28 February 2013

they're not funny...they're art

there are three cards in the 1978 topps set that are absolute artistic masterpieces.  

there's greg minton
 and mike paxton
and my personal favorite, dave kingman
when i was making my 1978 topps burger king dodgers/update set, i tried to pay homage to these works of art with a gerry hannahs card that should have been.  it turned out to be most like the kingman card - more based in reality than the minton or the paxton.

i'm really confused by the minton card.  he had been with the giants since 1975, and topps had made a card of him in the 1977 set using an actual photograph, even if there was some airbrushing going on.  why they couldn't have used that same photo for his solo card in 1978 is beyond me.  minton only appeared in two games during the 1977 season, but that fact, coupled with the lack of a usable photo, apparently wasn't enough to deter topps from keeping minton on the checklist.  their determination is our gain, for sure.

as for paxton, he made his big league debut in 1977 and pitched in 29 games for the red sox.  i guess topps couldn't get a photographer to boston.  come to think of it, do we really know if that is a painting of mike paxton?  or could it be someone from the national portrait gallery with a red sox cap painted over the revolutionary war era wig?  well, actually, we do know that it is mike paxton, because...holy smokes - here's a link to the actual photograph used to inspire the painting.  his hat really did look like that!

but enough of that.  this post is really about dave kingman and his 1978 topps card.  kingman started the 1977 season with the mets, for whom he had hit 37 home runs in 1976.  he played in 58 games for them with 9 home runs in 1977 before he was traded to the padres.  had kingman stayed with the mets for the entire season, his 1978 topps card might have looked like this
in san diego, kong appeared in 56 games and hit 11 home runs, including two grand slams.  but he didn't finish the season there, either.  had he done so, we might have had this card in the 1978 topps set
but no, kingman was picked up off of waivers by the angels on september 6, 1977.  he played in 10 games for the halos and hit 2 home runs - both of which came in the same game (september 13th against the rangers).  unfortunately, kingman was traded to the yankees on september 16, 1977, depriving us of this card in the 1978 topps set  
back in new york, kingman appeared in 8 games and had 6 hits - all for extra bases.  in addition to two doubles, he hit four home runs, including one in each of his first three games as a yankee.  despite that power display, kingman became a free agent, and signed with the cubs on november 30, 1977, giving topps plenty of time to put him in a cubs' cap instead of a yankees hat, denying us this card
speaking of kingman's actual 1978 topps card, the third time was the charm for me recently, as kingman signed and returned one to me after two previous attempts
that's awesome.

and, for your cultural enrichment, here is a consolidated warholian approach to the 1978 topps dave kingman cards that might have been
marilyn monroe, campbell soup, and dave kingman.  art.


JediJeff said...

Amazingly cool, and yet creepy, all the same time.

The Angels In Order said...

That was one of the BEST posts I've ever seen. Awesome.

Fuji said...

Wow... pretty amazing. Wish I knew how to make custom cards like that. Loved seeing Kong in the Padres uniform.

Nick said...

Those Kingmans are awesome!

I wish Topps would make an insert set featuring guys in uniforms that they never wore on an actual Topps card. Cepeda with the Royals, George Foster with the White Sox, etc.

Kingman would have a trio of those with the Padres, Angels, and Yankees.

Jason T. Carter said...

Love it.

JT, The Writer's Journey