Today’s post will be a little different. Instead of breaking an old box, I’m busting out another vintage pack (and no, there will be no bitching about Ben Henry in this post). You may remember I busted a pack of 1978 Topps a little over a month ago. Today, I’ll go back a year and bust a pack from 1977 Topps. 1977 Topps is a special set to me. When I was 11, my father bought me a small lot of vintage cards for my collection. At the time (1994), I was just getting into cards and often bought packs and singles of cards that were new at the time. My father acknowledged my interest in cards and decided to give my collection a kickstart. He took me to meet a man he knew from work, who hooked him up with some deals. At the end, I walked away with a lot consisting of cards, new and old. The highlights were a 1975 Hank Aaron RB, 1979 Nolan Ryan, 1977 cards of Robin Yount, Mike Schmidt, and Pete Rose, and a whole bunch of newer star cards (Mattingly, Gwynn, etc). I’ll never forget how in awe I was of those cards back then. Heck, I’m still in awe of them. With that said, this set obviously has special meaning to me.
Back to the task at hand, this pack contained 10 cards compared to the 14 from ’78. Let’s see what treasure awaits…
Card 1: #347 George Foster (Reds) – It’s very fitting that Mr. Foster starts off the pack. In 1977, Foster won the N.L. MVP Award after dishing out .320/52/149. Baseball would not see another 50-homer season until Cecil Fielder’s performance in 1990. Foster’s amazing season came a year after finishing runner-up in the MVP voting to teammate, Joe Morgan. The back of the card lets us know that he homered in the All-Star Game in ’76 and was voted the game’s MVP. As the top card in the pack, this was a victim of some damage thanks to the gum stain. Stain (and some slight off-centering) aside, the card looks great. Also, I see we share the same birthday (December 1), with me being 35 years his junior.
Card 2: #320 Ken Griffey (Reds) – Wow, two cogs in the Big Red Machine to start the pack! I wonder if Joe from Cincy Reds Cards is reading. In ’77, Griffey made the All-Star team for a second straight time and put up .318/12/57 for the year with 17 steals. The card back reads:
“In 1975, Ken had distinction of scoring deciding run to win both NL Playoffs and World Series for Reds. One of loop’s leading hitters, he had 3 stolen bases in 2nd game of 1975 N.L. Playoffs. His double started winning 1975 Series rally.”
Card 3: #440 Jon Matlack (Mets) – 1977 ended up being the final season in New York for Matlack. It was a disappointing season for the former Rookie of the Year as he went 7-15 with a 4.21 ERA.
“One of Jon’s finest efforts of 1976 was sparkling 11-0 shutout vs. Cardinals, July 1st, when he had distinction of scoring 2 runs. Won 1975 All-Star Game.”
Card 4: #388 Terry Harmon (Phillies) – 1977 was Harmon’s last year in the Majors. There’s really nothing to say here so here’s the card back:
“Terry had great game at San Diego, 6/10/75, with 2 triples in the contest.”
Card 5: #115 Rick Manning (Indians) – 1977 stats: .226/5/18 in 68 games.
“Rick’s 1st homer in pro ball went over 420-foot centerfield wall at Reno, 7/9/72. His 1st homer in majors was inside-the-park drive 7/11/75.”
Card 6:#558 Elias Sosa (Dodgers) – 1977 stats: 2-2, 1.98 ERA in 63.2 innings. Sosa helped in creating the legend of Mr. October by serving up the second of Reggie Jackson’s three home runs in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. At least he smiles on the card…
“Regarded as one of the best relievers in baseball, Elias had streak of 15 consecutive inning allowing no runs, 1975.”
Card 7: #432 Buzz Capra (Dayf’s Team) – Originally a Met, Capra broke through in his first season in Atlanta, going 16-8 with a 2.28 ERA in 1974. That year, he was voted to the All-Star team, but didn’t play. In 1977, his final year in the Majors, he went 6-11 with a 5.36 ERA.
“Buzz set Braves record for consecutive victories by running off 9 straight in 1974. He won NL’s ERA title and was voted to the league’s All-Star squad.”
Card 8: #518 Chicago Cubs Checklist
Card 9: #543 Ron Blomberg (Yankees) – Can you guess what the back of this card says? Sure you can, just think about it. I mean, Blomberg’s only known for one thing:
“Ron was baseball’s first Designated Hitter and his bat is in Cooperstown as a commemoration of the 1973 event.”
If anyones cares, here’s a box score of that game.
Card 10: #658 Marty Pattin (Royals) – Well, so much for ending the pack with a bang. Pattin played for four teams in his 13-year career, including the expansion Seattle Pilots. He compiled a 114-109 record as a starter and reliever and a 3.62 ERA.
“Marty had 2-1 win over Angels in key game during Royals’ stretch, 9/16/76.”
Final Thoughts: Well, the pack started out pretty good (CINCI-JO?!?) and quickly got very average. The cards looked great overall and didn’t have as much damage as the cards from the ’78 pack. Overall, it was great ripping through a vintage pack like this, especially when it’s of a set that brings me very fond memories of when I first started collecting.
Thanks for reading,