Sunday, January 25, 2015

RANDOM QUICKIE: BILL STEIN AND HIS REPEATING IMAGE: 1976 AND 1977

Here's a quick post regarding former infielder Bill Stein and his 1976 and 1977 Topps cards.
I always get a kick out of images Topps blatantly used more than once, especially in consecutive years, like they did here:

1976
1977

In this case the guys at Topps closed in on the photo while airbrushing Stein into a Seattle Mariners uni (notice the great logo on the cap!).
For some reason Topps decided that Stein was a second baseman in 1976 and a third baseman in 1977, even though he played equal amounts both years for both positions. 
Stein did manage to forge a decent 14-year Major League career for himself between 1972 and 1985, playing in 959 games with 2811 at-bats while playing the infield and outfield.
His finest season could arguably be the inaugural Mariners year of 1977 when he hit .259 with 13 home runs and 67 runs batted in, along with 53 runs scored and 26 doubles in 151 games as the Mariners very first full-time third baseman.
It would actually be the only season where he played full-time, generally relegated to platoon status throughout his big league career.
I'll be looking at a few more cards that fall into this practice by Topps, so if you're into this type of stuff keep an eye out for it.

10 comments:

  1. Mike Marshall immediately comes to mind as multi-card, multi-airbrush example.

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  2. I agree Seth. They used the same two pictures on like six cards over a five year period, lol. Gio I recently went through some of my 77's and was taken by how bad the Mariners cards look. I know they didn't have the resources of today but those cards were really bad. I also saw a 1977 Rusty Staub from Hostess. It has an airbrushed Mets hat, half of a pinstriped uniform and the top part of the Expos logo showing. Poor guy.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Correction: The Hostess card is from the 1975 set.

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  3. Rico Carty's 1977 Topps card, which is airbrushed, shows him on the Toronto Blue Jays. However, Carty's 1977 O-Pee-Chee card, which was released at a later date than his Topps card, shows him on the Cleveland Indians. This card was made from an unaltered, actual photo. I find this especially interesting because Carty never played for the Blue Jays in '77. Topps made their correction in the OPC version, which is an atypical occurrence. Generally, the updated version of a player was airbrushed in the OPC set. In this case, just the opposite happened.

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    1. In Topps' defense, they thought they were doing right by their customers. Rico was drafted from the Indians by the Jays in the November, 1976 expansion draft. ...but then Carty traded back to the Indians in December, at which point everybody at Topps said "D'OH!!!!"

      There are a bunch of cards in 1977 OPC which have different/updated photos, but this is the one which bit Topps in the butt.

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  4. I had both of these Bill Stein cards in the year they were released, but it was many years before I realized they used the same photos. I guess it just goes to show that Topps did fool some kids (or at least me).

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  5. I look forward to these. I know Topps did this often in the sixties, but this is the first I've seen after 1972.

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  6. what a great way to gain insight into what air brushing to see the differences in the 2 cards! Love to see more posts like this. This is like CSI for baseball air brushing...Love it!

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  7. One same picture, multi-card occurrence which bothered me was Ralph Garr's 1973/1974 cards.

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