I was an avid baseball card collector as a child and into my early teens. This spanned from 1978 up until 1990. During the early years it was all about trying to get a complete set or collecting my favorite players or beloved Mets.
And then the baseball card boom hit in the early 80’s and it became all about collecting and speculating on players’ rookie cards. I completely ignored the common/veteran player and just focused on those first year player cards. I was going to be rich with my 74 Don Mattingly and Darryl Strawberry rookie cards.
The baseball card market eventually crashed and all of those cards became worthless. This was in the early 90’s and I completely turned my back on the hobby and focused on other things like college and hanging with the girl that would become my wife years later.
Fast forward to current day and my son has taken card collecting to levels so way beyond anywhere I ever went with it. But now it is about collecting/finding rare inserts and autographed cards. One pack of cards was 30 cents back in my day yet they are now anywhere from $3 to $10 per pack. He has cards worth hundreds and actively sells and buys cards off of eBay. A burgeoning entrepreneur.
My son’s interest in the card collecting hobby has awakened a nostalgia in me that harkens back to a simpler time. The innocent era of collecting cards without any financial motives. Trying to complete the entire Minnesota Twins team set. Enjoying the players from back in the day who clearly never indulged in any performance enhancing drugs. Players that looked more like my weird uncle then a young and blossoming professional athlete.
Which brings me to 1977 Topps baseball cards. The set I worshipped as a child. The set I am now collecting again. The set that has inspired me to learn about each and every player in the set.
As a young dude, I always found the 1977 Topps baseball set to be the coolest. I loved the white border and bright colors.
The sets prior and subsequent to 1977 Topps baseball were drab and missing that 70’s funk. The players seemed to be photographed in cooler and stranger poses. I willingly traded many ’78, ’79 and ’80’s Topps cards for any 77’s anyone was offering up.
I’m now 43 years old and I still love these cards. I dug through my entire card collection recently to reunite with my favorite cardboard cutouts. As expected, they were in awful condition but just like I remember them. They made me smile and brought back a wave of great childhood memories.
But I didn’t have enough of them. I wanted more. I wanted the rush back.
So I followed my son’s lead and purchased a lot of 1977 Topps baseball cards on eBay. I didn’t want any superstars from the set. The more obscure the better. When they arrived, I found a quiet spot in the house and leafed through them slowly. They are still the best.
Here are some of the cards I received in the lot and why I love them so much. Some are based on the photos, some based on the uniforms and some are just freakin funny.
Going forward, I plan on doing one post per week featuring one of the players and an in depth review of their story.
- My favorite hat of all time. That mustard color is phenomenal.
- Quintessential 70’s mustache.
- Traded to the Mets in ’79. Touted as the “savior”. Never liked playing in New York so I came to hate him.
- Coolest cat around. That necklace alone made this card awesome. Claimed it was the “second baseman’s teeth”. This photo captures him even better.
- Wore a helmet in the field at first base.
- Died in 2013 in his hometown of Greenville, MS.
- Killer perm.
- Had his best season in ’76 and then signed a 10 year, 2 million dollar contract the first year the MLB had free agency.
- He was never good again.
- Even as an 8 year old, I knew this dude looked stoned.
- Epic mustache.
- Funny thing, he never pitched for the Expos.
- Bake is the best baseball first name ever.
- Always had a solid 70’s fro.
- This video brings me back to Saturday afternoon games with Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola.
- Interesting fact – combined with his brother for a shutout. Only time in MLB history.
- Great article from 1985 article on what he was doing now.
- Maybe the least intimidating pitcher of all time.
- This is why I bought that lot of cards.
- Phenomenal sideburns
- More my weird uncle than an MLB player
- Managed Mets for exactly 7 games in ’91.
- Always thought if he could play, so could I.
- Great old video of him thrown out of a game
- That name.
- Was hit in in the head in ’75 with a come backer, never the same
- Coached a young Greg Maddux and credited with much of his success
- Just read this about him and the legendary Pete LaCock
- The air brushing of the hat is pretty awful. The Mariners had yet to play a game when their cards were added to the 1977 Topps set.
- Probably the best Mariners hitter (27 HR and 90 RBI) in their inaugural season in ’77.
- Was included with Nolan Ryan in the worst trade in Mets history.
- Was beaten out by Bobby Bonds in ’77 and did little after that.
- Top ten ugliest uniform contender.
- Great action shot although I can’t figure out where the base is and why he is fielding the throw on the inside of first base.
- Within 2 months had two 2HR/8RBI games.
- Had no idea until now that he died of a heart attack in 2002 at the age of 55.
- Impossibly hideous uniform
- Scored 1,000,000 run in MLB history. Great party trivia question.
- In the top ten worst uniforms list. The matching shirt and pants are classic.
- Known as the “Bogalusa Bomber” which is simply awesome.
- I loved these quad rookie cards. Such promise and potential for the card gaining value in years to come. These are the guys I paid close attention to.
- Mike Champion only played 2 years with San Diego.
- Juan Bernhardt hit the Mariners first home run but only played a total of 154 games in the MLB.
- My favorite card in the set to this point based on the hair/uniform combo.
- Cy Young award winner the year this card was created.
- Credited with All Star save in ’75 and All Star win in ’76.
- In his last start of ’76, he was injured and never the same again
- Owned a catering company and hosted a baseball radio show.