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The 1975 Topps countdown, worst to best (No. 380-361)

There's been a minor bit of grumbling about no news on the design for 2024 Topps flagship. In the last decade or so, Topps has teased to its design for the following year usually the summer prior. This has given me an easy blog post in which to comment on the upcoming design.
But there hasn't been a peep this year. My guess is it's part of Fanatics' many new ways of doing business since its takeover of Topps. I don't mind. For years and years, I didn't know what the new cards looked like until I opened my first pack.
That's been the way it was since 1975, when I peeled open that first wax pack and saw one of the most colorful designs Topps has ever made. I've been hooked on the '75 set ever since and keep coming up with different ways to write about it.

This is the latest way, the massive set countdown. We're headed toward the midway point, not quite there yet. Let's see the next 20.

380. Sonny Siebert (card 328)
This is Siebert's final Topps card, although he'd appear in a sweat-soaked A's uniform in the 1976 SSPC set. Siebert seems to be chortling about a new pitch he's about to throw.

379. Rudy May (card 321)

Ah, the famous hat disaster. I am so amused by this card, it could easily crack the top 100, but I'm acknowledging that some may put this card in the bottom 20. Party-poopers.

378. Rick Miller (card 103)

Rick Miller's card has survived the cut in a few countdown episodes so far, but this is where he lands. This is another one of those hazy '75 photos.

377. Joe Decker (card 102)

One of those cards from the playground in 1975 that is burned into my brain. I also enjoy the shadow imitating Decker's follow-through.

376. Steve Renko (card 34)

Renko is pitching in front of some of those delightful outfield advertisers, but unfortunately we get only a hint of the Coca-Cola sign.

375. 1951 MVPs (card 189)

The first card in the MVPs subset is the first of the subset to appear in the countdown. It has the misfortune of showing off the relatively drab 1951 design (but at least Topps didn't skip it, like it would in later retrospectives). Also, that Campanella is one of a few mock-ups in this subset, as he didn't appear in '51 Topps. It's not a great photo.

374. Carlos May (card 480)

Carlos May's signature gives off an interesting look with his back pocket. It looks like he has a large twist of black yarn or liquorice stuffed in there.

373. Gene Michael (card 608)

Gene Michael appears to be demonstrating to some young campers on how you properly field a ground ball. "Two hands" he's saying.

372. Mike Tyson (card 231)

Mike Tyson is in a similar pose, on a much more colorful card.

371. Larvell Blanks (card 394)

Another lazy bat follow-through. They're getting better, although Blanks isn't too convincing, what did you just hit with that backswing?

370. Doug Griffin (card 454)

This backswing is more compact and Griffin's got a bit of a smolder for you. I've always liked this card. Great signature.

369. Dave Hilton (card 509)

The photographer shot Dave Hilton from below, which is always a nice shot, it should have been employed more in this set.

368. John Boccabella (card 553)

One of the great baseball names. I keep waiting for the name to appear somewhere in sports.

367. Terry Hughes (card 612)

Terry Hughes should have had a star career with that fu manchu and the long hair, at least that's what I thought when I pulled cards like this -- "he must be pretty good."

366. Don Hood (card 516)

The Burt Reynolds lookalike passed away a few months ago. That's getting to be more frequent with the '75 Topps subjects. Ron Hodges just passed over the weekend.

365. Mike Torrez (card 254)

CARS IN THE BACKGROUND! They kind of save this photo.

364. Carmen Fanzone (card 363)

My gosh, this card has a lot going for it. The color of the stands and uniform sync up with the border combo perfectly. Fanzone is wearing a helmet with the raised "C" and his uniform number inside, and that's one hell of a mustache. No doubt if I saw this card in '75, I'd be entranced.

363. Bobby Valentine (card 215)

"Bob" Valentine is showing the memorial black band that's appeared on other '75 Angels cards for deceased minor league player Bruce Heinbechner.

362. White Sox team (card 276)

This is the last team card on the countdown. Love those floating heads! The fact that it's the only White Sox team card to show off this look when their rival Cubs did it all the time (except in 1975) makes this card all the more fascinating to me.

361. Amos Otis (card 520)

Amos Otis smiling beside the batting cage on a sunny day. Yes. Is it baseball season yet?

OK, that's it for another round. Every time I do one of these posts, I sense that I'm happier after I'm finished -- not because I'm finished but because I spent some valuable time with my favorite set.

I hope I never stop writing about it.


Old Cards said…
Some good cards in this bunch. The Gene Michael card looks pretty nice. Glad the team cards are done.
Brett Alan said…
They missed an opportunity to have some fun with the Campy mock-up since that set has numbers on the front. "No. 52 in a set of 52"? "Not in a set of 52"?

I hadn't seen much if any commentary about the 2024 design not being out yet, but I had certainly noticed. I suppose I'm ready to see it, but I did not like when it would come out during the previous season. They should wait at least until after the last of the current-year designs are out, which I think they are now with the release of Chrome Update. Maybe first week in January would be ideal.
Carmen Fanzone went on to play with the Tonight Show Orchestra.
Michael Gray said…
Love Carlos May with the rare top-hand-only-batting-glove look.
Matt said…
Lots of Red Sox in this one!
Bo said…
The photos are really picking up now in this part of the countdown. Not a bad one here I would say.
1984 Tigers said…
Love the sunshine in many photos, some taken in Bay Area (Oak or SF) while others in spring training. Nothing is better than watching a game in March in 75 degree sunshine when it's 35 and snow flurries back home.

The Griffin photo looks like 1974 spring training. He got knocked out cold by an errant Ryan fast all later that year.
Brett Alan said…
My first idea for the number on the Campy card above was supposed to be "No. 53 in a set of 52".
1. Good trivia mention Rod.
2. This is starting to get interesting
Fuji said…
After reading about Mr. Hood in your post... it opened my eyes to the fact that guys from my childhood sets are gonna start passing away on a more frequent basis. That's kind of sad, but part of life.

As for the 2024 Topps design, I'm one of those collectors who don't mind being surprised. Even when they have previewed it months in advance... I always seem to forget until I start seeing people opening up packs of Opening Day or Series 1 on YouTube or in the blogosphere.