Saturday, August 27, 2016


Today I’d like to focus on a very nice airbrushing job Topps put out there, the 1978 Rich Gossage card, getting him as a New York Yankee after coming over from the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Gossage was a huge pick up for the reliever-rich Yanks, as they already had former Cy Young winner Sparky Lyle, leading to one of my favorite baseball-quips of all-time: “You went from Cy Young to sayonara”, uttered by the jokester Graig Nettles to Lyle, as the writing was on the wall.
By the time the 1979 season opened Lyle was a Texas Ranger, and Gossage was closing in the Bronx straight through the 1983 season, becoming one of the best closers in Yankee history.
As for the card, Topps really did do a nice job getting the uniform as realistic as possible in this action shot, about as smooth a job as I can recollect. It had me fooled as a kid when I ripped the card out of a pack for the first time.
It’s definitely on-par with cards like the 1978 Elliot Maddox or 1976 Nelson Briles cards, even the 1977 Doyle Alexander and 1973 Davey Johnson.


  1. The 1978 set was the first set I collected at age 10. It took me some time to realize Gossage's card was a paint job - even today it holds up really well as one of Topps' better efforts (the Elliott Maddox card in the same set took me years to realize it was painted).

  2. Nitpicking a bit here, but what appears to be San Francisco's Candlestick Park, complete with its artificial turf, as the in action setting always gave this card too much of a National League feel for me. Made the fine airbrushing job seem even more inauthentic then usual.

  3. Hey Look, The Goose is Pitching in Candlestick Park with the Yankees? Ha! Nice Job.

    1. Wearing the home Yankee pinstripes no less.

  4. I think by 1978 I was really attuned to Topps airbrushing tricks since, by then, I already had a couple of years of scrutinizing it under my belt. For me, the giveaways at the time were the background fence (knowing Yankee Stadium had nothing like that), the non-serifed block numbers on the back and the faint pinstriping. That said, a good overall effort by Topps, especially the cap, sleeves and socks.



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