Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Jackson 10

Matt, of Project Baseball 1976, had a good idea when I was trying to figure out the best Johnny Bench card of the 1970s. He said I should do this for all of the top stars of the '70s.

So that's what I'm going to do. At least until I get tired of it. One drawback I see is I don't have many of these '70s cards, so I'm forced to use images from elsewhere, which I don't like doing. But as long as I have most of the cards of a particular player, then it's a worthy candidate.

The next participant is the most talked about player of the 1970s, Reginald Martinez Jackson. ESPN must lament on a daily basis that it wasn't in its prime when Jackson was at his peak.

I'll admit, Reggie was instant entertainment, even if I didn't like him as a kid. I appreciate him much more now.

So it's up to you to determine which is the best Topps Jackson card of the 1970s. Unlike the Bench cards, I don't have a definite opinion on which one is the best. There are a few that I like.

The cards I don't have in this group are the 1970, 1973 and 1977 cards. I see myself getting the '77 one day. The other two, I don't particularly care.

Poll is up on the sidebar. Vote away.

1970 Topps: A nice shot of young Reggie in his future home. This was his second card, I believe. No sophomore jinx here.

1971 Topps: Another looking-off-in-the-distance shot. I remember acquiring this card and thinking how unusual Jackson looked without the facial hair, etc. I like his flourish on the "M" on his middle name.

1972 Topps: I like this card a lot. It's the first look at Jackson as most of us know him -- except for the tinted glasses. I don't remember quite that pronounced of an over-the-shoulder look in his batting stance. All in all, a great card.

1973 Topps: One of those weird action shots from '73 Topps. Not good at all, and I saw this card a lot because Jackson was MVP in 1973 and this card popped up over and over. I guess this is Jackson's first official action shot card.

1974 Topps: Better action here, although Reggie's face is in the shadows something fierce. One thing about looking at a lot of cards from the '70s and '80s -- some of the stadiums looked so unfriendly. Look at that dugout. It looks menacing.

1975 Topps: This is the card I think of when I think Reggie and the 1970s. It's the first card of his I ever saw. I had a friend who was a huge A's fan and all he talked about was Reggie (and Joe Namath). If I had to choose the best '70s Reggie card I'd seriously consider this, even though his face is in the shadows again.

1976 Topps: Topps liked the "from the ground" angle so much, they went with it again the following year. This is very much the hero shot of Jackson. And look at all that yellow! I mean gold. It's gold, not yellow. Gold.

1977 Topps: Everyone wanted this card when I was a kid. I think I owned it for about 5 minutes and then some Yankee urchin snared it away from me. When you look at it now, you wonder what the big deal was. Sure, it was the first card of Jackson as a Yankee. But what awful airbrushing. (Incidentally, we were quite aware of the "Jackson as an Oriole" card as kids. Probably the first variation card I ever knew).

1978 Topps: Jackson in the classic pose. This will get some votes. I'm not sure where the catcher and the umpire is in this photo.

1979 Topps: This was a disappointing card. And double-printed, too. Not a favorite. Topps would come back strong with the 1980 offering, but I'm sticking with the '70s here.

So, if I had to pick, I'd probably settle on 1972. But I like '75 and '76 a lot, and 1978 sums up Reggie to a degree. You could make a case for the others, too.

One question before finishing: Does anyone remember what the Reggie bars tasted like? I never had one. Always wanted to know.


  1. The 75 has ALWAYS been my fav. The up close shot, the crazy colors, him not being a Yankee! I never had the Reggie bar either. My Mom was not a big fan of junk food, but she was most certainly not a fan of reggie jackson! If Gary Carter had a candy bar, my house would have been full of them!

  2. Another vote for 1975, for sentimental reasons. It was my first Reggie card.

    Honorable mention for 1971. When I was in 5th grade (1976-1977), a neighborhood kid had a bunch of "oldies" -- cards that were more than a few years old. I traded a bunch of newer stuff for some of those oldies. He had a lot of 1971 cards and baseball coins. I figured I could always replace the newer stuff just by riding my bike to the Circle K and buying more packs. :)

  3. 1975

    the others... meh.. it's too bad such a star had a group of such un-interesting cards during his prime

  4. It came down to 71 and 74 for me with 74 winning out.

    Although 75 is probably the most recognizable.

    WV: colen

  5. That 78 is nice, but I voted for 76 as it's always been a sentimental favorite; it was the first card I got as I try to build the 76 set. I think it's a pretty great shot.

  6. I had a few Reggie bars. They were a bit salty and absolutely nuts.

    I'm not aware of the Orioles variation you mentioned...can you explain?

    word verification: nugat

  7. Andy ~

    The '77 card of Jackson as an Oriole was actually a proof card, I believe. As kids, we thought that there were a bunch out there, but I don't think they were too attainable (a card historian would know more).

    I know the photo that was used with the Yankee Jackson card is actually Jackson airbrushed out of an Orioles helmet and uniform.

  8. I love the '72. Early pic but unmistakably Reggie and unmistakably cool. Can't beat the design either.

  9. Reggie is key to my earliest steps in the hobby. When I was a six-year-old, my grandmother bought me a 1976 rack pack, and it still is one of the greatest packs I've ever opened. Reggie, Bobby Bonds, ATG of Honus and Ted Williams (2 Teds actually), and the last year of Aaron were all in there.

    As an 11-year old I traded away the Bonds and Jackson for a '64 Maris with holes in it. I still have the Maris, but I still felt bad at the time trading those away. I got replacements for both some years later.

    I like Reggie better as a Athletic, though he is more iconic as a Yankee. The 1976 with the All-Star star is perfect Reggie.

    The 1978 comes next, for me. The AL All-star shield always got me worked up as an 8-year-old. It was my short-hand of who was the best players. I still have my original Reggie from 1978 with the fat crease in the middle, created when I tucked it into a pocket to prevent some kid from taking it from me.

    The worst of the lot is 1973. A weak design, and who wants a Reggie Burnvictim card? He's barely recognizable--but it does establish him wearing #9 at least.

    My best recollection of a Reggie bar (disc?) was that it was underwhelming. I remember having some around 1979, hoping for goodness. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't great, either. The chocolate was plastic-y, the caramel too sweet, and the peanuts were, well peanuts. Kind of like a chocolate-coated PayDay that expired three years ago, but with more caramel.

  10. The 1977 Topps Burger King card is one of my favourite Reggie cards in my collection. It would have made a nice 1977 "Traded" Reggie card if Topps had produced a set that year.

    Sometimes there is a lot of those BK cards on E-Bay and other times that is hard to find.

  11. Great rack pack, Todd! I loved the rack and cello packs. I used to try to get the packs with the cards I didn't already have showing on the top or bottom. Especailly useful toward the end of the year. :)

  12. Got to go with the '71 just because of the nice shot of the uniform.

  13. I'd have to go with the 1974 card. When I think of Reggie, I picture him first as an Athletic, so the 1974 card with Reggie following through on a big swing is how I remember him. I also like the way the pennants and the border on the card match the A's color scheme. The 1974 ALCS card has another great action shot of Reggie.

    As for the Reggie Orioles proof card, I did a post on Reggie which includes a picture of the card:

  14. I'm going with the '74 first followed closely by the '75. I just remember the Reggie bars being salty.

  15. I've always loved the '78 Reggie but that 1970 card is insanely good.