Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Even More 1971 Alt-Topps

All Star,  World Series,  Leader and Rookie Cards

The All-Star cards are pretty similar to the base cards. The 1970 All-Star Game logo replaces the team logo. In 1970 Luis Aparicio started his last All Star Game in a White Sox uniform.  And what a uniform it was. I always loved the baby-blue flannels of that era.

Meanwhile on the Senior Circuit, the Say Hey Kid was playing in his 21st of 24 career All Star Games. Second only to Hank Aaron and tied with Stan Musial.

It's still amazes me that color barriers that were still being broken in the 1970's.  Jackie Robinson's entry into the league in 1947 seemed like the distant past in 1970.  But 1971 saw the first and only time both starting All Star pitchers were African American. It also saw the first starting 9 lineup with every position filled by players of color. The Pirates accomplished that on September 1st of that year. And of course it wasn't until 1975 that Frank Robinson became the first black manager.

Also 1970 was the first World Series with an African American umpire. Emmett Ashford broke the color barrier for umpires in 1966. 19 seasons after Robinson and Doby.  The 1970 was not only his first, but last as he had reached mandatory retirement age.  He is seen here defending his call against Boog Powell in the 8th inning of game 5.

Powell had hit a scorcher down first. Lee May bobbled it and threw to the pitcher. Boog was called out. In the mean time, Paul Blair scored from second to put the Orioles up 8-3. The argument and the call had little consequence, but with today's replay, it probably would've been overturned.

Normally I make just one World Series card. The game 5 featuring an umpire just seemed a bit out of place.  So I created a series recap card with the typical team celebration.

The 1970 Batting Leader was Alex Johnson who had a career year. Going into the last game of the season he was trailing Yaz by .002. After grounding out in his first at bat, he slapped 2 singles in a row. He was then taken out of the game to preserve his .32899 average over Yastrzemski's .32862 average. Both appear in the stats as .329 but Johnson held a slight statistical edge.

The NL Strikeout leaders feature 3 great Hall of Famers at the top of their game. Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson and Fergie Jenkins. Enough said.

Once again, with 20/20 hindsight, the Rookie Stars cards feature the 1971 Rookies of the Year plus a couple other names you might know. The AL ROY was Chris Chambliss. The Indians chose him with the overall #1 pick of the 1970 draft.

Earl Williams was also taken in the first round of the draft. But that was 5 years earlier in 1965 and with the 6th overall pick. He was worth the wait. He clubbed 33 homers and 87 RBIs in his first full season.


As usual, any request to fill in the blanks in this series are accepted. I will try my best to post them by the end of the month. 


  1. Really enjoy this group. W.S. game 5 with "Boog" as the focus is a treat because anything with the big guy always is! Rookie cards looks like the best subset here, Topps would do well to use this format someday. Got to agree that those late 60's through 70 blue Sox uni's were the best (so much better than the fire red ones that followed). Heck, didn't some famous rock group borrow the script for their logo (spoiler alert I think they had a big horn section)? "Buzz" (Bryant) p.s. be back in a "few" with some of my usual "over the hill" type requests.

  2. Loving this '71 Alt Series - would have made an awesome looking set!


  3. Oh, would love to see the rest of the WS cards. ;)

  4. Finally getting a break from my "care giver" responsibilities - hope I'm not too late! Oh boy, 1971 - plenty of 50's and 60's guys still hangin on. This design, which features certain keynotes, evokes thoughts of old time values and virtues. Hence, who better encapsulates old time values than ..."let's play 2" - ERNIE BANKS!! Really if more people were like this guy, then the world would have a lot fewer problems. Next up - the head of the Alou clan - Felipe. Topps came up with a decent enough card of him (side profile action) - but I bet CTNW can do better. O K, now I'm really going to get "old" with this one. In fact "we" didn't really know how old until recently. Yes, I'm talkin' about the great Hoyt "Old Sarge" Wilhelm (turns out he was almost 50 instead of the listed 49 when "Blue" cut him loose in the summer of 72). Brave, "Bum", or Cubbie, your choice (or maybe you'll even do all 3!!). My fading memory seems to recall that much like George Blanda he became a magnet for sponsors during 70 and 71. I seem to recall some commercials(broadcast in glorious black and white) where he was in his Braves uniform. I just can't get a fix on what he was "pitching" though - anybody out there remember? Finally, my last request (here) will break the pattern (of old players). In fact this player "walked away" from the game while still 25. Despite putting up numbers that any rational person would be proud of he just "bailed" right in the middle of a game in late August '70! If only I had 1/2 the talent this guy had!! I realize that this is a bit of a "stretch" because he never played another inning of ball at any level after this. In fact Topps never even made a card of him at any time though I've got to believe that the tribe (hoping that he could get some "help") still had him on the roster for '71. With your research skills and resources you'll know the right 'tack on this one (i.e. I realize he might not qualify as a '71). Again, so appreciative of all that you do "Buzz"(Bryant).

  5. OMG! About 1/2 hour after leaving the library yesterday I realized that I had forgotten to "id"that 4th request. Well, it was Tony Horton; you undoubtedly already figured that, so this entry is for anybody else reading this who might have been "stumped". I'm still "stumped" as to why this guy quit so early! My other reason for jumping back in so quickly is to (hopefully) learn more about the design of both this "alt" and the ultimate winner (i.e. "all black" 71's). First, the latter: my memory of the early 70's was that the country(especially if you were young) was still in a pretty foul mood. Just speculation, but if the set was designed in late fall 1970, it is possible that The Beatles rather "funereal", and final album "Let it Be"(rel.May 1970-with its stark black cover) may have been an influence. Just curious if anybody at Topps ever mentioned a motivation for the first ever utilization of stark black. Of course in succeeding years they have repeated this only twice, 85 football and 86 baseball (and the last only partially). OK, enough of that. Again, your alt set seems to reference the 19th century. The "script" (does this "font" have a name, I'd love to know) reminds me of those old west "wanted posters". Now, that would be an idea for a card design; wanted for what? How about stealing 85 to 90 bases or striking out 300 batters! Maybe Topps felt that this design didn't "jibe" with the overall mood prevailing. Once the nostalgia boom got going about 3 or 4 years later they should have broken it out. Heck this flat out beats the 73 and 74 designs as well as anything from the late 70's. In fact this design would be good for any "good time." Why stop with 1971? Let's set the way back machine all the way to 1871 (or at least 1881). These "graphics and elements should suit one Adrian "Cap/Pop" Anson to a tee. Just suggesting, well either him or Charlie Comiskey. Hope my rather lengthy entries don't constitute "blog abuse". "Buzz" (Bryant)