Friday, October 29, 2010

Seller (and Book) Recommendation

(While I don't usually use this blog to promote anybody else's business, I reserve the right to let others know about dealings I've had. After all, the Blogosphere is filled with posts griping about bad experiences. This one is a little more positive...)

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing some research and contacted a seller to get some info. I ended up getting in touch with Matt Fedegreen at The Beverly Hills Baseball Card Shop/California Sports Cards, and we ended up having a great discussion about a lot of different card-related stuff. We ended up making a deal on some stuff I'll be showing on this blog later, but as part of our discussion, Matt asked me if I had this book:

Long-time blog readers may remember I'd mentioned the book a few times before it came out, but I hadn't yet pulled the trigger on picking it up. Needless to say, I have it now. I'll be giving it a review soon, I promise. But from what I've seen so far since pulling it from the box, it's a great reference about all the players who appear on T206 cards, not just the "high dollar" cards or star players.

For anybody who'd like to check the book out, here's a link to Amazon to pick up a copy:

Like I said, now that it's in my possession, I'll be writing a review that will appear here soon. In any event, Matt is one of those sellers who'll be happy to talk about the game, the hobby and other topics while you're looking around (a HUGE plus in my book when it comes to sellers). He's well worth getting hold of, if you have some stuff you're looking to take off your wantlist. He has material ranging from tobacco cards to modern stuff and complete sets going back to the 1950s. I've also found that if he doesn't have something that's a standard-issued card (like a 1953 Bowman Black & White card of Lew Burdette, for example), he can get it pretty quickly.

Not only that...I've discovered that he grades very conservatively, unlike some long-time sellers I won't bother naming. He sent me some stuff that was being touted as "low grade" but was an awful lot nicer than I was expecting based on his description.

So, if you have a little extra hobby money to spare, you won't go wrong getting in touch with Matt. If you do call or send him an email...please let him know I sent you.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


(Today's post is the 100th I've written for this blog. Since starting a little more than six months ago, I've been able to keep writing new stuff for it. Hopefully, there will be more as time goes on...but I'd like to take the opportunity here to point out the bit on the left-hand side asking for submissions. Specifically, I'm not a collector of basketball or hockey...but I'd love to get some stuff on here about vintage cards from both sports and make this truly a "Sports cards" blog. Now, I return to the regularly-scheduled entry, already in progress...)

The Brooklyn Dodgers are still beloved by their fans even after more than a half-century since leaving their borough for the California sunshine. I grew up in Upstate New York in the 1980s, and remember how people were still heartbroken by the fact, the father of one of my friends used to tell me that he quit paying attention to baseball the day he learned the team had moved. As far as he was concerned as a young man, if his favorite team was going to leave, he had no business with the sport at all. A little extreme, I suppose, but I respect the hell out him for sticking to his guns.

Here's one of the most popular players on his boyhood team, from my 1953 set-in-progress:

I picked this one up for about $4 on eBay a little while back. The low price was due to the seller not featuring a picture in the auction. She did accurately describe that it had damage, which likely kept prospective buyers away if they couldn't see the extent of that damage.

The worst part for me was waiting for the card to arrive. I wanted to see for myself if it was a good deal. While I was satisfied when the card arrived, my imagination made me think it would look a lot worse than it did. I wasn't exactly worried due to the low selling price, but I shudder to think about the anticipation if I'd blindly spent an awful lot more on a pictureless auction out of faith.

Anybody else have an eBay story like that? Winning an auction where you didn't know what was going to show up?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Vintage Hoops

Wednesday marks the beginning of the new NBA season. In commemoration of that, here is part of the small basketball material in my collection:

This photo is pretty cool, as it features NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson (in his rookie season) and Jerry West. The leisure suits on the coaches are a nice touch. This is the team that would win the NBA finals in 1979-'80.

These team pictures were inserted into these packs as a Team Pin-Up:

(Not my pack...This image was taken from an eBay auction)

The 1980-'81 Topps basketball set is noted for the Magic Johnson/Larry Bird double rookie card shared with hoops legend Julius (Dr. J) Erving. It's also the first regular Topps set issued as panels rather than single cards, an idea that must have never been well-received by collectors.

As a guy who is not only a vintage collector but also a 1970s style connoisseur (which is a fancy word for "freak"), it would logically follow that I'm also a fan of 1970s basketball cards. However, I never really started picking up the cards despite the fact that the sets are often quite small and not overly tough to collect. I'll probably be pretty easily hooked if I ever chance upon a nice starer set somewhere.

Right now, I'm just working on that set of Pin-Ups. Of the 16 team pictures in the set, I'm just missing #2 (Boston Celtics) and 11 (New York Knicks). And the reason I started it? I was at a trade session with several other collectors and saw a stack of them lying on a table. Noticing that the team names were written in the same style as 1978 Topps baseball cards, I asked the owner, "What year did these come out?" He didn't even look up from the stack he was looking through. "Figure it out when you get home. They're yours now." He was just waiting for the first sucker to ask what they were.

As I said, it isn't hard to get me collecting something new when I suddenly have some items in my possession.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sloppiness at Topps...1959 Style!

About a month ago, I wrote a lengthy post here about the 1959 Topps set. At the end of that entry, a comment by faithful reader ecloy indicated that one of his favorite cards in the set is this one:

1959 Topps Card #447 - Bob Anderson

I'll share ecloy's comment here:

One of my favorite cards in this set features a Cubs pitcher, Bob Anderson. He has one of the "painted" black and white pics, but the photo doesn't extend to the bottom of the photo circle on the front! There is a fairly sizable black spot where the pic just cuts off!
Sure enough, not only do you see where the picture stops...but if you click on the image and show it as an enlarged picture, you can even see where the artist stopped painting the "off-white" color for his uniform. It almost looks like the Topps employee who set up the picture on this card decided on the perfect placement of Anderson's autograph and assumed the artist would fill in the rest.

The card was in my collection but had totally escaped my eye. However, here's something that didn't get missed once I looked at it...that wasn't the only mistake Topps made when they designed this card. Here's what the back looks like:

(If you click the picture, it'll show up larger if your eyesight ain't what it used to mine).

It's a pretty standard Topps back. The minor league stats are shown, along with a partial season spent with the Cubs during '58. The '58 stats show up in the bottom line as Anderson's complete major league record. Unfortunately, somebody didn't bother to look at this card from the 1958 Topps set:

1958 Topps Card #209 - Bob Anderson

Yep, it's the same guy, with the same picture as 1959. This time, however, there's a full uniform that has been painted onto the original photo (which means it could have been used again for the '59 card as well. I mean, it had alredy been done!). But that's not why I'm showing this card here. Check out this back:

Anderson had pitched a few innings for Chicago in '57 as well. However, those stats didn't warrant any mention at all on his 1959 card. Topps kept records for all its players in a file cabinet, with photos and stats and records of catalog items they ordered in exchange for the money Topps was supposed to pay them for the right to use their picture. For all we know, they had locks of hair and baby pictures of all the players as well. With all the stuff on file, it's odd that they didn't bother to include all of a player's major league statistics -- especially for a player they had already included in their previous set -- on his card.

Anderson continued appearing in Topps sets through 1963. Somebody evidently pointed out the error, because when Topps went back to full-career stats on the back of their 1961 cards, the "missing" 1957 line had returned to his career numbers.

Thanks, ecloy, for giving me the idea for this entry.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Playing "Phungo"

On Monday, I ran an article about a set of Phillies cards. Today, I'll focus on one of the Blogosphere's most rabid Phillies fans and a package he sent me that showed up this past weekend.

A little while back, Phungo sent me an email to ask if I wanted to make a trade with him. However, I was in the process of moving from one city to another and told him I'd get back to him once I was settled in at the new place.

And then, I did what I do far too often: I let my Inbox bury the email for several weeks. However, a box of my mid-1960s cards from my childhood surfaced when I was helping my Mom move some stuff out of storage. Since I'd assumed they were long gone, I removed them from my lists and collected many of them again. As a result, I had some extra cards to place into my sadly depleted dupes box, and one of them was a 1966 Phillies Rookies card featuring Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins.

Remembering Phungo's email, I dug it out, checked his lists and discovered he needed it. I also pulled several other cards he needed and sent them out. Here's Phungo's post about the cards.

He dropped some cards in an evolpe and sent them my way. Here are some of the highlights from his package:

A Hall of Famer, in Yankee threads, no less. Enos Slaughter was "Charlie Hustle" when Pete Rose was still in grade school. His hold-nothing-back, sometimes violent manner on the basepaths and in the outfield was considered a throwback even then. However, he may be remembered for being a product of a different place and time. As a country boy from the South, he was said to be vocal against Jackie Robinson's entry into the sport. He later admitted that he would judge players based on their ability and not their skin color, but the charges persisted.

"Slaughter" is a great baseball name. Here's another:

This card appeared in a book called The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book. I'll let that book's authors Brendan Boyd and Fred Harris speak about this card:

"Rocky Bridges looked like a ballplayer. In fact, he probably looked more like a ballplayer than any ballplayer who ever lived.His head looked like a sack of rusty nails,he kept about six inches of tobacco lodged permanently in the upper recesses of his left cheek, and his uniform always looked as if he had just slept in it...(he) could have intimidated Ty Cobb. He was the sort of guy who would spike his own grandmother to break up a double play.
Their book is available at Amazon, just click the link below. If you've never read the book, check it out. You'll be glad you did.

Back to Phungo's's a player who's best remembered for his nickname:

"Dr. Strangeglove" sure made it interesting to watch a throw to first. A baseball legend told several times over involves Stuart getting a standing ovation for catching a hot dog wrapper that was floating around first base.

Here's three pitchers from the team that won the 1959 World Deries. Sadly, all three have reunited on the "Field of Dreams." 

Finally, here's a team card that always seems to be among the last ones I get, due to the rabid Tiger fan base.

In all, I received a stack of cards that ranged from 1959-75 on the vintage side, several current-year needs and some extras that came in this package:

This package included a few Phungo custom cards and some vintage stuff. Thanks again, Phungo, and I'll check out your list again if I ever find the cards I used to have from the early and late 60s.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A "Whopper" of a Set, Part 2

Back in July, I posted about the 1979 Burger King Yankees set and promised I'd eventually get around to the 1979 Phillies set as well. Today, I fulfill that promise.

In and around the Philadelphia area, Burger King restaurants offered a promotion where customers received a cello package containing three player cards and one checklist card, which looked like this:

This card is a little different than the one that came with Yankees cards in 1979. On the Yankees card, the Yankees logo appeared above the King's head, in the circle that contains the Burger King logo here. Since the card mentions "Philadelphia Player Cards" it would seem that Topps and Burger King didn't reach an agreement to actually use the Phillies name, but the team's name and logo are on the cards themselves. The other change between the checklist card for the Yankees and Phillies is in the offer itself. The New York-based stores offered cards in exchange for any fry purchase, but limited the offer to customers 14 and under. In the Philly area stores, the customer had to purchase large fries, but the offer was open to everybody regardless of age.

The checklist on the back of that card differs from its counterpart in the regular-issue 1979 Topps set (for ease of identification, all side-by-side comparisons have BK cards on the left):

Not only are the card numbers (and in some cases, the players) different, but the color scheme is different as well. However, along the right edge on the BK card, you'll actually see the copyright. Between the company logo on the front and the copyright line, this is the only card in the set that actually mentions Burger King.

My previous article mentioned a couple minor differences between elements on the backs, which are also present in the Phillies set as well. Here's a link to that description if you'd like to see them.

Another difference between the Yankee and Phillies sets is the team card. While the Yankee set featured a team card similar to the one in the regular Topps set, the Phillies set instead has a card for manager Danny Ozark:

It appears BK used the same photo of Ozark that was provided for the inset photo on the team card. In the case of the Yankees, manager Bob Lemon began the season but was soon fired to allow for Billy Martin's return to the position. Ozark's position was only slightly more secure; however, he would also be fired before the season was over.

Many of the Phillies players appeared with different crops to the photos used on their regular Topps cards. While most differences are slight and require an eagle eye to tell the difference between them, Bob Boone was given a much more noticeable edit:

Not only is the photo on his BK card darker, it was cropped to show him closer.

There is one player in the BK set who didn't appear at all in the regular Topps set:

Pete Mackanin was a little-used utility infielder. He spent almost all of the 1978 season in the minors before being picked up by the Phillies in late-season waivers, so Topps may have made the decision to leave him out of their '79 set due to that. He would only get into 13 games in 1979, most in September.

There are also five players in the BK set who were featured with other team in the regular 1979 Topps set:

Greg Gross was signed as a free agent in December of '78. However, notice that he's shown in his Phillies uniform on his BK card.

As for the Phillies' most famous new acquisition, it's hard to tell if that's a really good airbrush job on Pete Rose's batting helmet or a glare that makes the logo look like it may be fake. Rose also singed as a free agent with the Phillies in December '78, so he should have a picture in a Phillies uniform like Gross does. The shirt shown on the BK card looks like it's been worked on, which makes it hard to say it's not airbrushed.

In the case of Doug Bird, it's an obvious airbrush job. However, he was traded to the Phillies right at the beginning of the '79 season so it's understandable. However, look at his shirt. It looks a lot like the one on Rose's card.

Nino Espinosa was also traded to the Phillies just before the '79 season began. That's an even more obvious airbrush job on the cap peeking out from above Espinosa's very 1970s afro.

The final new Phillie is Manny Trillo, who was also traded to the team just before Opening Day. Trillo made a great addition to the Phillies' infield, as he had a great glove.

In all, there were 15 players (including Schmidt, Carlton, Luzinski and McGraw) from the BK Phillies set who were also in the 1979 Topps set as Phillies. They are among the cards that sometimes confuse collectors about their numbering. That said, the Phillies have a rabid fan base, which make these Burger King cards a great little set for them to put together.

Friday, October 15, 2010


A reader found my site and asked about some cards he had:

"Can you identify these cards? Are they reprints or originals? They are glued to a piece of paper. If use a restoration service to get them removed, would they still be considered authentic or a restored card?"

Here are the scans he sent:
This one features two Hall of Fame players...Stan Musial and Phil Rizzuto. Notice, however, that the other two cards have a "Yours Truly" type salutation. I'll get to that in my answer.

Three Hall of Famers are on this sheet, with the other being a Yankee postseason hero. Notice again how Luke Appling's card is just a little different than the others.

The final picture has two Hall of Famers, but all four have the salutation signatures.

My answer:

Your cards are likely authentic and are from the Exhibit Supply Company of Chicago. The cards were distributed through vending machines located in store lobbies and other locations . A penny got you a postcard-sized photo of a baseball player, actor or other subject.

There were two main sets represented among the cards you've scanned: a "salutations" set issued between 1939-'46 (those are your cards with the "...yours," signatures, and a set with just the player names that appeared between 1947-'66. Despite the years given, the players in the set would vary from year to year.

I've written the following pages with some generic information about these sets (and checklists):

There were other Exhibit sets going back to 1921 as well as other sets featuring different subjects, but since your cards aren't older and only show baseball players, I'll limit this answer to the sets listed above.

As far as having them restored, it probably wouldn't be worth doing. Exhibit cards are not very expensive, with commons going for a few dollars and many stars selling for less than $20.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Word of the Day... "unfortunate."

From time to time, I like to show off some cards from my collection that I love dearly but others would label "unfortunate."

This one applies to the picture on the card rather than the card itself:

Okay, there is evidence that a staple once went through the card and that's unfortunate, but that isn't what makes this card memorable.

The 1958 Topps design called for a solid-colored background. To achieve this effect, Topps needed to trim away all of the image around the player photo. While this made for some great-looking cards that popped from the background, sometimes it would have been helpful to leave a little more in the original image. Take poor Red Wilson above, whose picture looked like it showed him swinging his bat. Sadly, the bat was cropped out, which makes Red look a little like he lost part of his right his arm in an (ahem...) "unfortunate" combine accident.

"Unfortunate," indeed...

Monday, October 11, 2010

To "Coin" a Phrase...

Once Topps bought Bowman and had the baseball card market to themselves, they began looking at new collecting avenues to explore. Beginning with contest and ad cards in 1957, they began inserting non-card items into their packs in 1960, just as Fleer began offering their own baseball and football cards.

In 1964, the inserted items were metal coins with player pictures on them. At first, there were 120 coins that looked like this:

The coins were basically round metal pieces with a player photo stamped on them. A small white banner below the player's picture contains his name, team and position. The backs were fairly basic, with a few lines of text and a notation that they were part of 120 total coins:

The coins were inserted one per five-cent wax pack. However, the packs themselves didn't mention anything about a coin being inside it:

(Image from an eBay auction)

However, the ten-cent cello packs not only mention that there are coins inside, but you can even see their outline on the wrapper:

(This also comes from an eBay auction)

The coins were also included in the 25-cent multi-packs sold through grocery stores. The six packs joined together in cellophane yielded six coins. These packs are shown in this sales sheet from 1964:

(Thanks to John Moran for sharing this great archive piece)

After the 1964 All-Star game, another series of coins made their way into later-series Topps wax packs. Twenty-two coins were made of players from each league, giving the 1964 Topps Coins set complete at 164 coins. In a gimmick, Mickey Mantle's All-Star coin showed the famous switch-hitter batting either right or left.

Among the new series, another white banner has been added to the top saying "1964 All-Stars," with only the player's name in the lower banner. The American League players were given a blue metallic background:

While National League players were given an orange color:

All-Star backs were changed to indicate that there were 44 new coins. The coins were numbered 121-164.

The next "minting" of Topps coins came in 1971. They were inserted into packs again, which were given a graphic down at the bottom of the pack. They must have still been in the planning stage when the wrappers were designed, as the coins are merely called inserts:

This time there were 153 coins, and the most recognizable feature is the band around the player's picture that contains the same info that had been in the small white banner back in 1964. The main difference is that the bands came in two colors:

National League players were given a green strip.

American Leaguers were given a red stripe.

As for the backs, they were so similar to the 1964 coins it might make collectors wonder whether the same people were assigned to produce them or whether they were too lazy to do anything different.

In addition to being inserted in packs of 1971, the coins even had their own checklist card included in the regular set:

1971 Topps Card #161 -- Coins Checklist

Since they were included with wax packages they aren't difficult to complete, nor are they all that hard to locate. However, as oddball items, the coins are usually passed over by card collectors, which keeps their value fairly low.

In fact, the coins and checklist card shown above aren't mine but from my 12 year-old daughter's collection and she's actually done well on the collection as far as what she's paid (being adorable probably helps that). What began as an attempt by hobby sellers Wayne Johnson and J.D. Heckathorn to get her hooked on the hobby (J.D. gave her nearly half the set, asking only for a smile in return, at the 2009 National to "get her started"), she's actually less than 20 coins away from completing the '71 set and is hoping to finish it up soon (If you'd like to help her, her wantlist is included in mine...just scroll down to 1971). She's also interested in finishing the '64 set eventually and may even get started on the separate coin sets Topps issued between 1988-'90.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Although I've only been writing this blog for six months, I began building my Vintage Baseball Cards website during the year 2000. Over the past decade, one of the most common questions asked of me is, "how much are my cards worth?"

For a variety of reasons, I've avoided playing the price game when it comes to cards. I don't give any values on the site for several reasons:

First, it's an informational site which is more geared towards identifying vintage cards than anything else.

Second, I really don't want to deal with emails from visitors saying, "you told me my card was worth $X, but my card sold for $(X-150) on eBay!" You know, the ones followed by the standard "You suck/I'm never going to visit again/You owe me $150" retort. Then, the eBay link shows a card that looks like it was run through the wringer (but assumed to sell for high Beckett value). Honestly, I have enough trouble in my life without adding to it.

Third, and most importantly...I'm just lazy (and cheap). Keeping up with prices means having to update my site constantly, and paying for price guides and services that monitor eBay auctions. By skipping over card values, I can remain cheap and lazy. More importantly, I can focus more on the fun part of the hobby and less on the stodgy, often cruel and callous business side.

That said, one of my buddies (who does happen to deal in the business side of this hobby) has written a tremendously informative page explaining some things about card values. Read it here. Really, go and read it. He says pretty much the same thing I've been explaining for years. About the only thing I would add to his explanation is that some cards benefit from a regional bias...Tigers sell better in Detroit, Reds cards have a higher demand in Cincinnati...we all know that Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox cards are in more demand due to their fan base, etc. The link to that page has been added to the Links section at the top of this blog.

I'll conclude with a demonstration of something that affects a card's value. Take a look at this card:

There are a bunch of things that are going to keep this 1957 Topps Lou Skizas card from getting a high Beckett price. The corners are rounded, there are visible scuffs and scratches on the card and a small wrinkle. Aside from the condition, Lou Skizas possessed enough athletic ability to earn a spot on a  major league roster, but he never was a star and is thus considered a common player. The A's were a second-tier team during the time they played in Kansas City (in fact, they were often derided as a "farm club" for the Yankees), so there's little regional benefit. It's not part of the harder series of 1957 cards, which keeps it form being more valuable due to scarcity.

In short, there's absolutely no reason to pay $15 for that card because a hobby magazine suggests that's what it's worth. However, if it shows up on a dealer table for $1-2, there are a lot of collectors who'll snap it up quickly for their sets. It's a decent enough card to use as filler.

However, if you compare that Lou Skizas card to this one:

A price tag of one or two dollars on that other card doesn't look so bad, does it?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Dual Dilemma

 Here's a question:

What do you do when you have a card of somebody who's been traded? That's easy if you're a kid, you grab a pen and write in the player's new team. But...what do you do if he changes teams again?

You fix it the same way.

With this Gene Oliver card, a previous owner felt it necessary to update his card without needing to wait until the following year. And who can blame him? back it those years, Topps was issuing their sets in several series per year and kids had no idea how long it would be before a certain player would show up in the set. I remember being 11, a year seemed like a really long time. For that reason, a pen would expedite the process nicely.

However, while checking out, I notice that Oliver's trade to the Red Sox happened after the 1967 season, so this card was likely unmarked until then. But two things pop up: first, he spent half a season with the Phillies after being traded straight up for Bob Uecker. Secondly, after half a season with Boston, he was sold to the Cubs, where he finished his career in 1969. Therefore, he never returned to the Braves like the card states. So the original owner not only missed the chance to show Oliver played for the Phillies and Cubs, he also was errant when he "updated" the card again.

Perhaps he missed reading the transactions in his local paper's sports section and wasn't reading The Sporting News. Or perhaps he felt bad and decided to make the card say what it said in the first place?

Monday, October 4, 2010

All-Time Records, 1979 Edition

With the end of another baseball season, another year's worth of statistics get added to the record books. Over the years, the record books go through a bunch of changes. However, even with specialized training and new advances, some records remain.

The 1979 Topps set had a subset that I have always found interesting. Cards #411-418 are titled "All Time Record Holders" and show black-and-white photos of the season and career leaders for eight of baseball's
major statistics. While 1979 was my first year of collecting, the cards introduced me to some of the great names of baseball's past and helped point me towards the vintage material I've followed for many years afterward. While it was neat to see the all-time record holders then, the passage of more than 30 years has meant some of the marks have fallen. 

Card #411 shows the all-time hit leaders. Ty Cobb's career mark was passed by Pete Rose in 1985 and George Sisler's season mark from 1920 was broken in 2004 by Ichiro Suzuki. While both players shown were truly greats, the fact that progress has allowed players to stay healthy longer means that these records were destined to fall eventually. But the fact that Cobb's record stood for nearly 60 years and Sislers for more than 80 attests to their feats.

 Card #412 has Hack Wilson and Hank Aaron, both of whom still hold these records. Wilson's 191 ribbies in 1930 may stand for a while...since the 1930s, only one player has come within even 25 RBIs away from that: Manny Ramirez in 1999. Among active players, Alex Rodriguez is more than 500 RBIs away from Aaron's all-time record and may have a shot at it if he stays healthy.

Card #413 has the Home Run leaders. Roger Maris is shown as the season leader, and Topps omitted the asterisk that MLB officially placed beside his name then. That mark was broken in 1998 by Mark McGwire and again in 2001, when Barry Bonds hit 73. Bonds also took Hank Aaron's place as career leader in 2007. Thanks to an era where many of the game's biggest hitters were accused of using steroids (McGwire admitted to it, Bonds has not but never tested positive either), these records are a source of constant debate among fans.

Card #414 shows batting average leader (since 1900, anyway). Rogers Hornsby with a .424 mark in 1924 and Ty Cobb with a career .367 mark; neither of those marks likely have any chance of falling.

Card #415 shows two pictures of Lou Brock. Brock was finishing up his Hall of Fame career that season but a rookie on the 1979 Oakland A's would eventually overtake both of Brock's marks. Rickey Henderson set the season mark in 1982 and broke Brock's career mark in 1991. Before finishing, he would end up with 1406 swipes. At the time the card came out, Brock hadn't yet claimed the "real" stolen base total; the back of the card correctly states that Billy Hamilton was the real leader but that he played under different rules. In any case, Brock would surpass Hamilton's total in '79 before retiring.

Some of the cards show performances that will stand the test of time. Card #416 shows the pitchers with the most wins. There is almost no chance of any modern pitcher breaking Cy Young's 511 lifetime wins, and
even less chance that any team's ace will win 41 in a single season like Jack Chesbro did in 1904. By the way, had Topps included pre-1900 records, Chesbro would actually be tied for 24th. Charley "Old Hoss" Radbourn won an astounding 59 games in 1884.

Card #417 shows the all-time strikeout leaders. Nolan Ryan is shown as the season leader, and his 383 K's in 1973 still stands as a record today. The career leader, Walter Johnson, was eclipsed in 1983 by Steve
Carlton (not even on the Top 10 all-time list shown on the back of this card only four years earlier) but Nolan Ryan ended his career with 5714. Johnson's record stood for over 50 years, but today he ranks ninth.

The last card in the subset shows the all-time ERA leaders since 1900. The back of the card has a couple of notations explaining that data was incomplete or missing for a couple of the pitchers for several years during the early 1900s. The card shows Leonard having a 1.01 ERA in 1914, but credits him with a phenomenal 0.96 for that year. As for Walter Johnson, he's listed as 12th all-time in the same place. Topps's metrics excluded all pre-1900 seasons and limited the list to pitchers with more than 3000 innings. That excluded BR's leader Ed Walsh, who pitched 2964.1 innings. However, among post-1900 pitchers with over 3000 innings, "Three Finger" Brown and Christy Mathewson both had better career ERA than Johnson. Perhaps the "missing" information from the early 1900s kept them off Topps' radar when they looked at the records.