17 August 2009

1978 was a very good year

right on the heels of completing my 1970 set, i finished upgrading my 1978 set. 1978 topps was the first set i ever put together, and i was not too kind to my cards thirty-one years ago. i had a lot of help with this upgrading from andy at traded sets, as well as dan at saints of the cheap seats. thanks very much guys.

so, let's celebrate with a few of my favorite cards from the set.

eddie murray.

eddie moves straight to the top of night owl's 'badass' list. this is such an iconic rookie card, in my opinion. maybe not as much so as the 1952 mantle, but it's still a great great card.

willie crawford.
a former dodger - a fact i learned by reading the back of the card - so to me, willie crawford will always pop up in my mind as an oakland a. the colors on this card, the dual brim look, the peeling paint on the helmet, the tape on the bat - there is so much to look at on this card. it's fantastic.

gene richards.
the first time i saw this card i wasn't sure if that was a bat or if gene was raking the field. i still am not sure.

toby harrah.the off-center photo gives a sense of anticipated action, i think. i also like the colors - both of the uniform and the horizontal layers of the crowd, the facade, the fence, the grass, and the dirt.

bob watson.the yang to toby harrah's ying. this card is all about the uniform. the way watson is bending, all the stripes are vertical.

felix millan.here's the first double play card i ever saw, with the cobra sliding in. i played short back then but we didn't turn too many double plays in little league. even so, i love(d) the action on this card.

joe torre.i had to follow millan with torre - you know the story, right? anyway, i liked all of the manager cards in the set, but torre's was the only true 'final tribute' since he played in 1977. even back then, i paid attention to stuff like that.

george brett.
this card pretty much sums up 1978 for me. i had the same haircut and a big ol' wad of tobacco in my cheek when i was playing. just kidding about the tobacco. i would chew a bunch of the sticks of gum from the packs of cards and push the wad to my cheek and suck the sugar out during the games. i did have that same haircut though.

darold knowles.
this was the last card i needed to finish my set the first time around, so i have always had a decent amount of respect for it. it's pretty non-descript, though.

dave kingman.i didn't know anything about airbrushing back in 1978, but i knew that this card was wildly mesmerizing - even more so than the greg minton card. plus, the stats on the back were just as compelling: 4 teams in 1977, none of which were the cubs. 6 hits for the yankees, all for extra bases. i wonder if the yankees voted him any part of their playoff share...

robin yount.he looked so young compared to the other players, and with the chain link fence i could pretend that i was just a step away from the majors when i was playing at the little league fields. although our chain link fences didn't go that high.

phillies team card.i studied this card the way some people studied beatles album covers. there is so much going on - people looking the wrong way, tug mcgraw whispering in someone's ear, the random glove up on the statue, bake mcbride in mid-farmer blow, the mysterious men in white, and so much more.

don gullett.very similar to ron guidry's card, but you can see all of gullett here. this card has more anticipation and balance. i just wish his right arm were a bit more extended to fill out the other corner. still, for a set filled with posed shots, the yankees action shots were great to see.

speaking of which, here's reggie jackson.despite what he did to the dodgers in the 1977 world series, there is no denying that this is a fantastic card. the power it conveys, with his left knee just barely above the ground, is palpable.

carl yastrzemski.at first i thought yaz was an all star at two positions. the sideburns, of course, are awesome, but the reflective pose of the grizzled veteran...oh, who am i kidding? it's carl yastrzemski and his muttonchop sideburns!

don baylor.baylor gets the hero pose. baylor was my first non-dodger favorite player, and this card made him seem larger than life.

then there is my first favorite player, period - steve garvey. i have waxed poetic about this card before - it's my favorite card ever. but there is another card in the 1978 set that is a close second, and it might surprise you.

it's doug ault.
this card enjoys the benefit of an in-game yankee stadium shot, and it captures one of the 'in-between' moments of the game. thurman munson is adjusting his mask while ault has one foot in the batter's box and is re-establishing his grip on the bat. i imagine the pitcher is fiddling with the ball and the infielders are going through their pre-pitch routines. because of the angle of the photo, this card makes me feel like i am at the stadium. it's perfect.

now, with the 1970 and 1978 sets out of the way, i'll be focusing on finishing my 1976 set and starting to upgrade my entire 1979 set. let me know if you can help out!


night owl said...

Now I've got to go look at my '78s:

The Richards card reminds me that nobody chokes up on the bat much anymore. The Ault card was one of my favorites, too, just because it was so different from most of the '78s, which were portraits or poses or Yankee action shots. And the Kingman -- who doesn't love the Kingman?

MattR said...

The 1978 set is an underrated set. My set is probably in the same shape as yours was. It needs to be upgraded.

I never noticed that about the Philies team card. The Reggie card is a classic.