Decks By The Decade - 1970's Part One
1970 Topps: This giant 720 card set showcased the player with the teams name on the outside edge of the card wrapped around a white border with a grey backing. You had your typical subsets (league leaders, World Series, etc.) with your high number cards (#553-720) that feature some of the greats like Reggie Jackson, and Roberto Clemente. The pinnacle of this set is the Yankees rookie duo of Thurman Munson and Dave McDonald.
Thurman Munson was drafted 4th overall by the New York Yankees in 1968 and made his major league debut the following year. In the 26 games, the catcher didn't make that much of an impact, with a slash line of .256/.330/.349. The following year, Munson stepped it up grabbing the Rookie of the Year honors and even grabbing some MVP votes batting .302. Munson was an integral part of the Yankees in his 11 year career, grabbing seven all stars, three Gold Gloves, one MVP, two World Series rings, and the moniker of Yankees captain. Unfortunately, Munson's career was cut short. While learning to fly, during the last landing of the day, there was a miscalculation which caused the plane to hit a tree. Munson's number was immediately retired by the Yankees the following day. A PSA10 of this duo rookie card recently sold for $33,000.
1971 Topps: The sets just keep getting bigger. This 1971 set bumped up to 752 cards. The design changed as well, seeing a black border around the card with the players team, name, and position on the top of the card. They still featured the same subsets, with #644-752 being the short prints of the set. 1971 was the introduction of two greats, Bert Blyleven and Steve Garvey.
Blyleven was drafted out of high school in 1969 by the Minnesota Twins, and quickly made his way to the majors the following year. Thanks to a great curveball, Blyleven had a great 22 year career. His best year, 1985, saw 24 complete games, 293.2 IP, lead the league in strikeouts (206) and batters faced (1203). He grabbed two All Star selections, two World Series rings, threw a no-hitter, and is a part of the 3,000 strikeout club. His PSA 10 rookie card fetched $15,052 recently.
Steve Garvey was drafted int he first round in 1968 by the Dodgers and made his first full season debut in 1970. It wasn't until 1974 when Garvey broke out. The first basemen hit 21 home runs, 111 RBI's, batted .312, and grabbed an MVP, Gold Glove, and All Star game selection. Garvey became known as an iron man, setting a National League record 1,207 consecutive games played from 1975-1983. For his career, he won one MVP, ten All Star selections, two All Star MVP's, four Gold Gloves, two NLCS MVP's, and one World Series ring. His most recent PSA 10 card sold for $25,393.
1972 Topps: More cards? Topps bumped this set up to 787 cards and completely re-designed the card. They moved away from the solid colors and leaned in to the groovy 70's with an arch-shaped photo of the player with the team name jutting out on top, and the players name down below. The set still features all of the legends, (A PSA 10 of Hank Aaron sold recently on eBay for $50,000), and one major rookie, Carlton Fisk.
Fisk was drafted by the Red Sox in 1967 in the first round. The catcher didn't hit the majors full time until 1972, bouncing between the minor and major leagues. Once he did solidify in 1972, he won Rookie of the Year (slash line of .293/.370/.538 with 22 HR/61 RBI's), a Gold Glove, an All Star game selection, and finished 4th in MVP voting. Throughout his career, Fisk won three silver sluggers and was selected to 11 All Star games. Fisk, at the time he retired, held the records of most homers by a catcher (351, broken by Mike Piazza) and most games played at catcher (2,226, broken by Ivan Rodriguez). His rookie card is shared by other Red Sox rookies Mike Garman and Cecil Cooper. This card as a PSA 10 recently sold for $19,100.