30 July 2014

the quest for a 1978 topps master set

1978 topps was the first set i ever completed.  it took me most of the summer of 1978 to do it, but i built the set through packs and neighborhood trades and singles purchased at the local card shop.  although i had been given a pack of 1977 topps the year before, and somehow had a few 1971 cards in my collection, it was the 1978 set that spurred my dedication to the hobby.  

i also spent a couple of weeks in the great white north that summer, and bought up packs of 1978 o-pee-chee cards, enjoying the variations that mixed the topps photos with new teams for some players and the clarifying text that was added to those cards.  i didn't finish the o-pee-chee set until the early 2000's, however, but once it was completed, i turned my attention to the other 1978 variations.

there was the 1978 topps zest willie montanez card, and the 1978 topps burger king cards issued for the rangers, tigers, yankees, and astros that included several cards not in the 1978 topps flagship.  beyond that, there are the cards that topps made as part of their archives and fan favorites sets using the 1978 design.  i showed most of them in this post, but left out two from the 2004 topps all-time fan favorites set.

here's keith hernandez
and a card made for national league umpire eric gregg
topps had to modify the design slightly to accommodate the lack of a team name, although i wish they had used the national league logo (or at least a larger mlb logo) and broken the border to make it look a little bit more like a 1978 card.  the back is all text, which is a departure as well
there is no mention of the generous strike zone gregg employed in the 1997 nlcs.

here's the back of hernandez's card, which looks more like the real thing
except for the stats beyond 1977 and the text reference to his 1979 co-mvp and batting title.

since the post that showed the other atff and recent archives cards that used the design, i was able to find one that had eluded me.  the 2012 topps archives george foster auto sp is now in the collection
i don't know why this card wasn't issued as a non-auto (same goes for the greg luzinski in the set).  meanwhile, it doesn't appear that the 1978 design was used at all in 2014 topps archives.  still, there was this card issued as an insert in 2014 topps series 2 that i picked up
it's a 'future stars that never were' card, re-imagining eddie murray's 1978 topps rookie card as a 'future star' subset card, had there been one in 1978.  topps did a nice job of using the stars that they used on the 1978 highlights cards, so i see how this design could have fit into the set.  however, i would have preferred to see a card that should have been of paul molitor, alan trammell, lou whitaker, dale murphy, or some other player who was featured on a multi-player rookie card that year instead of murray.  i'll still take it, though.


Stack22 said...

Topps should have printed "National" in the same script they did the team names in on the umpire card.

gcrl said...

That would have been much better.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the post, and have a few more cards to add to my wantlist...

I also complete my 1978 Topps set back in '78, and I've recently been dipping my toe into the other options around. I got the Zest Montanez a year or so ago, and I just got a couple of Burger King Tigers that are different from the Topps counterpart. I'll share those cards as soon as I get them from COMC.

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