Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cardboard appreciation: 1978 Topps Larry Hisle

(My daughter is rooting for a snow day today. I am rooting for no snow day. Such is the life as a parent in the Northeast. Here's to baseball cards and the temperature staying at 36 degrees. Don't go any lower! This is the 92nd edition of Cardboard Appreciation):

Do you remember the first time you discovered an error on a baseball card?

I do. It was the 1978 Topps Larry Hisle. It was an easy error to spot. After seeing a number of '78 cards already, all featuring the player's position listed within a drawing of a baseball, I knew this one was different. The stitching on the baseball was missing.

The lack of stitching really made the card look odd, as if it wasn't fully dressed.

Topps never corrected the error. But I think I know why.

It was trying to draw your attention away from the hideous photo that it selected in order to make airbrushing Hisle into a Brewers uniform and cap an easier task. Hisle looks like he just spotted ninjas out of the corner of his eye. Either that or he's so startled that someone painted him out of a Twins uniform.

That was my first experience with the error card. It certainly wouldn't be my last. In five years time, collectors would go so over the top with error cards that it would become its own collecting category. Years later, card companies would purposely create errors and that basically ruined the concept of the error card.

But for one brief shining moment, I thought I was the smartest guy in the room because there was no stitching on the baseball on Hisle's baseball card.


  1. It would seem to me that purposely creating an error card isn't really an error. Leave it to the card makers to try to cash in on what was happening in the secondary market.

  2. I still remember schoolyard conversations about the border color errors on Garry Templeton and Tim Conroy's cards in 1988. Good times.

  3. Keith Comstock 1998 Topps no color in team lettering. Almost paid $8 for it at a card shop when I was 7 but decided against it. I've never made a sound financial decision since. -Andy

  4. As airbrush jobs go, this one's not that bad, although they did forego an attempt to give him a number on his back.