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The 1975 Topps countdown, worst to best (No. 460-441)

I've mentioned I've been chasing O-Pee-Chee Dodgers recently. There are hazards to this activity especially if you aren't paying attention.
I wasn't.

This 1975 Ken McMullen was advertised as an O-Pee-Chee card. I just took the title for its word. Apparently it was my first day on ebay because you can't be doing things like that. The seller even had a photograph of the back, which looked like this:

Obviously, that's not an OPC card. Where's the French? But I ignored that, saw a nifty price and bought it. Delayed disappointment was mine. I will not be buying from jpcardxpress again, especially since I see he's relisted it to sucker someone else. But dumb move on my part. And it ain't so bad because I love my '75 Topps dupes!

Anyway, this is the lead-in for another segment of the '75 Topps countdown, where you will see Topps-and-only-Topps cards as you should be seeing! We're into the mid-400s of the countdown, which is mostly some mediocre posing and staring from mostly players who have been forgotten.

That is to say they are wonderful and colorful and beautiful. Let's get going.

460. Dave Nelson (card 435)
I have great affection for this card as I pulled it from a pack bought at a drug store late at night (actually it was probably around 7 or 8) after a trip to the emergency room as a youngster. My dad took me to the store afterward for some cheering up. Objectively, the card might have worked better if Nelson's hands are on his hips and you could see that.

459. Ed Sprague (card 76)
A card of the father of Ed Sprague junior, the Blue Jays hitter, who if you remember Ed Sprague, you probably remember that one. I remember this one because it's another card from childhood. Dull pic, but at the time I thought Sprague was a giant walking out of a dust storm.

458. Danny Thompson (card 249)

Not the clearest shot (I might get to read some of the ads if it was) of Danny Thompson, who had already been diagnosed with leukemia when this photo was taken. He'd pass away less than three years later, continuing to play until he couldn't.

457. Fred Scherman (card 252)

This card matches quite well with the Astros uniforms of the time and I love that about 1975 Topps when it happens. Having said that, I have little idea who Fred Scherman is, even after doing two set blogs in which his card was featured.

456. Bill Plummer (card 656)

Solid shot of the back-up for Johnny Bench during those '70s days. Not much going on behind him.

455. Dennis Blair (card 521)

I feel disoriented viewing this card, which I attribute to the odd photo angle and the fact that Dennis Blair is 6-foot-5. The photo feels like it's in motion.

454. John Montague (card 405)

A nice view of 1970s Candlestick Park and that old stadium scoreboard. John Montague was one of those players who disappeared off cards after first appearing and then when he appeared again, he looked nothing like he does here.

453. Don Hahn (card 182)

Interesting expression from Hahn, which I definitely took note of as a kid (it wasn't a favorite card). The color-match is among the best in the set and one of many examples of the Mets getting special treatment in '75 Topps.

452. Jim Ray (card 89)

There are a lot of half-hearted "set position" poses in this set and so many to get to. I consider a few rules when ranking these: how realistic does it look? What's the background like? How familiar is the player? Then, voila, I have a ranking.

451. Clay Kirby (card 423)

Oh, by the way, we're currently on a streak of those kinds of cards. Clay Kirby was a player I knew nothing about but I was fascinated -- weirdly -- by his 1976 Topps Traded card, the one where it's just his chaw-filled face in an airbrushed Expos hat. Later, I thought his '72 In-Action card was so cool. Notice, I haven't said anything about his '75 card. It's OK.

450. Tom Walker (card 627)

Hey Tom! TOM! ... You're blocking the Coca-Cola sign!!

449. Dave Goltz (card 419)

I may have docked Goltz a couple of placings due to his miserable showing for the Dodgers when they finally decided to dive into free agency.

448. Eric Soderholm (card 54)

Another '75 card straight from childhood, specifically a toy box. I dug out the scraps of this card from my friend's toy box, taped it together, although parts were forever missing, and added it to my meager collection. I thought Soderholm looked very mad, probably due to the ripping apart.

447. Craig Robinson (card 367)

More glasses-wearing with the studious-looking Craig Robinson, who appears to have spotted a rare bird for his research project. The borders match well with the Atlanta uniform.

446. Jim Fregosi (card 339)

This card has a hazy look as if Fregosi's picture was taken through a window. It almost seems like he's airbrushed into his uniform and hat, although he had been shown as a Ranger in the '74 set already.

445. Doug Bird (card 364)

The memorably named Doug Bird gets the mustache pass on this pitching pose. Also the Royals baby blues help.

444. Dave Duncan (card 238)

I feel a bit bad ranking a dugout shot this low, especially with Duncan's long hair peaking out of his backward cap, but it's just too tight on his face, I want to see more dugout stuff.

443. Rookie Outfielders (card 622)

This card is often the toughest of the '75 prospects cards to find in decent condition. Every upgrade I've found still has a flaw. But it's not the greatest of cards. I still don't know what's going on with that Fred Lynn shot, which has been blown up into its own card in other later Topps sets. Is that really his arm or is a massive amount of white-out covering up something undesirable?

442. Bill Campbell (card 226)

Decent card of the future elite fireman of the heady first free agent years. Rather patriotic.

441. Indians team (card 331)

Not many team cards left, this is one of the final few because it's the first to capture the Indians' famed blood-clot uniforms (and Oscar Gamble!). Probably has a better photo of Frank Robinson than Robinson's base card, too.

And that wraps up another episode. I've got some happier O-Pee-Chee news to end this with. First, I've nabbed another Dodger from the same set that's more notable than McMullen. Second, these three have already arrived:

O-Pee-Chee lovers will be able to tell already that these are proper OPC cards, but I think you can understand if I'm a little gun-shy and need to see the backs.

Oh, yeah, it's like the French language exploded all over these cards. They're legit.


Chris said…
The Dennis Blair and (to a lesser extent) Jim Fregosi cards are jarring.

Sprague's background is definitely unique, all the other cards look like regular (if a bit worn) Spring Training fields. But that one is odd for sure.

Good to see you got some real OPC singles after that McMullen mishap.
Johngy said…
The Plummer card color scheme closely matches the sky and ground. Plus, I was a big Plummer fan. I loved backup catchers (probably because I was one).
Nick Vossbrink said…
Frank Robinson's card as the first black MLB manager arguably deserves to be higher ranked.

Quite a few Candlestick and Oakland Coliseum shots this post. The Candlestick ones never fail to make me smile.
1984 Tigers said…
Night owl,

I remember Fred Scherman quite well. He was an important bullpen guy on our 1972 AL east champs. The issue for him was when John Hiller, also a lefty, bounced back from a heart attack to win the reliever of the year award in 1973, we had no need for him. He got traded for Jim Ray, also in your 20, and Gary Sutherland. As for Fregosi that looks to be a legit rangers uniform. Check out the color coding on his sleeve.
Bo said…
There are eBay sellers who use AI to label their cards, especially when they have thousands of individual cards for sale. I've seen Topps cards labeled as OPC this way. I've seen sellers note that the description may not match the card, though it looks like this seller has not noted that.

Now eBay is offering AI to sellers to write their descriptions, which is why now a lot of descriptions just have a generic definition of what a baseball card is.
night owl said…
That, to me, is a bizarre way to sell your product if it can't even get the listing right.
There are a number of guys from my childhood where they appear in scattered sets and it wasn't until later in life that I realized "Hey! This guy and that guy ARE THE SAME GUY!" It sounds stupid (and I often feel stupid) but it's often when the player doesn't have a significant run and has some sort of change of style. John Montague just got added to that list.

FWIW, Tom Walker is the father of Neil Walker, brother-in-law of Chip Lang and father-in-law of Don Kelly.
Michael D said…
I've come to the conclusion that the Lynn card is white out covering something up. I think the Indians team card should have a higher ranking. Robinson deserves better.
1984 Tigers said…
Looks like the photographer(s?) Was/were spending their time in the Bay Area (candlestick and Oakland coliseum) and New York (Mets and yanks shared Shea in 1974 and 75), as well as various spring training sites. Other than the few guys like Mike Marshall, Rusty Staub (mid 70s) who didn't want to be photographed, must have been a fun job. In 74, they did sneak in Staub photo on one of the WS or Playoff cards.
Old Cards said…
The Dave Nelson card is one of my favorite cards. Not that I am particularly a Dave Nelson fan. It just has the elements I like in a card. A good clear closeup picture of the player in full uniform with baseball stadium stuff in the background. Bill Plummer looks like he is at the local Babe Ruth league field!
Jon said…
I've seen more than a few incorrect listings over the years for Topps cards being advertised as OPC. I figure that about 10% of those are genuine mistakes, another 10% from sellers that don't any better, and that the 80% are from sellers that are actively trying to deceive.