Sunday, May 11, 2008

1971 Topps Countdown

The 1971 Topps set is the first set that I ever tried to complete. There were four of us that would walk down to the corner store and buy a few packs each. I remember they also had a jumbo pack that went for around 15 cents. There were 25-30 cards in the box, and each box had a Topps coin. I amassed over 200 cards from this set that summer. Topps used to release the cards in different series. I ended up with cards from the first couple of series. As summer drew to a close, and with fall approaching, our interests turned toward the football cards that were now on the shelves. If I only would have known, I would have stocked up on the high number series back then. The 1971 Topps set is one of my all time favorites, mainly for sentimental reasons. I like that Topps introduced photos with live action shots. I remember staring at these for hours. Well, enough reminiscing, here is my Top 10 Countdown for 1971 Topps.

#10 Johnny Jeter

Before there was Derek Jeter, there was Johnny Jeter. I am guessing that he didn't wear that helmet in the games. It looks like one that we used to buy from the Toys R Us store. It appears that it is about three sizes too small, but that could be due to the fact that he is wearing his cap underneath.

# 9 Don O'Riley

Nice air brush job with the White Sox cap. Topps would continue this trend in later years.

# 8 Lowell Palmer

What's the deal with this guy. Those are the same shades he wore on his previous year card. I wonder if he sported those cool rays in the games.

# 7 Curt Blefary

A great example of the live action shots in the 1971 set. Too bad his card depicts him striking out swinging against the A's.

# 6 Darold Knowles

Knowles had one of the best pick off moves of his generation. In 1970 he was either hit or miss. He was one of the top relief pitchers in the league with 27 saves and a 2.04 ERA. Most of those saves were for multiple inning outings, unlike the one inning closer of today. His won loss record for the year was 2-14, go figure.

# 5 Cubs Team Card

I always wondered why so many of the Cubs team cards only showed head shots of the players instead of the traditional team photo. Does anybody know the reason? It may have been that the Cubs management was just too cheap to do a team photo.

#4 Dick Bosman

I like the way he dotted the "i" in his name with a star. Heck, he was a star. He led the AL in ERA in 1969 with a 2.19 mark.

#3 Willie Stargell

One of the great sluggers of the day. The Pirates had enough sense to keep him on the team, unlike their blunder with Freddie Patek. A great shot of young Willie in his days as an outfielder. Pops was later moved to first base where he was the leader of their world series winning team.

#2 Vida Blue

Blue took the league by storm in 1970, highlighted by his masterful no-hitter against the Twins. I really like this classic pose. A fitting gesture of the times. Peace to you too, brother.

# 1 Bud Harrelson

This card made me dream of one day reaching the big leagues. I still have that dream, but I am afraid that my time is running out. Notice Nolan Ryan making the out call on the would be base stealer, beating the ump to the call.


summ6394 said...

Scott hits a grand slam again with his review of the 1971 Topps set. I was in memory heaven with his photos and description of the cards. I can't wait to read more. He should work for Topps. Rock on Scott.

Tony said...

Lowell Palmer has the same shades because Topps was notorious for taking a series of shots of a player and using them over the course of several years.