Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Getting somewhat serious about the '70s countdown

While waiting and waiting for last night's post to appear on everyone's blog rolls -- the post was inexplicably delayed by Blogger for three hours -- I went through the cards that I had featured, cataloged them, filed them ... and discovered I had five of them already.


Then it hit me. No matter how well you prepare and research, something's going to go wrong. You're going to acquire a card you already had. Blogger's not going to publish the post at the time you scheduled. Despite your best efforts, you're screwed.

Planning and preparation merely ensures that there are fewer issues, not no issues.

This brings me to my long-ago announced Best 100 Cards of the 1970s countdown. Since I decided I was going to do this, I've kind of lost focus and I still don't know when I'm going to pull this off.

But at least there are small spurts of effort interspersed with all of the uncaring. For example, I have researched the cards from one of the sets from which I own few cards. I now have the majority of 1973 Topps committed to memory and know which cards might make the countdown.

A few weeks ago, I made more progress and ordered some of those '73 cards that could make the countdown. I would prefer owning all of the countdown cards. Maybe that's not possible for a legitimate countdown, but that is the plan.

So here are some of the cards you might see whenever this little project comes to pass:

Lots of good stuff here. A player looking to the ump for the call is instant photo gold. And it appears we have the guy who placed the tag in the photo, too. For more on this game (some say it took place on June 28, 1972), you'll have to wait to see if this card shows up on the countdown.

One of the epic dust cards of the 1970s. I can tell you that the Mets player sliding into home is Cleon Jones. But I have so many more questions that will only be settled if it appears on the countdown. That dust, however, will never settle.

OK, this is where we get into a discussion of "best". How can a card featuring someone with no team name across his chest be considered for a "Best 100 Cards of the '70s" list?

Well, as is often the case with my lists, "best' does not merely include "best quality photograph." "Best" means "memorable", "iconic" "most capable of generating a discussion." You want a list of cards with photos that are perfectly exquisite then wait for me to be able to afford a box of 2014 Stadium Club. But that's not what I'm going for here.

I want cards that are the most memorable. The John Ellis card qualifies.

So does this monstrosity. Everything about this card is comically awful. Bob Locker is airbrushed -- poorly -- from an A's uniform to a Cubs uniform. But they didn't include a uniform number on the back of his jersey. The A's outfielder in the background is also airbrushed to look like a Cub with a giant red "C" added to his chest because why not? However, the shoes -- which I think are Oakland A's gold -- are left untouched. Throw in the fact that Topps wants you to believe that the Cubs played the Twins in 1972 and we've got something to tell the kiddies.

The only problem is this card isn't the only example of such bizarre artistic behavior in this set. And that will have to be carefully considered when whittling down the candidates.

I still have a couple of '73s to order. And then I will study that other Topps set that has been off my radar -- 1970.

After that, I need to decide what I'm going to do with the 1976 SSPC series. Or whether any Hostess cards should be added. Because if that's the case, I still have a lot of work to do.

I know, I know, all this planning doesn't mean the countdown is going to go perfectly.

But it makes me feel better about the final product.


  1. It's probably possible to do a Top 100 countdown on '73 Topps alone.

  2. That Locker card cracks me up, even before reading your great words.

  3. You could always ignore 1970 and claim the decade as 1971-1980 since there wasn't a year zero.

  4. I'm calling that Cheney card a play from June 28, 1972. At first, I thought it was an earlier game in the year when Cheney was taking third on a wild pitch. But from that image you see the outfield wall in the background. Also, look close at the ump and there is the tell tale sign of a ball bag hanging on his right hip.

    In the 8th inning, Cheney attempted to steal home and was out catcher to pitcher.

  5. The blogroll glitch was pretty frustrating. Sometimes going into the post editing feature and hitting the Update button will fix it, but that wasn't doing the trick this morning. It was some kind of systemic failure or an experimental study on the fragile psyches of bloggers.

  6. This was the first year I collected cards so it will be a fun read if you focus on the 1973 set. Having grown up in Oakland the Locker card made us 9 year old kids laugh to see a "Cub" pitch at the Coliseum. My son saw your post and asked "What would Topps have done if Locker had been traded to the Twins?" Also, why was the Giants player face airbrushed in the Chaney card?

  7. That might be Reggie in the background of Lockers card

  8. Looking forward to the countdown. The 73 set does have some interesting photography.

  9. Dust card!? Dust card!!!!!
    Don't ever let that dust settle down please!