Sunday, July 24, 2011

1975 Topps Phillies

1975 Topps #630, #70, #22 and #420
I crossed the threshold from "kid with a nice collection of baseball cards" to "baseball card collector" the day my Dad bought me the George Brett rookie card.  It was the early '80s, and we had stumbled into a baseball card show at a local mall.  My Dad paid a ridiculous price for the card - I think it was $12 - and it was at that moment I realized we were baseball card collectors.  To own a card of that magnitude was unheard of at the time in my circle of boyhood collecting friends, as the oldest cards we possessed at that point were from the 1979 Burger King set.  Once my Dad added that Brett card to my collection, there was no looking back.

1975 Topps #70 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  For the third straight year, Topps went with the now-standard 660 cards.  The company also released a test issue of mini cards, replicating the same 660 cards as the standard set, just shrunken down a bit.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  If not for the 1956 Topps set, this would be my favorite set.  It's got a great design, great cards, and I collected the whole thing with my Dad - just like the '56 set.  Also, it's far out, man.
Notable competition:  Hostess started including cards on its snack cake boxes and Kellogg's once again included cards within its boxes of cereal.  The Hostess set is notable for containing Tug McGraw's first baseball card as a Phillie.

1975 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies finished above .500 for the first time since 1967 with a record of 86-76.  They finished in second place in the division, 6 1/2 games behind the Pirates.
Key players:  Greg Luzinski led the offense with an even .300 average, 34 home runs and 120 RBIs.  Mike Schmidt wasn't far behind with his 38 home runs and 95 RBIs, although he hit only .249.  Middle infielders Larry Bowa and Dave Cash both hit .305 while Jay Johnstone and Ollie Brown split time in right and both hit over .300.  Steve Carlton (15-14, 3.56 ERA, 192 strikeouts) again anchored the pitching staff, followed by Tom Underwood (14-13) and Larry Christenson (11-6).
Key events:  General manager Paul Owens was busy wheeling and dealing.  He acquired reliever McGraw from the Mets in December 1974, sending Del Unser to New York.  He swapped center fielders with the Giants in May, shipping out Willie Montanez, and bringing in Garry Maddox.  And Dick Allen came back to his original team when he was obtained from the Braves with catcher Johnny Oates.

1975 Topps #351, #242, #596 and #574
1975 Phillies in 1975 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set: There are only 27 Phillies cards in a 1975 Topps team set.  We're up to 179 Topps Phillies cards from 1970-1975 and 647 Topps Phillies cards from 1951-1975.
Who’s in:

  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 6 cards
#351 Bob Boone (c), #22 Dave Cash (2b), #420 Larry Bowa (ss), #70 Mike Schmidt (3b), #630 Greg Luzinski (lf), #242 Jay Johnstone (rf)

The regular first baseman (Allen) and center fielder (Maddox) are in the set, but they're featured on other teams.

1975 Topps #185, #551, #94 and #326
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 4 cards
#185 Steve Carlton, #551 Larry Christenson, #94 Jim Lonborg, #326 Wayne Twitchell

Underwood is featured on a multi-player "Rookie" card.
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1975 - 9 cards
#118 Mike Anderson, #162 Willie Montanez, #267 Dick Ruthven, #292 Ron Schueler, #399 Terry Harmon, #444 Gene Garber, #477 Tom Hutton, #574 Tony Taylor, #596 Ollie Brown
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player "Rookie" cards - 1 card
#615 Tom Underwood with Pat Darcy (Reds), Dennis Leonard (Royals) and Hank Webb (Mets)
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1975 - 4 cards
#138 Del Unser, #374 Eddie Watt, #501 Bill Robinson, #527 Mac Scarce
  • League Leaders cards - 2 cards
#307 Home Run Leaders - Mike Schmidt with Dick Allen (White Sox), #312 Strikeout Leaders - Steve Carlton with Nolan Ryan (Angels)
1975 Topps #46
Who’s out:  Jerry Martin didn't receive a card, despite appearing in 57 games with the '75 Phillies.
Phillies on other teams:  There are a whopping 10 cards of players who played with the Phillies in 1975, but appeared in the set with other teams - #67 Tug McGraw (Mets), #182 Don Hahn (Mets), #240 Garry Maddox (Giants), #319 Johnny Oates (Braves), #377 Tom Hilgendorf (Indians), #400 Dick Allen (White Sox), #405 John Montague (Expos), #586 Tim McCarver (Red Sox), #629 Joe Hoerner (Royals) and #634 Cy Acosta (White Sox)
What’s he doing here:  It's hard to argue with any of the players selected for the Phillies team set.  Given the entire set was issued at once, Topps no longer had the opportunity to include players who changed teams in the off-season with their new teams in a higher series.
Cards that never were candidates:  There's quite a few good candidates.  I'd make Phillies cards for Allen, Maddox, Oates, McGraw and perhaps Martin.  Underwood should have his own card.  (I've already made a card for Maddox, and there's a great card for Allen over at the Dick Allen Hall of Fame blog.)
Favorite Phillies card:  I'll pick Lefty's card, but it's not an easy choice.  I've always loved the Jay Johnstone card too - baby blue road unis, slanted background and a smiling Johnstone.

1975 Topps #400, #240, #67 and #319
Other Stuff
Recycled:  Upper Deck borrowed heavily from the design for an O-Pee-Chee insert set in 2009 and this was the design I used for the very first Chachi set back in 2005.  There's also a great looking card of Luzinski in the 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set, which uses the 1975 Topps design but features a picture of Bull with The Vet's multi-colored seats in the background.  Finally, Upper Deck tried the multi-color approach for its 2001 Decade 1970's set, and I discussed my disappointment with that set here.
Blogs/Websites:  You need to check out Night Owl's 1975 Topps blog, as it's one of the best set blogs out there.  Unfortunately, as of this writing, he has only 58 more cards to go in the set.
Did You Know?:  Here's the break-down of the different color combinations used for the 1975 Topps Phillies cards - Green-yellow (4), Purple-pink (3), Red-orange (3), Yellow-light blue (3), Yellow-red (3), Blue-orange (2), Brown-tan (2), Orange-yellow (2), Pink-yellow (2), Green-light green (1), Green-purple (1), Orange-brown (1).  I would have sworn there were more purple-pink Phillies cards than just three.


Johngy said...

I never liked the Schmidt card. It looks odd to me.

Also, I never saw your Maddox work before. Nicely done.

Matt Runyon said...

Owens really fleeced the Giants on that Maddox/Montanez trade. :(

Jim from Downingtown said...

Notable Paul Owens' fleecings:

1973 - Roger Freed and Oscar Gamble to the Indians for Del Unser.

1975 - Montanez to the Giants for Maddox.

1976 - Mike Anderson to the Cardinals for Ron Reed.

1976 - Rick Ruthven (later re-acquired) and 2 scrubs for Jim Kaat.

1977 - Tom Underwood, Dane Iorg, Rick Bosetti to the Cardinals for Bake McBride.

Anonymous said...

You missed a couple on the recycle. Greg Luzinski's 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites recycled the 1975 design. In addition, while not as blatant as some of their other issues, the 2001 UD Decade 1970s set comes pretty close to ripping off the design. Maddox, Schmidt, Luzinski and McGraw appear in that one.

By the way, I still haven't shipped the Samuel and Wilson Keller's Butter cards, but rest assured that I will get them out.

night owl said...

I have to do a team-by-team color combination breakdown on the blog.

Section 36 said...

The Brett was my first '75 as well. Although, mine was only $10 because it looks like someone was trying to clean gravel with it. Although, it's because of that card that I started trying to complete what is my favorite set. One of these days.

Jim said...

14k - I updated the post for the additional recycled cards.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you want to post about it (or already know about it yet), but Topps just recycled the design for mini parallels for its new Lineage series.