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C.A.: 1975 Hostess Rusty Staub (and my latest Beckett Vintage article)

(Welcome back to the blog. It's National Peanut Butter Fudge Day today. Have you done your part? My dad used to make the best fudge. It was the only food-making thing he did. I miss it. Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 296th in a series):

The December/January issue of Beckett Vintage Magazine started reaching subscribers' mailboxes last week.

I am a subscriber myself but I have yet to get my magazine. I think there was a mix-up with my renewal date and whoever keeps tabs on that stuff. I may have to make a follow-up call next week.

But in the mean time, my sister-in-law -- yes, she has a subscription -- was nice enough to mail off her copy so I could do a proper promotion job on the blog! She's the best sister-in-law ever. Talk about a friend of the blog!

That is the latest issue with Mike Singletary on the front. But take a gander at the bottom left corner! Yes, those are my cards! Yes, that is my article! Yes, I made the cover! Sort of.

The article addresses a favorite topic among collectors, particularly ones my age -- airbrushed cards and the fantastic disasters that passed for baseball cards in the '60s, '70s and '80s.

Most of my focus is on the '70s, because that's what I know best, but also it's where you can have the most fun when writing an article. I wanted this to be fun, and because Topps had absolutely no fear when it came to airbrushing in the '70s, that is where the fun resided.

For those collectors and bloggers familiar with the '70s, this is well-traveled territory. I've done a number of airbrushing posts on my own blog. But it's cool to get it all in one slick, magazine article and see all of those wonderful cards in one place.

A separate part of the article addresses 15 memorable airbrushings in which I single out examples. Some of the famous examples are there but I tried to spread it out a little.

One of the cards I wanted to highlight is the 1975 Hostess Rusty Staub card (you know, what this Cardboard Appreciation post is about). It really belongs in the airbrushing Hall of Fame.

I wanted so much to get this card in the article that I had to buy it online, because I like the scans for the magazine to be from my collection if I can help it. The Hostess Staub didn't make it to my house in time, though, and we had to improvise to get the image in the magazine. But, no harm, the wonderful card is here with me now.

The mystifying part of this card is the old photo that was used. Hostess used Topps photos for most of its '70s cards. Staub did not have a licensing agreement with Topps during the early 1970s, but by 1974 he was back in Topps sets and appearing in an actual Mets uniform. The same goes for the 1975 set.

So why is Staub painted into a Mets helmet on his 1975 Hostess card?

The even better part of the picture is that someone went about painting Mets pinstripes on to Staub's Expos jersey but either ran out of ink or simply gave up. The half-finished look of the card continues on to the fact that Staub is wearing Mets and Expos logos at the same time!!! Well now, that ties the whole card together!


Staub, after all, was Le Grand Orange. He could do it all.

I'll let you read my flippant comments about the other airbrushed examples in the article on your own time. I tried to reference as many examples as I could, but there is no way I could fit them all even into a long-form article.

So, like I often do when a new magazine article comes out -- this is my eighth already -- I am adding a postscript here on the blog.

Here are five more references to famous airbrushed cards to make the 15 in the magazine and even 20.

Paul Lindblad and Bill Hands, 1973 Topps

Honestly, both of these should have been in the article, but there is such a thing as overdosing on 1973 airbrushing examples. There are TOO many. '73 Topps alone could be a two-part series.

The Hands has been addressed on this blog and everywhere on the internet: how the heck is a Twins pitcher throwing in Wrigley Field 23 years before the start of interleague play?

The Linblad deserves mention because it's one of those full-body airbrushing jobs but also because he looks like a crossing guard with a reflective hat, belt and socks. There's no way the drivers won't see those kiddies crossing the street.

1977 Topps and OPC Richie Zisk

No O-Pee-Chee references in the magazine story, unfortunately. But if there was, this would be one of the first. I've also mentioned the airbrushing and re-cropping of the Zisk card on the blog.

1974 Topps Angels half dozen

Yeah, I know, "this is way more than five, night owl!". I like to break my own rules.

I always feel a bit bad for collectors of teams who are forced to accumulate multiple airbrushing examples to complete their set. With the '74 Angels, I'm not even including the Joe Lahoud and Denny Doyle examples, which are also both airbrushed but are less obvious examples because both players are looking to the sky.

The Monteagudo example looks pretty good, and it could be an actual Angels hat. But I'm suspicious because he pitched in just 15 games for the Angels in '73 and before that he was in the minors in 1971 and 1972.

1976 Topps Dave Nelson
The '76 Topps set stands out, compared with the sets that came immediately before it, and those immediately after it in that it has relatively few obvious airbrushed examples (traded set excluded, of course).
It's for that reason that when you do see an airbrushed card in 1976, it REALLY looks weird. And Dave Nelson's card is one of those.
I love the "satin finish" that some airbrushers placed on caps with some of the cards in the first half of the '70s. It does make me wonder what it would be like to watch a game with players wearing satin hats.

1973 Topps Ken Aspromonte

I'll throw a manager card in here to end this. I don't know why but airbrushed manager cards amuse me on another level. I guess it's because I consider the manager the main team representative and he can't even wear the proper team gear! That hat is positively GLOWING.

I could go on and on and on about other airbrushing examples. There are so many and they are so much fun.

So, if you like that kind of thing, pick up a copy. Yes, it's 10 bucks. It's also packed with interesting stuff, which is a lot more than I can say about a 2020 blaster, which costs twice as much.
Now, they just got to get it to my house.


The Angels were in perpetual "rebuild" in the 70's keeping the Topps airbrushers busy.
gogosox60 said…
Beats those early 60's logo less black hats cards!!
That 1974 Charlie Sands one has been a head-scratcher for a while... Why did they use a cap logo and jersey lettering that was several years out of date at the time... and that logo and that lettering weren't worn at the same time.
Nick said…
Congrats on another article! One of the few things I miss about working at Barnes & Noble is seeing the magazines hot off the press. Might have to swing by and grab a copy, because airbrushing is a particularly fascinating topic to me. That Staub is one of the craziest examples, by far. I have no explanations as to how a card like that ever saw the light of day.
Tim Tak said…
Great, interesting and entertaining read! The 1974 Angels must have had a prerequisite for their catchers to NOT have previously been in their organization.
Fuji said…
I'm so bad at recognizing airbrushing... but love reading posts about them. I'm not sure I've hit Barnes and Noble since the COVID thing hit and not sure I'll be going anytime soon since we just entered the "purple" tier (which is the worst). Maybe I'll luck out and stumble across a copy on someone's dollar table five years from now at the flea market or card show.
kcjays said…
I wish I knew where all my Hostess cards were. I remember the Staub card from way back when and laughing about seeing the “Mets” helmet and the Expos logo on the uniform. I had never noticed however that the pinstripes didn’t cover the entire jersey.
As always, thanks for your post.
bryan was here said…
I just picked up that Staub at a card show recently. It even looks like the Expos logo on his jersey is airbrushed as well. Airbrushed cards were always my favourite in the sets. Two of my all-time greats are the 1978 Don Kirkwood, where the SOX logo is so big you could see it from space, and the 1979 Cito Gaston in an early '70s mustard yellow Pirates hat.

I'll definitely have to pick up a copy of the magazine now!
Eric C. Loy said…
The 1972 and 1973 Rich McKinneys should have been on the list.
Big League said…
I have the Staub card. There are a ton of football cards with horrible airbrushing too.
Johngy said…
I always applaud any reference to my friend Rick Stelmaszek (RIP). He also had an airbursh in the 1975 set, making 2 of his 4 cards airbrushes.
CinciCuse Bill said…
Totally fun topic! As gogosox60 mentioned, those 60's logo-less black hats cards were airbrush HoF worthy.

Congrats on your 8th Becketts article!
Grant said…
Great BVC article as usual, NO. The '87 Mike Laga always amuses me.
night owl said…
@Eric C Loy ~

The '73 McKinney is shown and mentioned in the article. The '72 is not. Like I said, way too many examples to include everything.
Gotta go for the main cover now.
RunForeKelloggs said…
Great post. I look forward to reading the article. I wonder why Topps bothered when the stadium in the background would give away even the best airbrushing.
Anonymous said…
Are you related to Timothy Gay by chance?
night owl said…
No. There are a lot of people with that name. These are just the famous ones:
Anonymous said…
Ah just wondering because I just finished his Tris Speaker book, had him on my mind