Friday, March 4, 2016

1980 Topps Nolan Ryan

Houston Astros CTNW Favorites #1

The blockbuster move of the 1979 off-season was the free-agent signing of  Nolan Ryan. Ryan became the first million dollar player in Major League Baseball. His 1980 salary for the Astros, $1,125,000 was more than his combined salary for all his previous 13 MLB seasons with the Mets and Angels.

To this day, Ryan has the most strikeouts of any Astros pitcher with 1866. Yet his 106 wins in an Astros uniform was only good enough for 6th place. He had 1 less than J.R. Richard and 28 fewer than Astros all-time leader Joe Niekro, both of whom are featured on my top 5 list.

Although Houston signed Ryan in November of 1979, he still appeared as an Angel in the 1980 Topps set. I created this card using a press conference photo with Ryan wearing his new team jersey over a dress shirt and tie. I'm not sure if Topps would have gone this route or simply relied on the trusty old air-brush.

There was a 1980 Topps-issued card featuring Ryan on the Astros. Burger King offered a 3 pack of Pitch, Hit and Run cards with the purchase of a large fries. This 33 card set featured 11 pitchers, 11 hitters and 11 runners. It was also the first set to feature Joe Morgan in an Astros uniform after his free agency signing in January of 1980.

1 comment:

  1. Ha, love the tie. Back then I don't think Topps would have done that. But that's why we do what we do. ;)