberts played from 1972 to 1982 with the Padres, Rangers, Astros and Phillies.  Roberts was the Padres first pick in the 1972 draft, and the day after the draft he signed a contract and made his major league debut.  He was a member of Topps All-Rookie Team for 1972.

Roberts, John Scott and Dave Hilton (from one of yesterday’s posts) were  purchased from the Padres by the Blue Jays on 10/22/76 – before the expansion draft, making them among the first Blue Jays.  Roberts was traded back to the Padres for Jerry Johnson in February, 1977, so he never appeared in a Blue Jays uniform.  He did, however, appear in the 1977 Topps set as a poorly-airbrushed Blue Jay.

Vicente Romo was a Mexican pitcher of some renown, and given the proximity of San Diego to Mexico, he would probably have been a big draw had the team not stunk.

Rich Morales played for the White Sox and Padres between 1967 and 1974.

Rich Troedson pitched for the Padres in 1973 and 1974.

I had assumed that the mustard yellow uniforms were road uniforms, and it wasn’t much of a stretch to assume that few to none of the photos used were taken in San Diego, so it puzzled me that they would be wearing yellow in their team photo which obviously would not be taken on the road.  I did some research and it looks like in 1972 and 1973 their home and road uniforms were largely the same except that home said “PADRES” and road said “SAN DIEGO”.  So the Padres uniforms were ugly and monotonous.  Good combo.