In 1977 Topps went back to having both league's leaders in a statistical category on the same card, and it brings us to the next leader card that featured solely future Hall of Famers: card #6, "1976 Strikeout Leaders" with two of the all-time best, Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver.
Take a look:
This was the very first leader card I was in awe of as a kid.
By 1977 I was collecting hardcore, and seeing this card of these two "monsters" on the mound was awesome.
We saw these two guys earlier on the 1974 strikeout leaders card, and it's no surprise they'd lead their league again during the same year, as they were at the height of their careers at this point, well on their way to the Hall of Fame and amassing staggering career numbers.
All Ryan did in 1976 was lead the American League in K's for the fourth time, all seasons in which he whiffed over 300 batters. This time he struck out 327, to go along with a 17-18 record with a 3.36 E.R.A. and a league-leading seven shutouts.
This would be the first of four straight strikeout leading season for Ryan, a streak he would incredibly match eleven years later at the age of 40!
I swear it's still mind-boggling to talk about what Ryan accomplished during his 27 year career. Just incredible!
For Seaver, 1976 would be the last of five strikeout crowns during his stellar career, as he paced the Senior Circuit with 235 K's to go along with a 14-11 record and a 2.59 E.R.A.
He also threw five shutouts in his 34 starts for the year, which would be his last as a New York Met before being traded during the next season to the Cincinnati Reds, breaking the heart of many in the Big Apple, including a Yankee fan like myself!
Ryan and Seaver, two of the all-time classic fire-ballers in baseball history during their prime.
Nice card to say the least.
Next up in this thread: the 1978 strikeout leader card, featuring Ryan once again for the A.L., and Atlanta Braves knuckleballer Phil Niekro for the N.L.