One of those card mysteries that has puzzled me for all these years was Topps card of Richie (Dick) Allen in their 1972 set.
By now Allen was a bona fide star in the Majors, and was actually on his way to be the A.L. M.V.P. in 1972. And even though he was traded to the White Sox in December of 1971 from the Dodgers, which made it difficult for Topps to have a "correct" image of him, it was strange that Topps ended up using a terribly outdated picture of Allen for his card.
As a matter of fact, Topps ended up using an image that they already used for their 1970 Richie Allen card. If you look at the 1970 card below, you can see "Phillies" peeking out on the front of his jersey. They just cropped it tighter when they used it again in 1972.
What makes the card especially outdated was the fact that Allen's facial features changed considerably between the 1970 shot and what he looked like by the time he was a White Sox. By then he was sporting a nice set of sharp sideburns with full mustache, and as we all know from one of my early posts, his 1971 card was actually the first Topps card in their history that depicted a player with facial hair.
So to go back to an older photo was really odd. Why not just go ahead and use a shot of him during his Dodger tenure? Or what about his season with the Cardinals? Did Topps really not have an image from the previous two years that they could use?
Well, what I did was redesign the 1972 card not only with a proper image, but with his name as "Dick" rather than "Richie", since by the time he was playing in Chicago he was insisting on the former as his first name.
Allen really was such an interesting athlete, and I wish I was old enough to actually see him play before he hung them up in 1977. Truly one of the enigmatic figures in professional sports not only in the 1970's, but in American history. Turmoil seemed to follow him around wherever he played, whether it was justified or not.
|Clearly a Phillies jersey on his 1970 card.|
|Same image as the '70 card. Cropped a little tighter.|
|Better image and proper first name for the 1972 A.L. M.V.P.|