Following my introduction to this topic from last week focusing on the awful 1972 sub-set of "awards" cards, we take a look at the "Most Valuable Player" card (#622), which originally depicted the actual award plaque instead of the players who took it home in 1971: Vida Blue and Joe Torre.
Again, as I have stated before, why Topps went with the idea of having cards of hardware instead of the players themselves is beyond me.
So allow me to show you all my redesign of the card, this time featuring Blue and Torre after their awesome 1971 campaigns.
A bit better than the original, no?!
Vida Blue just exploded in 1971, winning both the Cy Young and the M.V.P. by posting awesome numbers like a 24-8 record with a 1.82 earned run average, as well as eight shutouts and 301 strikeouts.
Just fantastic numbers for someone in his first full season of Major League ball.
It was a sign of what was to come, as the Oakland A's became a three-time world champion dynasty between 1972 and 1974, with Blue anchoring the pitching staff, bolstered by guys like Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman, Blue Moon Odom and Rollie Fingers.
As for the National League Most Valuable Player, Joe Torre was already a star in the big leagues for some time, and actually had an excellent 1970 season splitting time between catching and third base for the Cardinals, hitting a robust .325 with 21 home runs and 100 runs batted in. For that effort he finished with M.V.P. Consideration when votes came in.
The following year, he WAS the player taking home the award, having by far his best season in a solid 18-year career.
In 1971, now solely entrenched at third base, Torre was on fire as he hit a league-leading .363 with 24 homers and a league-leading 137 runs batted in.
He also lead the N.L. with 230 hits and 352 total bases, getting him 21 of 24 first place votes when M.V.P. balloting came around at the end of the year.
So again I have to ask: why not have the players themselves on this card, celebrating some awesome performances, than some static image of a plaque?
Oh well, at least it gives me the opportunity to "fix" it all right here, some 40+ years later!
Next time, we look at my redesign for the Cy Young Award card (#623), featuring Blue again and Fergie Jenkins.