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Color match game

A couple of blog housekeeping notes: First, an update on the 5,000-post repack giveaway. I have sent out 11 of the 20 packages. Another is packaged and another is selected. I'm currently selecting winner No. 14's cards. Also, today's the last day to vote in the first round of the Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Fame series. If you haven't voted yet, copy and paste this link and vote!:  EDIT: POLL HAS CLOSED).

Way back when I wrote the 1975 Topps set blog, I mentioned how much I liked the '75 Rick Auerbach card as a kid.

Really, I shouldn't have liked it at all. It's a Dodger, surrounded by Giants colors. But I loved the orangey glow, it reminded me of my favorite drink of that time -- root beer -- and, heck, it was the '70s, that color combination was in everyone's house.

It's also a great example of the color clash that is all over '75 Topps. I submit that the Auerbach card would not have stood out to me if the player was a Giant, dressed in black and orange. It's part of the charm of the set. You may wear red and blue every game day, Mr. Player, but we're going to frame you in pink and yellow.

The years for when Topps did not match its design colors with the team portrayed creates an interesting game: which cards in that set actually did match the design with the player uniform? This was a question recently offered up by Nick of the njwv blog.

Now, this has been a casual observance of mine for decades actually. I even mentioned it a couple times on the 1975 Topps blog.

Despite '75 Topps' best efforts, some of the card color combos in the set actually do match well with the teams used. Some of this might be coincidence, but I think some of it was intentional. For example, there was far too much green and yellow used with the defending World Champion Oakland A's cards in that set for it to be happenstance.

Aside from the A's, I don't see any team that really stood out in terms of perfectly matched cards. But there are some good cases of color matches for nearly every team that year. I decided to find the best color matches for each team and then throw in some honorable mentions.

Just another way to keep the 1975 Topps set alive!


Best color match: Claudell Washington (green & yellow)

There are so many examples I could put here, including a couple of other green-yellow cards, Sal Bando, Jesus Alou, Billy Williams and Joe Rudi. But the rookie cup puts Washington over the top as the top color match.

Honorable mentions: Williams, Pat Bourque, Ray Fosse, Dave Hamilton, Bando, Alou, Jim Hunter, Ken Holtzman, Rudi.


Best color match: Frank Tanana (red & yellow)

Just an insanely pleasing card amid all the green-and-purple in this set. Again, the rookie cup puts Tanana over the top of a couple of other red-and-yellow Angels cards.

Honorable mentions: Rudy Meoli, Skip Lockwood, Denny Doyle.


Best color match: Ken Forsch (red & orange)

This is just before the famous rainbow uniforms the Astros adopted in 1975. During the early '70s, the Astros primary color, to me, seemed to be a reddish-orange, so the red-orange borders work well.

But there is an Astros card without the red-orange border that I think works well for that card. Consider it a special honorable mention pick.

Another rookie cup example, matching with the bottom border and those red/orange letters work quite well, too.

Honorable mentions: Greg Gross, Fred Scherman. (Note: the brown-orange combo works kind of well with the Astros, too, so I'll throw in J.R. Richard, Tommy Helms, Roger Metzger and the Astros team card).


Best color match: Darrell Evans (blue & green ... with red letters).

Tough one. All that green isn't helping, but the red letters help with the red in the Braves' uniform. Best I could do.


Best color match: Ken Berry (yellow & light blue)

This is before the green Brewers days. The Brewers liked to wear baby blue in the mid-'70s with bright yellow in their hats.

Honorable mentions: Eduardo Rodriguez, Tom Murphy.


Best color match: Bob Gibson (red & yellow)

I don't believe for a second that the color combo for Bob Gibson's career-capping Topps card was not hand-picked.

Honorable mentions: (both airbrush jobs) Claude Osteen, Ken Rudolph.


Best color match: Rick Reuschel (tan & light blue ... with red team letters)

The ideal border combo would be red/blue for the Cubs but there aren't any of those. I usually ignored the team name colors for this exercise but in certain situations those names really stand out, such as this one.


Best color match: Jim Brewer (red & blue)

Not a lot to choose from with the Dodgers, lot of brown-and-orange and blue-and-green combos. Brewer works the best, but we're still in Candlestick Park.

Honorable mentions: Geoff Zahn (but his glove is hiding the red uniform number!)


Best color match: Ken Singleton (red & blue)

Everything works here, the reddish stands up top, the blue uniform down below.

Honorable mentions: Bob Stinson, Chuck Taylor.


Best color match: John D'Acquisto (orange & brown)

I've known this color match since I pulled this card out of the first packs I ever bought. It's a Giants card through-and-through, even if there is no black in the '75 Topps color scheme.

Honorable mentions: Dave Kingman, Giants team.


Best color match: Leron Lee (red & blue)

The red-and-blue color combo is the go-to for a lot of teams, but '75 Topps was pretty stingy with this combo. It doesn't quite work with the Indians, whose blue was navy.

Honorable mentions: George Hendrick, Bruce Ellingsen (although there's no visible sign he's wearing a uniform).


Best color match: Don Hahn (light blue & orange)

A lot of Mets cards look nice in this set (again I think there was a bias toward the World Series teams of the time), mostly because orange is used for the likes of Seaver, Matlack and Garrett. But only Don Hahn gets blue in the border, too.

Best color match:
Jim Palmer (orange & brown)
Another one I think was pre-planned.
Honorable mentions: Orioles team, Bob Grich, Grant Jackson, Jesse Jefferson, Boog Powell, Bob Oliver.


Best color match: Gene Locklear (brown & orange ... with yellow team name)

You could go a couple different ways with this. Larry Hardy, for example, features no brown in the design but has orange & yellow borders with a yellow team name. Bob Tolan has orange and brown with red letters.

Honorable mentions: Hardy, Tolan, Fred Kendall.


Best color match: Steve Carlton (red & orange)

This is more of a case that it matches with the individual photo, red uniform with "orange dirt" below. There are a lot of "almost" cases with the Phillies. I think purple sort of works with the magenta scheme they were wearing. And I've always thought green borders look good with the Phillies, but I'd never say they match.


Best color match: Duffy Dyer (brown & orange ... with yellow letters)

Sadly, there was no yellow-and-black combo. We'd have to wait for 1981 Topps for that (or, heck, just go back in time one year to '74 Topps). This was the best of the bunch.


Best color match: Steve Foucault (red & blue)

There's a reason I thought the Steve Foucault card was so cool back in '75. Yeah, the sideburns and mustache, but also that harmony of red & blue.


Best color match: Rick Burleson (red & yellow ... with blue team name).

I originally said there was no match for the Red Sox, but reconsidered with the Rick Burleson. The red top border works well and you could argue there is blue to go with the blue in the Red Sox. Not the right color blue, but whatever.

Honorable mentions: Rick Miller, Rick Wise (same color combos and all three are Ricks!)


Best color match: Dan Driessen (red & yellow)

The Reds' colors are RED and that's it! So the second color shouldn't be anything too strong. Yellow works OK, especially with the red names. 

Since it's the Reds from this time, there are lots of All-Star cards, which also have red-yellow borders but with the yellow on top. That doesn't work quite as well for a match.

Honorable mentions: Will McEnaney, Clay Carroll, Don Gullett.


Best color match: Tony Solaita (tan & blue)

Light blue works perfect with the Royals.


Best color match: Woodie Fryman (blue & orange)

Blue-orange doesn't work quite as well with the Tigers as it did with the Mets. Tigers wore navy blue. You could go a few ways with this team, too. John Knox features brown-and-orange borders. Topps has used brown with the Tigers a lot, especially in the '70s. It's not really in the Tigers' color scheme, but it seems to work (maybe it's just because Topps indoctrinated me in the '70s).


Best color match: Bert Blyleven (red & blue)

One of the most memorable cards in the set. I believe if the borders for Blyleven were green-and-purple, it would not be as great of a card.


Best color match: Wilbur Wood (yellow & red ... with blue team letters)

Another late-breaking entry as I examined the White Sox cards closer. The blue letters work well with the light blue unis.
Honorable mention: Dick Allen (about as good a pick as the Wood card).


Best color match: None

The Yankees, quite simply, don't have much color in their uniforms. The blue is so dark it's almost black and ... that's it.

The neutral look of the Yankees means you can throw just about any color combo around the pictures and it works. You could probably say the Yankees have the most pleasing cards in the set because there's no color clashing happening.

But I think color clashes are part of the fun of the set. And part of the fun of the '70s.


Old Cards said…
Rookie cups might fall right behind the 75 Topps set among your favorite things. Disappointing there was no match for the Red Sox. Always thought those Brewers' caps looked too much like softball uniforms. Good post!
night owl said…
I updated with a Red Sox pick. I think it sort of works.
Old Cards said…
Looks good! I went to TCDB to look at the Red Sox right after I read your post and thought Rick Wise might work, but I like your pick of Burleson better. Thanks for adding.
Anonymous said…
If you went by the logo,could go with red & blue for the Yankees.
Fuji said…
It's funny. When I close my eyes and think of 1975 Topps and the A's, purple and pink are the first color combination that comes to mind. Gotta admit though... that green and yellow bordered Washington looks fantastic.
Jon said…
I don't see how some of these couldn't have been intentional, a few are just too perfect to have happened merely by chance.