Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Brief Introduction to Someone's Obsession with 1970's Topps Baseball Cards...

As a sports card collector for some 35 years, as well as a Graphic Designer for over 20, I've always had my "favorites" as far as card designs go, whether it was a set or even an individual player. Who can argue with the fact that the 1952 Topps baseball set, or 1953 Bowman baseball set were simply sublime in design? Or what about those Allen & Ginter or Mayo Plug masterpieces from 100+ years ago? Little rectangular pieces of art!
However, as a "child of the 1970's", I must admit I have always had a warm spot in my heart for those Topps baseball sets of the decade. We were given psychedelic, eye-gouging designs like 1972 and 1975, while also having bland, almost inexplicably boring set designs in 1970 and 1973. And who can forget that frustrating (for a condition-sensitive collector today) 1971 set with the black borders?! Topps seemed to be trying to catch up with the "go-go" '70's, exploding with color, design, and sometimes even photography after pumping out "middle of the road" offerings ever since Bowman bailed out of the baseball card game in 1956. I mean, besides the "clean" 1967 design, which was really just an updated version of the 1957 design, Topps really just kind of phoned-it-in between 1960-1970 in my opinion.
Then, out of nowhere, they hit us with that aforementioned 1971 set, black and bold with some horizontal cards thrown in for extra "kick", only to visually rape us with that acid-trip of a 1972 set! As a matter of fact that set was so visually explosive that it seems to have made Topps take a step back for a couple of years in 1973 and 1974 to have some time to reload before they jumped into the color pool again with their 1975 edition!
Personally, the apex of Topps baseball was indeed the run between 1975 and 1978. Those four sets were, and still are, just magic to me. The colors of 1975 and 1976, along with the clean designs from 1977 and 1978 made these sets my favorites to this very day. On top of it all, I was always a sucker for the All-Star cards being the players' regular issue card. I'm sure many would disagree with me here, but I never liked separate All-Star cards for players. I always felt that when you pulled a player's card from a pack, and saw that "All-Star" designation on the card, it was awesome to turn to the back to see the very stats that made them an "All-Star" to begin with. That run of regular issue All-Star cards from 1975-1981 will be examined further in the near future, sort of a sub-set of articles actually. But for the near future, allow me to jump right into the cards of that crazy decade that burned themselves into my brain and have stuck with me all these years…

6 comments:

  1. I'm just now discovering your blog, and I'm loving every post. Thanks for sharing your creations from what I would agree was the golden age of Topps baseball cards.

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    1. Hey! Thank YOU for reading! Nice to know there are so many more out there who share my feelings about those awesome 1970's Topps sets!

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  2. Are you kidding me...??? Another child of the 1970's... This is my third post in 5 minutes on your blog. What a great Father's Day present in finding this today. Gotta put my young son to bed. I'll be back here tomorrow after work browsing this... Thanks for the memories!!!

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  3. Giovanni - I have spend several hours over the last few days thoroughly enjoying your blog posts from start to finish. I too am a child of the seventies and started collecting baseball cards in 1973 and the years from 73 to 79 are my favorites overall. I am a life long Tom Seaver fan and collector (hope you can join our Facebook page - Tom Seaver fans). As a kid I was so fascinated by the air-brushing that I did my own on hundreds of cards as players were traded. I found that pen erasers did a great job of taking of the color and gloss from cards and then I would fix their caps and unis. I had notebook of these cards which cut out and cropped the job I had done. That book is long gone and so value of the cards with it.

    I had added your to my blogger feed and look forward to many more of your stories of the cards and re-dos, etc. They are amazing. Although a Mets fan (born and raised in Queens) and I'm sure to put in some requests for missing or career cappers, wondering if you could do some re-do's of 1973 and 74 Matty Alou and 1974 and 74 Traded Felipe Alou.

    SETH

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    1. Hey Seth! Thanks for the kind words regarding my blog. This way something I should have strated ages ago! But I'm glad I got to it eventually.
      Where in Queens you from? I'm from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and another reader here is from an area close to where I grew up, and funny enough now lives near me out in New Jersey.
      I'll definitely tackle the Alou brothers in the future! And please send along any "requests", as it helps me map out my posts in the future. I'm already about a month and a half ahead, but still planning ahead nevertheless!

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  4. just found your blog today, and can't wait to start going thru it...i too replicate cards for my school softball team, did the 75, 78, 79, 80, 71 and this year the 83. will keep in touch as i go thru this...thanks for all of what you have done here, looks like a great escape for me every time i read them..Todd

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Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.