Sunday, July 31, 2011

1976 Topps Phillies

1976 Topps #480, #610, #38 and #455
My Dad and I purchased almost half this set from the Ocean City Baseball Card Show in June 1988.  I looked forward to this baseball card show all year, and I'd turn into a neighborhood lawn-mowing machine in order to have enough money to last me one circuit around the Music Pier on the boardwalk where the show was held.  In 1988, we went to the show with one goal in mind - get as many 1976 Topps cards as possible.  There was one dealer in particular, Diamond Dust, who had the nicest, the most organized and the most reasonably priced cards at the show.  We probably spent over an hour going through Diamond Dust's binder of commons that afternoon, crossing off cards we needed and calculating in our heads just how much damage we were doing to our piggy banks.  Fortunately, Dad always saved just enough to buy a few slices of Mack and Manco's following the show.

Santa delivered the last card I needed for the set (#526 - a stinking checklist) on Christmas morning 1988.

1976 Topps #455 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  For the fourth year in a row, the set consisted of 660 cards.  Similar to 1974, Topps issued a 44-card Traded series to complement the base set.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  Another classic set.  Topps went with visual position representation for the first time since 1973, and I like what they did here much more than the silhouettes used in 1973.  I also don't mind that Topps deemed pink and yellow to be the best colors to represent the Phillies.
Notable competition:  Sport Star Publishing Company, also known as SSPC, issued a 630-card set in 1976 that was quickly pulled from circulation because of legal threats from the Topps Company.  I did a post on this set back during the blog's infancy.

1976 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies finished 101-61, in first place in the N.L. East, nine games ahead of the Pirates.  The 101 wins were the most in franchise history.  Unfortunately, they were swept in three games in the N.L.C.S. by The Big Red Machine.
Key players: Mike Schmidt led the offense again (.262, 38 home runs, 107 RBIs) and he led the National League in home runs for the third consecutive year.  The starting outfield all hit over .300 - Greg Luzinski (.304, 21 home runs, 95 RBIs), Garry Maddox (.330) and Jay Johnstone (.318).  Dick Allen also enjoyed a fine year, hitting .268 with 15 home runs and 49 RBIs.  The pitching staff was led by Steve Carlton (20-7, 3.13 ERA, 195 strikeouts), Jim Kaat (12-14, 3.48 ERA), Jim Lonborg (18-10, 3.08 ERA), Larry Christenson (13-8, 3.68 ERA) and Tom Underwood (10-5, 3.53 ERA).  The bullpen trio of Tug McGraw (11 saves), Ron Reed (14 saves) and Gene Garber (11 saves) also enjoyed terrific seasons.
Key events:  It all came together for the Phillies in 1976.  The city celebrated the nation's bicentennial and the All-Star Game was hosted at the Vet.  Schmidt hit four home runs on April 17th at Wrigley Field in a game the Phillies won, 18-16, in 10 innings.

1976 Topps #318, #295, #145 and #114
1976 Phillies in 1976 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set: There are 30 cards in a 1976 Topps Phillies team set, and 2 more cards from the Traded series.  That's 211 Topps Phillies cards from 1970 through 1976 and 679 Topps Phillies cards overall.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#318 Bob Boone (c), #455 Dick Allen (1b), #295 Dave Cash (2b), #145 Larry Bowa (ss), #480 Mike Schmidt (3b), #610 Greg Luzinski (lf), #38 Garry Maddox (cf), #114 Jay Johnstone (rf)

1976 Topps #355, #80T, #271 and #634
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 5 cards
#355 Steve Carlton, #80T Jim Kaat, #271 Jim Lonborg, #634 Larry Christenson, #407 Tom Underwood
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1976 - 11 cards
#14 Gene Garber, #62 Johnny Oates, #91 Tom Hutton, #223 Ollie Brown, #247 Terry Harmon, #502 Tim McCarver, #543 Wayne Twitchell, #565 Tug McGraw, #586 Ron Schueler, #624 Tony Taylor, #58T Ron Reed
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player "Rookie" cards - 1 card
#595 Randy Lerch with Art DeFlippis (Rangers), Sid Monge (Angels) and Steve Barr (Rangers)
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1976 - 3 cards
#168 Tom Hilgendorf, #431 Dick Ruthven, #527 Mike Anderson

Anderson appears in the Traded set (#527T) badly airbrushed into a Cardinals hat.
1976 Topps #193
  • League Leader cards - 2 cards
#193 Home Run Leaders - Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski with Dave Kingman (Mets), #195 RBI Leaders - Greg Luzinski with Johnny Bench (Reds) and Tony Perez (Reds)
  • Father & Son cards - 1 card, #67 Bob Boone with Ray Boone
  • Team card with manager - 1 card, #384 with Danny Ozark
Who’s out:  Outfielder Jerry Martin appeared in 130 games with the Phils, but he's not in the 1976 Topps set.  (However, he's in the SSPC set.)
Phillies on other teams:  There are just three cards - #56 Bobby Tolan (Padres), #58 Ron Reed (Cardinals) and #80 Jim Kaat (White Sox)
What’s he doing here:  I've got nothing.  A case could be made for everybody appearing as a Phillie in this set.
Cards that never were candidates:  He was signed as a free agent, and not acquired via trade, but I'd still like to see a Traded card for Tolan.  Martin should also have a card.
Favorite Phillies card:  Sorry Schmidty, but I've got to give it to The Bull.

1976 Topps #407, #223, #58T and #565
Other Stuff
Recycled:  There's an exact reprint of Allen's card in the 2001 Topps Archives set and a butchered reprint of Schmidt's card as part of the 2010 Cards Your Mom Threw Out insert set.  I used the design lovingly for my 2007 Chachi set.
Blogs/Websites:  Project Baseball 1976 made its debut right around the same time as this blog, so I've followed it from the beginning.  It's been a great ride, and Matt is now covering cards from the 1976 Hostess and Kellogg's sets.
Did You Know?:  If catcher Johnny Oates had been able to blow just a slightly larger bubble than Kurt Bevacqua in the Bubble Gum Blowing Championships of 1975, I would have been able to display one of the coolest cards in Topps history with my 1976 Topps Phillies team set.


Johngy said...

I liked the whole team set, except Carlton's card made me think he was pitching by a lake. White water, green grass, all you needed was a boat. Of course, I am probably way off and there is a better explanation.

night owl said...

I totally don't remember that Larry Christenson card, and I have the complete set.

Off to the binder I go ...

Matt Runyon said...

Gotta go with Schmidt as my favorite Phillie card of the set.

Thanks for the shout out :). I haven't made any entries in the last couple of weeks because I ran out of 1976 cards to feature. When I start getting paid again (I'm a teacher), I'm going to remedy that situation.

Section 36 said...

When I was a wee lad, I found a paper lunchbag full of 1976 Topps cards buried in a pile of junk in my grandfather's back hall. It had a couple hundred cards in it, including the Aaron RB. I've always loved this set because of that. Maybe after the '75, I'll start buildiing this one.

Jim said...

Carlton's photo looks like it was cut out and pasted onto the background. His hair coming out from behind his hat looks too perfect.

I go back and forth as to whether or not the Luzinski card or the Schmidt card is my favorite. There's no contest when it comes to my favorite '77 Topps Phillies card.

Did Christenson ever have a Topps card featuring him in action? When I think about his cards, all I can picture are portrait shots.

Scott said...

I got the Underwood Topps Rookie All Star (gold cup) card and thought it was pure gold!
Baby blue uniform and the gold cup? Come on!

(Fun fact that I just noticed last month: the pitchers in the 1976 set have a position logo of the pitcher using the correct throwing arm on the front of the card)