Friday, November 12, 2010

Cardboard appreciation: 1980 Topps Dale Murray

I have two confessions to make.

First, this is not a 1980 Topps card. But you knew that.

Second, this post is recycled. A rerun. Leftovers. ABC gum.

Sort of.

The topic is familiar to you only if you were a follower of the aborted 1978 Topps blog by Andy of Baseball-Reference fame.

But since I pointed out the phenomenon there, then I think I should be able to show the whole thing here, with all of the card illustrations and everything. So that's what I'm going to do. If that bores you, well, I don't care. I've got two people in the house who are bored by what I say on a daily basis. You can't hurt me.

Anyway, this card and the next few cards illustrate just how lazy and/or desperate card companies can get.

Take a look at the 1976 Topps Dale Murray card above and note the background. Note, especially, the chaw in Murray's mouth and the post behind Murray on the right side of his head.

It's 1977 now. But Murray looks exactly the same as on his '76 Topps card. The post is still lurking over his left shoulder. The billboard looks the same over the right shoulder. Murray is still working on the chaw.

The following year, Topps featured Murray as a Red, because, well, he was a Red. He was traded with Woodie Fryman to Cincinnati in exchange for Tony Perez and Will McEnaney. In fact, Topps SHOULD have featured Murray as a Red in the 1977 set since Murray was traded to Cincinnati in December of 1976, before the '77 season. But things moved a lot slower back then.

In May of 1978, Murray was traded to the Mets in exchange for Ken Henderson. I'm sure Murray was thrilled to leave a perennial contender to compete for a team who couldn't get out of its own way. But at least he had a cool card in the 1979 Topps set.

Murray pitched for the Mets for most of the 1979 season, too. He didn't do very well. In late August, he was purchased from the sixth-place Mets by the second-place Expos, the team for which he made his major league debut and appeared on those first few cards.

So, in 1980, Murray was to appear in the Topps set as an Expo again. His career had come full circle. Everything old was new again ...

... in more ways than one.

This is the photo Topps chose. Notice the post over Murray's left shoulder. Notice the billboard over the right. Notice the chaw. Murray found a way to cheat time. He is five years younger than he was on his 1979 card! I wonder how that five-year-old tobacco tastes.

When you complain about card companies using pictures from the same photo shoot, think about this post.

This has been going on for a long time.

And I have just recycled a post about a recycled photo shoot.

Guess I'm just as guilty.


  1. I am shocked!!!

    And not bored by what you have to say. What do girls know anyway? (I'm just kidding for goodness sakes!)

  2. How do you just happen to notice that they used the same picture over and over again??? I like my cards I have looked at them all many times but I couldn't tell you what was in the background of hardly any of them. I see design player and that is it.

  3. Great find! I checked baseball-reference and Murray wore #29 in 1979, not #27.

  4. To tell you the truth Adam, I didn't pay near as much attention to the backgrounds of cards until I became aware of card blogs. But now it makes card collecting more fun.