Sunday, June 19, 2011

1971 Topps Phillies

1971 Topps #490, #233, #23 and #138
I have about 70% of the 1971 Topps set in my possession.  I'm exactly 226 cards away from a complete set, and I'm sad to say I haven't added a new card to the set in over a year.  I haven't even posted my wantlist to this blog, which I plan to remedy shortly.  Those 226 cards are the only thing standing between me and a complete run of Topps sets from 1970 to 2010.  On Christmas morning, 1998, Santa left a starter set of 50 cards under the Christmas tree and I chipped away at the set little by little for the next few years.  Since the mid-2000's, my baseball card collecting focus has shifted to the point where I'm mostly collecting Phillies cards at this point.  But I haven't forgotten about this black-bordered beauty from '71.

The Set
1971 Topps #490 (Back)
Number of cards in the set:  Topps added 32 more cards from the previous year's set, coming in at 752 total cards.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  It's awesome.  The black borders scared me off for a long time because I wanted to be able to put together a condition-sensitive set, heavy with mint to near-mint cards.  I'm wiser now, and I've realized condition isn't really that important.  I'm not looking to get these things graded to sell them at a profit.  I'm looking to enjoy the process of collecting the set and getting to one day flip through the binder housing the entire 752-card run.
Notable competition:  There was a 13-card Phillies set released by Arco gas stations in 1971, and there are three Phillies to be found in the second ever Kellogg's set.

1971 Phillies
Record and finish:  Any progress that was made in 1970 was erased in 1971 as the team went 67-95, finishing dead last in the division and 30 games behind the Pirates.
Key players:  They didn't hit for average, but first baseman Deron Johnson (.265, 34 home runs, 95 RBIs) and rookie center fielder Willie Montanez (.255, 30 home runs, 99 RBIs) provided the power.  Most of the other regulars hovered around the as yet unnamed Mendoza line and regular third baseman John Vukovich finished well below the line with a .166 average.  Rick Wise (17-14, 2.88 ERA) had another stellar year but every other regular starting pitcher finished with a losing record.  With Wise as the only dependable starter, there's no way the Phillies would dare trade him following the season.  (That's foreshadowing right there.  I sometimes like to use literary techniques on the blog.)
Key events:  Veterans Stadium opened its doors (or more accurately, its ramps) on April 10, 1971.  On June 8th, the Phillies selected Mike Schmidt, a shortstop from Ohio University, in the second round of the June Amateur Draft.  Schmidt was the 30th overall pick in the draft and he signed a contract with the Phillies three days later.

1971 Topps #465, #49, #246 and #616
1971 Phillies in 1971 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 31 cards in a complete 1971 Topps Phillies team set.  That's 60 cards so far from the '70s and 528 Topps Phillies cards overall since 1951.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 5 cards
#465 Tim McCarver (c), #490 Deron Johnson (1b), #352 Denny Doyle (2b), #233 Larry Bowa (ss), #23 Oscar Gamble (lf)

Shortstop Vukovich was omitted completely, center fielder Montanez had to share his card (see below) and new right fielder Roger Freed is pictured with the Orioles.
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 4 cards
#598 Rick Wise, #739 Barry Lersch, #511 Chris Short, #574 Jim Bunning

1971 Topps #598, #511, #574 and #166
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1971 - 14 cards
#49 Don Money, #166 Joe Hoerner, #192 Bill Wilson, #246 Tony Taylor, #297 John Briggs, #323 Bill Champion, #366 Ron Stone, #414 Woodie Fryman, #533 Mike Ryan, #554 Lowell Palmer, #616 Larry Hisle, #659 Byron Browne, #682 Terry Harmon, #705 Dick Selma
  • 1971 Rookie Stars cards - 4 cards
#138 Joe Lis/Willie Montanez, #439 Greg Luzinski/Scott Reid, #664 Ken Reynolds with Archie Reynolds (Angels) and Bob Reynolds (Expos), #728 Wayne Redmond with Keith Lampard (Astros) and Bernie Williams (Giants)
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1971 - 2 cards
#77 Mike Compton, #92 Fred Wenz
2001 Topps Archives #66
Who’s out:  As mentioned above, Vukovich was left out of the set completely as were utility player Bobby Pfeil (44 games, .271 average) and reliever Darrell "Bucky" Brandon (6-6 in 52 games).
Phillies on other teams:  Freed (#362) appears with the Orioles on a Rookie Stars card with pitcher Mike Adamson.  Future All-Star Wayne Twitchell (#692) appears with the Brewers on a Rookie Stars card, as does catcher Pete Koegel (#633).
What’s he doing here:  Redmond appeared in the final series on a multi-player Rookie Stars card, but I have no idea how he came into the Phillies organization.  He played in 4 games with the Tigers in 1965 and 5 games with the Tigers in 1969, but he never played for the Phillies.  His minor league stats over at Baseball Reference don't show him as having appeared in a game within the Phillies' system.  It's a mystery.
Cards that never were candidates:  Vukovich should have a card, while both Montanez and Reynolds deserve their own cards.  Freed should have a Phillies card and it would be cool to see a Schmidt draft pick card.
Favorite Phillies card:  There are a lot of great cards to choose from here, including Bowa's first solo card with the Topps All-Star Rookie trophy, and Lowell Palmer striking a pose in his shades.  But I'm torn between Gamble's and Short's cards which both display the new Phillies unis with old Connie Mack Stadium lurking in the background.  It's Gamble by a hair.

1971 Topps #533, #554, #297 and 2002 Upper Deck Vintage #235
Other Stuff
Recycled:  The 2002 Upper Deck Vintage set borrowed from used the classic design, moving the team name to the bottom of the card.
Blogs/Websites:  Is there seriously not a blog for this set?  How is that possible?  If there's one out there and I've just missed it, please let me know.  In the mean time, there's a set quest going on over at Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius.
Did You Know?:  Going strictly numerical, the first Phillie ever to appear on a Topps baseball card wearing the new '70s and '80s-era Phillies uniforms was Gamble on card #23 in the set.  In case you were wondering, the last Phillie to ever wear this uniform in a Topps set was Danny Cox, card #791 in the 1992 Topps Set.  And now you know.

And one more thing - Happy Father's Day!


Anonymous said...

Does this mean that the Chris Short card doesn't get extra points for having Pete Rose as the Red dancing in the background of his card?

Jim said...

You're right. I may need to re-consider. I wanted to tag Rose in this post, but Blogger only allows 20 tags.

Matt Runyon said...

My vote for best Phillie card in the set goes to Chris Short. That's a good picture.

Jim from Downingtown said...

I was just leafing through my 1971 Phillies set, and I realized that of the 26 Phillies base cards (including manager Lucchesi), every one of them has a photo in the new Phillies uniform. No hatless players, no airbrushing, no low-angle shot obscuring the hat. Topps' photographers finally got off the dime!

Jim said...

That's true, with the lone exception being the Fred Wenz card. He's still pictured in the old-style uniform. But Topps definitely picked up its game for this release.

Anonymous said...

From the Eugene Register-Guard Oct. 24, 1970:"The Philadelphia Phillies purchased outfielder Wayne Redmond from the California Angels Friday..." The Toledo Blade says it was the Tigers who sold him

From the Star-News Apr. 3, 1971 article "Phillies Cut Five Players": "Outfielder Wayne Redmond was assigned to the minor league camp in Clearwater...for further assignment"

Toledo Blade Apr. 15, 1971.."Redmond quit the team Sunday and was, in turn, suspended indefinitely by the Mud Hens Monday...The latest go-round stemmed from Redmond's status as a reserve outfielder since being returned late in the spring training session from the Philadelphia Phillies, who had purchased him on a conditional basis"

Jim from Downingtown said...

Little-known fact about Roger Freed and Darrell Brandon: Freed (20) and Brandon (32) were the last Phillies players to wear those numbers before Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton.

Jim said...

ecloy - Nice research! It's odd that Topps would include him in the set, especially in a late series. They had to have known he was long gone by then.

Jim - That's an awesome bit of trivia.

Jim from Downingtown said...


I found a link tonight to a 1971 Topps Baseball Card page. It's not a blog, but they have all the cards pictured.

I'm going to add it to my sidebars, just for continuity.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Those uniforms were great when they debuted in 1970. Originally, it was decided to have new uni's and a new park together. The opening of the Vet was delayed by a year, but they went ahead with the new uniforms anyway.

Along with the new uniforms (and new coaching staff) was a new numbering scheme. Veterans Jim Bunning (14), Tony Taylor (8), and John Briggs (12) were grandfathered in, but everyone else was renumbered this way:
#1-5 - manager and coaches
#6-9 - catchers
10s - infielders
20s - outfielders
30s & 40s - pitchers

Ron Stone, Larry Hisle, and Don Money (all full-season players in 1969) went from #3,4,5 to #21, 22, 16 respectively.

Jim said...

That's fascinating about the new numbering scheme. I had no idea they had done that!

Jim from Downingtown said...

I think what made it easier was that it was an ideal cut-off point:

a)All-new coaching staff for 1970.
b)1st year for McCarver, Doyle, Bowa, Gamble, Browne, Hoerner, Selma, (also maybe Vukovich, Wilson, and Brandon).
c)Veterans Allen, Callison, and Rojas were shipped out after 1969.

(Woodie Fryman was also renumbered from the 20s to the 30s)