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1975 Topps Baseball

By Patrick Mondout

Topps produced a classic set of colorful baseball cards that remains very popular to this day. It was certainly too busy and colorful for some, but for those critics, at least it wasn't as bad as the '72 set. It is unfair to gauge popularity by price when comparing baseball card sets. For example, the '78 Topps set is unquestionable more attractive than the notorious '68 set, but it will never, ever be as valuable nor will the very attractive and popular SSPC set of 1976. Thus it is with knowledge of its price and full awareness of the desirability of the '71 set that I say that the '75 Topps set is the most popular set of the Super70s.

It is somewhat odd that while the basketball and hockey sets of the era were toning down the bright color designs, the '75 set was embracing them. If nothing else, they were at least approaching the bright, colorful uniforms most teams had embraced during the decade.

The cards were distributed in 15 wax packs containing 10 cards while 25 cello packs containing 18 cards, 49 rack packs containing 42 cards, and 500-count vending boxes were also produced.

The major new subset of the year featured the MVPs from each year from Topps first set in 1951 to 1974. On each card, each league's MVP was shown in their Topps card from that year. That presented a problem for Topps. The '62 NL MVP was Maury Wills and he had signed exclusively with Fleer; Wills did not appear on any Topps card until 1967. So Topps engineered a '62 Topps card with a contemporary photo for his shared MVP card with Mickey Mantle (see below). A similar solution was needed for Roy Campanella. He was signed exclusively with Bowman for two of his MVP years (1951 and 1955). In fact, the '55 shows him in a Los Angeles hat - a full three years before the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn!

Track & (no) Field!

Charlie Finley had a lot of unusual ideas about baseball. In 1974 he signed track star Herb Washington to a contract as a pinch runner! In Washington's two seasons, he picked up a World Series ring, stole 31 bases and scored 33 runs while never playing defense (I mean that literally rather than in the Jose Canseco sense) and without a single plate appearance. This irresistible card is the only one for a player listed as a "pinch runner" in the history of Topps and you've gotta love that serious pose!

 

With the addition of the 24 MVP cards and with the set remaining at 660 cards, Topps did not have room for an "All-Star" subset, but placed a special star on the bottom-right of their card (instead of the baseball showing their position) for players who achieved that distinction. Hank Aaron even had it on his highlight card (see below).

While it was possible to pick up the entire Topps baseball card set for $13 from the back pages of the Sporting News back in 1970, increased competition (from the likes of legendary dealer Renata Galasso, who was then earning money for college by sorting sets) brought the price for a complete set of 1975 Topps to as little as $8.99 postpaid!

In addition to all that the set had going for it, the set was blessed with a great set of rookie cards: Gary Cater, Robin Yount, George Brett, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Keith Hernandez. While all six looked like Hall of Famers at one time or another, the first three are already in and Rice seems likely, even if he has to wait for the veterans committee.

There are two cards which feature the wrong photos. Card #626 of Larry Haney shows Dave Duncan and #120 of Steve Busby is actually Fran Healy. These cards were not corrected and thus carry no premium with collectors.

A checklist for all 660 cards is available here.

 

1975 Topps at a Glance
Back Checklist Wax Pack
Highlights World Series Rookies
MVPs Teams League Leaders
 

 

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1975 TOPPS BASEBALL

Year: 1975

Manufacturer: Topps

# of Cards: 660 (Checklist)

Value/Price: Check eBay (see links below)

Size: 2 x 3

Image courtesy of Topps


'75 Topps Sets!
'75 Topps Singles!
'75 Topps Unopened Packs!
'75 Topps Lots!
'75 Topps Cases!

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