Thursday, February 28, 2013

The golden age of all-star cards countdown: 10-6

This all-star card did not make the Top 20 countdown. Can you believe it? My favorite player of all-time. The man who just pulled the railing off from behind him and is now using it as a bat is not in the countdown.

The 1978 Cey all-star card did not make it either.

Who is doing this thing? And what have they done with night owl?

I knew this whole countdown wouldn't make sense. But that is no reason to waste blog material. So on we go.

With this latest grouping of all-stars, I couldn't help but notice the powers in baseball during this period. The Reds, the Yankees, the Dodgers, the A's, the Red Sox. Those were the teams in charge. And because of that, they all have their fair share of all-star cards between 1975-81.

The team tally for this period looks like this:

AL - Red Sox-12, Yankees-10, Royals-9, A's-6, Twins-6, Orioles-4, Angels-3, Rangers-3, Tigers-3, Brewers-2, Indians-1, White Sox-1

NL - Reds-21, Dodgers-18, Phillies-10, Pirates-5, Braves-2, Cardinals-2, Cubs-2, Giants-2, Padres-2, Mets-1

So, expect to see a lot of Reds in the final Top 10.

Here is 10-6:

10. Carl Yastrzemski, 1978

A pose so good that Topps used almost the exact same shot for Yaz's 1979 card. There is something very distinct and regal about this card. It helps that the badge that Topps used for All-Star players in 1978 is almost positioned where a real badge would go on someone's uniform. You can't tell me this wasn't planned.

9. George Foster, 1978

Foster was already a break-out star by the time the 1978 set came out. We all knew about his all-star card in the 1977 set. So, this was a key card to pull from packs in '78. But then Foster went wild that year, hitting 52 home runs. This was long before Cecil Fielder or the late '90s. And long after Mantle and Maris. Fifty-two home runs was CRAZY. So imagine now, pulling a card of this player with his black bat when all that was going on. This was one hot card.

8. Johnny Bench, 1975

I have repeated myself over and over with this card. So I'll just copy-and-paste what I once wrote:

When I held this card in my hands as a 9-year-old, it had me so freaked out that I thought it would vanish, either via a gust of wind or by someone stealing it, or simply through spontaneous combustion. The card was just too cool to be possessed by someone like me.
I can remember where I was when I held the card. I was on a city street, standing in front of a store that had an awning over it. The only reason I would be at that particular site is because I was on my way home from the drug store after buying a pack of cards. So I must have been opening them on the way back and I pulled this card out of a pack. But I no longer own that Bench card that I pulled when I was 9. I must have traded it away. I was probably too freaked out by it.

Now, of course, I can't explain why this card is ranked below the 1976 Johnny Bench given how important this card was to me at the time. Part of my whole difficulty of ranking these all-star cards, I guess.

7. Pete Rose, 1976 Topps

Third straight Reds card. I wouldn't like this at all back during the Big Red Machine's hey day. But I can't help that those teams added extra importance to obtaining cards like this. The close-up shot is something I've been wanting to examine in a blog post for years. It really adds to the weight of a card. I promise I will do that post some day.

6. Bobby Bonds, 1976 Topps

One of the greatest "posed in mid-swing" card photos ever. Certainly the best All-Star version of such a card. Better than the '75 Rod Carew card just because Bonds just looks so absolutely in CONTROL of his swing, while the Carew looks like the bat is going to helicopter him off the ground. I was instantly impressed by Bonds' first real appearance on a card in a Yankee uniform (not that airbrushed thing in 1975). Wow, what a card.

So, there you are. Five more down that I hope I ranked well.

That leaves five left.

See if you can guess which five they are. It shouldn't be too difficult.

Whether they deserve their lofty status, I have no idea.


  1. Not a fan of the 1970s Reds either since they were always winning, but the Rose and Bench cards are great choices.

  2. Love the '75 Bench. And Rose's flip up glasses are awesome. I remember wanting a pair so bad when I played little league, but my parents never bought them.

  3. I love the All-Star cards, glad you're doing this. Odd that the 3 Tigers all came in the same year.

    If the 1980 Nolan Ryan card doesn't make the top 5, I'll have to stop reading your blog.

    I'm also a fan of the 1978 Reggie Jackson, I'd pick that for the top 5. Don't know if you plan on having the same player twice, but the 1976 Bench is pretty dang awesome.

  4. Stop reading, baseballbrent, 1980 Nolan Ryan was No. 15.

  5. Ok, I was bluffing, ill still read even if you can't see the awesomeness that the 1980 Ryan is.