Nearly 38 Years In The Making: A Complete Set Of 1975 Topps Football

I’ve never been so excited to see a Dallas Cowboy.
1975 Topps Football Cliff Harris
I recently picked up this 1975 Cliff Harris card, and when I got it home and slipped it into the appropriate binder sheet, I had officially finished a football set that I’d started collecting through wax packs back in 1975.

Just a little side note: The images that accompany this post are some of the cards I’ve picked up over the past few years to complete the set.
1975 Topps Football Fran Tarkenton
In 1975, I went nuts for card collecting. If it came in a wax wrapper, I was spending my allowance on it. I completed the Topps baseball set that year, bought a lot of Wacky Packs – admittedly, everybody in my elementary school bought Wacky Packs – and bought a bunch of Fleer “Pioneers of Baseball” (which is one of the few sets I still can’t put a finger on).

1975 Topps Football Larry Brown

I also bought a lot of Topps football back in 1975, more football than I’d ever bought before or since. For whatever reason, I didn’t get into 1976 football quite the same way, and after that my post-baseball pack buying switched over to hockey. I still enjoyed the football cards I had, but I didn’t bother going any further with it.
1975 Topps Football Darryl Stingley

Over the years, I gave some thoughts to working on the set again, but I kept coming up against the same obstacle: the Dan Fouts rookie.  I don’t know what “book” is on this, but I’d seen the card selling for $20-30, and that was much more than it was worth to me.
1975 Topps Football Dan Fouts

About five years ago I decided to make an effort to complete the set… but with limits on both spending and condition. I decided to put a $10 limit of how much I’d spend on any given card in the set (I think I ended up getting this Fouts for $7), and I also decided not to get anything that was nicer than VG/EX. As a kid, I took better care of my cards than most other kids did, but that still meant dinged corners and the occasional minor crease. I wasn’t going to upgrade the cards I’ve had all these years, so there’s no point in getting mint cards when 75% of the set was VG/EX at best and would stay that way.

1975 Topps Football Jake Scott

For a couple of years, “working on the set” meant keeping one eye out looking for affordable, lesser condition stars that I needed. Once I got the Fouts and a couple of other key cards out of the way, I ramped up my efforts.

It finally came down to two rookies named Cliff. I got Cliff Branch on COMC…
1975 Topps Football Cliff Branch
…but for some reason I had an issue finding a Cliff Harris rookie that was selling within my price range… until the show I’d mentioned up top.

And now, a long-term, on-and-off goal has finally been accomplished!  And I’ve got a big, ol’ grin on my face.

1975 Topps Football Drew Pearson

Now that I’m finished with this set, I’m tempted to resume another non-baseball set from my younger days, but I’m not sure what that would be. My kneejerk reaction is to complete the 1979/80 Hockey set, one I’ve always loved…
1979-80 Topps Carol Vadnais
…But the main obstacle for that one can be summed up in two words:

Gretzky

Rookie

Ain’t no way in hell that card’s fitting in my budget, even if it were crumpled and torn up and taped back together like this little beauty.
1973 All Time HR Leaders_0001

Of course, I could always make my goal to collect everything in that set except for the Gretzky rookie, and I can just leave the spot blank or buy a reprint or something.

…Or maybe I should stop taking on “just one more set” and focus on my main priorities.

But where’s the fun in that?

The Mystery Box Of 1970 Topps Makes Its Last Stop In Cleveland

A couple of months ago I bought a box of 100+ 1970 Topps card from my semi-local card shop. I’ve been sharing the cards for quite a while now, and I’m going to wrap it up with a bunch of Cleveland Indians.

We’ll start off with a beat-up team card.
1970 Topps Indians Team
The Tribe went 76-86 in 1970, finishing in 5th place in the AL East, 32 games out of first but ahead of the lowly Senators.

1970 Topps Chuck Hinton
Chuck Hinton was an All-Star in 1965 and had originally signed with the Orioles, but was selected by the Senators in the 1960 expansion draft. Aside from the Sens and the Indians, he also played one year for the Angels. In 1962 he hit .310, which made him the only player on the “new” Washington Senators (the team that started in 1961 and moved to Texas for the 1972 season) to hit .300. By the time this card came out, he was serving in a utility role, and 1971 would be his last season. Hinton passed away earlier this year.

1970 Topps Dennis Higgins
Dennis Higgins pitched for 7 years in the majors, but 1970 was his sole season with the Indians. He made 58 appearances in 1970 with a 4-6 record and 11 saves. He’s the cousin of recent White Sox & Twins third baseman Joe Crede (Yes, indeedy).

1970 Topps Larry Brown
Larry Brown played from 1963 to 1974 with several teams, and had been a starter with the Indians for much of the 1960’s, but was in a utility role in 1970. His brother is former MLB catcher Dick Brown.

1970 Topps Larry Burchart
Larry Burchart pitched in 29 Major League games, all in 1969. That year he was a Rule V draftee from the Dodgers organization, and he stayed with the Indians all year, but the rest of his career would be two seasons pitching for the Indians’ AAA team in Wichita.

1970 Topps Max Alvis
Max Alvis was an All-Star in 1965 and 1967 and lead the A.L. in HBP in 1963 and 1965. He played for the Indians from 1962 to 1969, but was traded to the Brewers on April 4th, 1970… Just a couple of days after they officially became the Brewers (having gone through spring training as the Seattle Pilots).

According to Wikipedia, there was an attempt to move the Indians to Seattle in either 1962, 1964 or 1965, depending on which article you look at. I don’t remember ever hearing anything like that before, I wonder if it’s true. Does anybody know anything about that?

I also found out from a January, 1970 article in the Spokane Daily Chronicle that Dallas had also made a play for the Pilots, but would lose out to Bud Selig and his Milwaukee group.

…and you thought this was going to be all about the Indians!

Here’s the best cartoon of the bunch, from Larry Burchart’s card:
1970 Topps Larry Burchart Cartoon

…And that does it for the Mystery Box… It put a good dent in my 1970 needs, and was a lot of fun to go through and write about. Hope you all enjoyed it!