Another personal milestone for this blog, the 400th post in just about a year, and we all know what that means: profiling every card numbered "400" in Topps' sets through the 1970's.
Let's jump right in and take a look shall we?
1970: Denny McLain
I always thought Denny McLain was somewhat of a chameleon since he had two "looks" as a ballplayer: the geeky bespectacled guy you see here on this card, the the chubbier, no-glasses dude later on.
Really did look like a completely different person later on.
Anyway, this card catches McLain at the height of his career, two straight Cy Young Awards, a 30-win season and a world championship with the Tigers in 1968.
A decent card in an otherwise bland set.
1971: Hank Aaron
Bleh. Kind of boring card for "Hammerin' Hank".
Maybe I'll redesign this one in the future.
Hank Aaron still had a few really good seasons left in him when this card came out, and was on his way to baseball immortality in just a few short years.
It wasn't just about his home runs. The man's career totals in hits, runs, R.B.I.'s, total bases, you name it!
I've always loved the fact that Aaron's career was one of excellent consistency. He never had the MASSIVE season that everyone seems to have.
This guy (like an Eddie Murray) just had all-star seasons every single year for about 20 years.
1972: Tony Oliva
Just coming off of his third batting title, and first since he exploded on the baseball scene his first two years in the mid-60's.
Oliva sadly is one of those "what could have been" had he avoided injuries that plagued him throughout his career.
Nevertheless, the man was a hitting machine, and besides his three batting titles, he lead the American League in hits five times, doubles four times and even slugging percentage once (in 1971) before he hung them up after the 1976 season.
Nice card of the Twins legend.
1973: Gaylord Perry
Love this card!
Perry was coming off of his first Cy Young season, posting 24 wins for the lowly Cleveland Indians.
Great in-game action shot.
Perry of course would go on to win 300 games, overtake Walter Johnson for the all-time strikeout mark (before being topped a few times over since), and eventually get himself inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
1974: Harmon Killebrew
Another great card!
Killebrew at the plate, ready to "jack" another ball out of the park at the tail end of his career.
All the guy who they'd call "Killer" would do in his career is blast 573 homers, have eight 40+ home run seasons, and lead his league in positive offensive categories 15 times.
Besides being voted A.L. M.V.P. in 1969, Killebrew would also finish in the top-5 in voting five other times throughout his 22 year career.
1975: Dick Allen
I think you all know by now how much I love Dick Allen!
I've always liked this card, with Allen in the filed wearing his batting helmet.
Winner of the Rookie of the Year in 1964, Most Valuable Player in 1972, and a league leader in one offensive category or another 12 times, the "Wampum Walloper" was an awesome player and an awesome character who STILL isn't as appreciated as he should be in my eyes.
351 home runs in only 6332 career at-bats! Think about that for a minute.
1976: Rod Carew
Even though this card just has a shot of Carew in the dugout, I've always thought this was a "classy" card of the seven-time batting champ.
Just love the colors all-around on this card.
Smack in the middle of his hitting domination, it would be one year later when he caught everyone's attention as he flirted with the magic .400 mark in 1977, finishing at .388 and an M.V.P. award.
3000 hits, a .328 career average, and the Hall of Fame in 1991 (along with the 1973 card above!).
1977: Steve Garvey
The very first card I was in "awe" of as a kid.
What a nice card, and I'm not 100% sure, but I'm almost positive this was the first time I really understood what that extra banner at the bottom really meant when I pulled this card out of a pack as an eight year old in 1977.
Love the photo Topps went with.
I still don't truly understand the extreme lack of support Garvey received for Hall of Fame induction when he was eligible.
THE all-star first baseman for the National League for over a decade, six 200-hit seasons, an M.V.P. in 1974 (along with a second place finish in 1978), and five National League pennants.
Throw in five 100-R.B.I. Seasons, 2599 career hits, 272 homers and four Gold Gloves, I feel you have to have him in Cooperstown if you have guys like Jim Rice and Jim Hunter in there.
1978: Nolan Ryan
Great card, great set, great player!
What else can we say about Nolan Ryan?
Just about ready to jump ship in Anaheim when this card came out, he'd go on to become the first player to average over $1 million a year, top the WORLD in no-hitters and strikeouts, and become a legend of legends when it comes to "power-pitchers".
As a side note: I did always think he looked a bit weird with those blank looks he'd always sport on cards.
1979: Jim Rice
Nice card of Rice beaming a million dollar smile coming off of his incredible 1978 M.V.P. year where he managed to lead the league in both home runs AND triples (how freaking cool is that?).
Rice would eventually make it into the Hall of Fame in 2009 known as perhaps the most feared hitter in the game in the late-70's and early-80's along with Dave Parker and George Brett.
A monster at the plate: 2400+ hits, 382 homers, 1451 runs batted in and a .298 lifetime average.
Five times would he finish in the running for Most Valuable Player besides the year he took it home.
So there you have it: all ten cards numbered "400" in Topps' 1970's sets, celebrating my 400th post on this blog.
Hope you're all enjoying the blog after about a year.
It's really beyond fun for me to work on it, and I hope to keep it going well beyond the 500th, dare I even say 1000th post!
Thanks for reading so far…