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Wild about checklists

Heh, that post title will draw in the readers!

You can tell how quickly I got over 2020 Topps. The last two posts have been about a 95-year-old author and checklists.

But no apologies, let's move forward. Or, um, backward:

These are the checklists of my youth. Ugly little things, aren't they?

Like most collectors from this time period, I wasn't exactly thrilled to pull these out of a pack. But I don't remember audibly uttering "awww, a checklist." There were 10-to-15 cards in a pack. Not every one was going to be a winner. And, besides, every card had a number on the back. You need every one to complete the set.

Still, I'm not advocating for these to return to card sets. We actually do still have them in sets. They look like this now:

The fronts of the cards are terribly random and usually don't have any sort of connection to the rest of the set.

But there's that checklist if you want to go nuts with your favorite writing implement. (Hey! My birthday is mentioned!)

I barely notice these checklists, though. It's not really what I miss about the cards from the '70s and '80s.

In terms of checklists from that time, what I really want is team checklists.

Yeah, stuff like this.

Bring THESE back.

I know we don't really need them. You can check out the players you need to fill out your team set on a variety of online sites.

But there's something about having that whole team checklist on one tidy card. You can hold that cardboard checklist in your hand and know exactly which players are on the list and which ones you need to finish off your team. It's very handy and it's not something the online team checklist can replicate -- maybe if you printed it out and then shrunk it down to 2 1/2-by-3 1/2 card form and then sealed it to some sturdier card stock.

So, yeah, I do miss those team checklists.

Recently, Bill, from Bill's Baseball Card Blog (no doubt about who's running that, huh?), sent me four team checklists.

Look at all those handsome signatures. These were the last four team checklists that I needed from the 1973 Topps set. My '73 set is now officially, officially complete (yeah, I know, still need a second Alston and a second Schmidt rookie).

And what's this?:

Not a one is checked on the back.

I do appreciate that. I think I have one or two that have one or two boxes checked.

Because, as much as I prefer unchecked checklists in my set completion bids, that IS the way you knew what you had and didn't have for the team set back then. There was no other way. I certainly don't blame collectors for checking those boxes, I did it plenty.

So, yeah, team checklists, I can still see a use for those. Sometimes you just don't want to get online for EVERYTHING.


Old Cards said…
As a kid in the 60's, we usually only got 5 cards in a pack, so pulling a checklist card was a major bummer. However, it was nice to have them, because we had no other way to know how many cards there were to collect.
Billy Kingsley said…
Fun fact, my most wanted card was a checklist from 1996-2004 or 05, when I finally got it.
RunForeKelloggs said…
I was watching one of those pack breaks and saw a checklist pulled. Ouch. You paid big bucks for a slot and got a checklist. I filled in the checklists as a kid and I still have them. I don't really plan to upgrade them.

I like those checklists shown as they are also from my youth. Do I want one in a pack now? No.
Jeremya1um said…
I would love to see team photo cards come back, with maybe team leader sections on the back instead of checklists. There would be a lot of blank space on the Rangers team checklist in 2020 Topps if they put the team checklist on the back.
I want to know what Topps’ deal is with Josh Harrison? I’m glad a Tiger got an extra card as part of a checklist, but he’s not really even the best player on their team and he appeared on a 2018 Update and 2019 Series 1 checklist front.
Those 74's... I couldn't help but to think about the 1990 Donruss checklists.
I love unchecked vintage checklists, as for todays' cards, I don't need no stinkin checklists (on a card).
Brett Alan said…
Ooohh...reading this, I realize that they NEED to do those autograph team checklists in 2022 Heritage--and then make a version where all the autographs are real! I mean, I'd never be able to afford one, but how cool would that be?

Personally, I don't really want there to be any kind of checklist cards in current product. As you say, it's easy enough to get that information you think anyone at this point is actually using the checklist cards? Team cards should have information about the team on the back. But if they're going to do the kind of checklists they do now, could they at least put the names of the featured players on it? That Cubs card you show has TWO different titles/captions on the back, and neither one mentions that Schwarber's first name is Kyle. The "Soaking It All In" card refers to the players only as "Tim and Yolmer". Hey, look...I got a card of TIM! Yuck.
Nick Vossbrink said…
I like looking at the checklists as a design challenge for making a card that looks like part of the set yet is all boring-ass text instead of a proper photo. I always hated pulling them when I was a kid though (and I did it a lot). No worse feeling than finding that one of the cards in the only pack you'd budgeted to purchase isn't even a photo.

I do like them on team/manager cards. Is a way to get some useful information on the back and is a fun bonus for us team collectors. I don't mind the way Topps does them on the current cards except that there doesn't seem to be a theme/story to the card fronts. Could be a cool subset but instead looks exactly like a lot of the modern team cards.
Matt said…
Here's a cool idea - Bring back those 1973-style Team Checklist cards, but with authentic signatures!
gregory said…
There's definitely a nostalgia factor when looking back on old checklist cards that have your very own childhood pen marks in some of the boxes. (Would ink even stick to today's slick card surfaces?)
CinciCuse Bill said…
Glad to help you complete your 1973 Topps set!
CinciCuse Bill
Fuji said…
Ugly? That collage of 1974 to 1985 Topps baseball checklists and all of those pastel colors were actually very easy on the eyes. But I'm not going to argue with you and your request to Topps to bring back those team cards/checklists.
GCA said…
It's really annoying that these days, the only difference between regular player base cards, checklists, and league leaders is now a ¼" x 1" yellow strip. And that's only on the LL's. The rest are inexplicably required to be action shots of players.

As a kid, I used to check off players names on stray checklists no matter what year the card was. A few of my checklists had "All Years" written down the middle.

I've had to replace a few 70's sets worth of team cards to upgrade to unmarked. (Anyone want some neatly checked '78-80 team cards?)

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