Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Here'a 1976 card for a guy who appeared in 41 games for the Chicago Cubs in 1975, yet was omitted from the set the following year, pitcher Ken Frailing:
Take a look at the card I came up with for "Reader Jim" and our "1976 Project":

Frailing squeezed 53 innings out of those 41 games, all in relief, posting a 2-5 record with a 5.43 earned run average and a single save.
The previous year he put in 125.1 innings over 55 games, 16 of which were starts, going 6-9 with a 3.88 E.R.A., a save and 71 strikeouts.
Those two seasons would be the bulk of his five-year career, the first two of which were as a Chicago White Sox player in 1972 and 1973.
The 1976 season would turn out to be his last, as he appeared in six games, going 1-2 with a 2.41 E.R.A., with three starts.
He'd play in the minors until 1978 before leaving the game for good, with his final Major League numbers: a 10-16 record with a 3.96 E.R.A., two saves and 136 strikeouts over 116 games, 19 of which were starts.
On a side note: I'm not too familiar with the Topps Vault and that whole "scene", but one thing that I wonder about is the fact that all of the photos are posed shots, and I wonder why there are no "action" shots in the Vault considering so many of the actual cards that came out in the mid-70's on up were awesome "in game" pictures (think Johnny Bench, Willie Horton, etc in the 1976 set for example).
So are all the "action" photos taken by someone other than Topps, which Topps then licensed from the photographer?
Just curious....I thank anyone in advance for any clarification!


  1. I seem to remember seeing a few of the action shots from the 1980 Topps football set actually being licensed from the AP or something but I can't remember exactly who. This may be the case for their baseball shots too. Could you imagine the uncropped original images from some of those wacky action shots from the 70s?!?! THAT would be awesome!!!!

  2. I took the liberty of asking this question over at the OOTP site and received this response:

    My understanding is that the early action shots from the 70s were Polaroids. The Vault has sold lots of these, actually, though I assume fewer of those were taken and/or still exist than the negatives/transparencies of the same era. Looking at the card sets of the eighties, its clear to me that many of the action shots were taken by professional photographers (guys who worked for SI and like publications and free lancers). While Topps purchased the rights to use these photographs, I seriously doubt they purchased the full ownership rights (which were likely retained by the photogs). (Aside: one of the best card blogs out there--Night Owl--recently did a piece about Topps cards featuring the work of Ronald C. Modra). That trend may very well have continued--virtually uninterrupted--to the present.

    When Topps Vault offers the action shots they do--be they Polaroids or the late 90s super star stuff you do see, I, for one, generally skip right past them as they do nothing for my head. I prefer and have always preferred the posed shots I grew up with (just one reason I prefer Heritage to Topps flagship). I suspect a lot of image collectors may feel similarly. Which is to say, the Vault probably offers more action images than are ever called to anyone's attention in this little corner of the hobby.

    Really, one of the things I love about doing this blog is the feedback from all of you! I never knew about the licensed action photos. I just assumed Topps was taking care of all of it. Awesome!
    Can't thank you all enough...

  4. Here's the article I was remembering. It was the 1981 set but I don't see any mention of them being licensed photographs.


  5. Great stuff as always for this Project Gio!



Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.