Monday, March 17, 2014

Greenbacks


It's St. Patrick's Day, and I think everyone has seen all of the green-colored cards that Topps and other companies have produced over the years.

I did my own retrospective on that topic on a previous St. Paddy's Day.

But what people forget -- what people always forget -- is that there are backs to cards, too.

And in the glory years of my collecting hobby, that fantastic period between 1974-85, those card backs were GREEN.

Like so:








That's 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982 and 1985. All green backs.

In fact, throw in a few more green-themed backs ...







... and for awhile, green was king as far Topps card backs go. (I realize the AL teams in 1997 had red backs, not green).

Until the Upper Deckization of Topps, beginning in the early 1990s and lasting all the way through the present, green was featured on card backs more than any other color (or non-color, I don't want to get in a discussion over whether white and black are colors).

That's not the case anymore.

I know because I looked it up.

Here is the breakdown:

Black (2): 1972, 2007
Blue (7): 1965, 1970, 1980, 1984, 1996, 1998, 2003
Gray (6): 1952, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1962
Green (11): 1954, 1967, 1971, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1997, 2001
Orange (6): 1962, 1964, 1972, 1978, 1983, 1988
Pink (1): 1969
Red (11): 1952, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1966, 1975, 1981, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1997
White (14): 1992, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Off-White (4): 1955, 1956, 1959, 1994
Yellow (10): 1960, 1961, 1963, 1968, 1970, 1973, 1987, 1990, 1999, 2002

A few years are duplicated because sets like 1970 featured two colors that dominated the back. Also, a lot of the 1950s sets include gray with other color elements, so I could have listed 1955 and 1959, for example, under "green" (and "red"). But I didn't.

But work it however you want, there is little doubt in my mind that up until the mid-1990s or so, green backs were the way to go for Topps, even if some of them were the most god-awful boring things you've ever seen.

White backgrounds, as we've come to find, make card backs much more readable.

But nobody is wearing white today, are they?

1 comment:

  1. White is in the midst of a dynasty. The past seven years. And 10 out of the last 11. I gotta support pink and black. Always been fans of the underdog.

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