Friday, March 1, 2019

1979 Alt-Topps

After a month of playing catch up, both at home and with past projects for this blog, I am ready to dive into another set of Alt-Topps.

Of all the Topps prototypes I've seen, this particular card is probably the most complete demo card. I have seen this in a few different places. It is currently on eBay with a Buy-It-Now price of $2,250.  It is the predecessor of the 1979 set and has many of that set's elements. There was really no reason to clean up this card the way I had for previous cards.

As usual, I have fashioned Alt-Topps base cards using the MVPs and Cy Young Award winners. In the N.L. In 1979 Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell shared MVP honors.
 On Larry Hisle's mock-up card, the designer put periods after each letter of the position designator. I'm pretty sure outfield is not two separate words. But for consistency, I placed a period after each letter/number on my cards.
In the American League, Don Baylor was MVP.  The periods look odd for 1.B. as a position designator, but it works well for D.H.  Although there has never been an MVP who's primary position was DH, Baylor has the most games at DH with 69 in the 1979 season. For that reason I labeled him Designated Hitter.
,The National League Cy Young award winner was Cubs closer, Bruce Sutter. Until Mike Marshall won the Award in 1974, no reliever had won. Sutter was the 3rd. Sparky Lyle won the AL Cy Young in 1977. In all, there have been 9 relievers who won the Cy Young award. The most recent was Eric Gagne in 2003.
In the AL, Orioles lefty Mike Flanagan won with a career high of 23 wins. The Orioles pitching staff was impressive in this era. During Steve Stone's Cy Young season, 1980, Flanagan called Jim Palmer "Cy Old". He called Stone "Cy Present" and he was "Cy Young". When Storm Davis joined the Orioles in 1982 he called him "Cy-Clone" as his pitching motion mimicked Jim Palmer's.


  1. These are great! I could totally see an All Star card with a banner at the top.

  2. Yay! Back to baseball. Nice looking cards. Could do without the periods, but understand why you included them. Great idea from Jeremy on the All Star cards.

  3. What a great way to get the cactus and grapefruit leagues off to the right start! Upon looking at these I wonder why Topps "diddled" with this design. The final official product looked more like pandering to the kids. On the other hand during the 70's cards were still generally thought of as "kid stuff". This "alt design" lacks lacks the somewhat childish topps - "loop logo" + baseball. The "shots" of "Pops", "Groove", and Hisle are all great; they are "action" but at least they are fairly close, so they are immediately recognizable (unlike today's cards which are often indistinct). Hard to believe that half the players in this "pack" are gone!! Is all of this really 40 years ago? It feels more like 40 months. Well, numbers don't lie. Also, I'd guess that the guy who designed this also did the 87 football set - has some elements in common. "Buzz" Bryant

  4. I know what the uniform number indicates: but that isn't Don Baylor. Looks more like Ron Jackson.

  5. I can see the resemblance, but to the best of my knowledge Jackson never wore #25 on the Angels. Additionally, Sports Illustrated and Getty Images both identify this as Baylor. That being said, they have been wrong before.

  6. I believe that "Not Don Baylor" is actually George Hendrick, who wore #25 for the Angels from 1985 to 1988.

  7. First of all, hats off to the photo detectives out there. I love it. You are speaking my language. That being said, I disagree.

    I am the first to admit that I have mislabeled photos on this blog in the past. But I'm pretty sure that photo is Baylor. Getty and SI have also mislabeled photos. But a quick look at eBay and google shopping found several versions of that photo signed by Baylor himself. I was unable to find that photo credited to Jackson or Hendrick.

    Another point is a closer look at the stirrups and shoes. The photos of Baylor in that era show him in red Adidas or Pony cleats whereas Hendrick favored Nike. You can see the Adidas stripes in this photo.

    Hendrick also wore his pants lower as was the style in the 80s. Baylor was still sporting the longer stirrups.

    Getty credits this photo to game 2 of the 1979 ALCS (which makes it anachronistic for an alleged 1979 set). From a limited viewpoint, it does look like it could be Memorial Stadium. This could possibly be Baylor legging it to 3rd on a Brian Downing single to left in the 7th inning of that game.

    If anyone can find video footage of that game, I'd be extremely grateful.

  8. I will agree with detectivesThat is NOT Don Baylor. It is Ron Jackson. Look closely at the action shots face and compare with an RJ close up shot from 1978.