The annual release of Topps Heritage is always a good time to take a look back at the original set. If time permits I would like to create a series dedicated to the different aspects of 1969 Topps/2018 Heritage. I hope others will also contribute to the series. I know that @SplitSeason1981 has been building the original set and is sure to have some thoughts.
Today we are tackling the All-Star Subset.
1969 Topps #426 Curt Flood (ASG)
Topps has chosen many ways to honor All-Stars, One of my favorites is via a dedicated subset. This is how the first All-Star set appeared in 1958 and periodically throughout the 1960s.
The Sporting News
The cards were often cross promoted with a magazine, in 1969 it was the Sporting News. The TSN masthead was present on All-Star Cards in 1959, 1961 (love these), 1962, 1968 and 1970.
Sport Magazine got the billing on the original All-Star Subset of 1958 followed by 1960,
After 1970 the All-Star subset disappears for a few years, returning unsponsored in 1974.
The All-Star subset remains present in contemporary Topps issues typically appearing in Update/Series 3.
1969 Topps #540 Curt Flood
Often Topps ties designs in consecutive years by keeping an aspect of the previous release. Some folks may think this is redundant or lazy – for me it gives a sense of continuity from one year to the next. The 1968 -> 1969 retained flair is the circle. I think of it as “The Baseball”, it was best executed on the 1964 Jumbos which had the player name in the center with position and team above and below the stitching respectively. The circle on 1969T ain’t no baseball, but it does conjure the image for me.
The circle is also the element of 1969 Topps that carries through from the base cards to the All-Star cards. For the subset the team name has been moved from the bottom of the card to within the circle.
The Wire Photo
There are 2 photos on each All-Star Card. I give a nice try to Topps on these, to punch up the cards they added a black and white action shot. However for the most part I can’t really tell who the player is in the photo. I mean take a look at the Curt Flood Action shot – he looks like a headless outfielder, which he clearly was not.
1969 Topps #426 Curt Flood (b-side/ASG)
For the second consecutive year Topps used the All-Star subber to do something fun – create a puzzle. Above we have the back of Curt Flood’s #426 card. I have already oriented the card so we can tell this is a top right hand corner to the puzzle, beyond that it is pretty tough to tell what we are seeing. Fortunately we have an image of the completed puzzle which involves half of the 20 All-Star cards.
1969 Topps All-Star Puzzle Pete Rose (image swiped from 1969 Topps Blog)
The other 10 All-Star card backs create a picture of Carl Yastrzemski – for a look at the puzzle check out the 1969 Topps Blog.
Topps chose the two League Batting Champs as the puzzle subjects in 1969 (Rose .335, Yaz .301). As of this writing we don’t know the subjects for 2018 Heritage but if Topps follows the 1969 originals, the honorees will be Jose Altuve (.346) and Charlie Blackmon (.331)
I picked Curt Flood to represent the 1969 All-Star cards because we hear so much about what he meant to baseball and free agency that we forget how great a baseball player he was. I believe 1969 is the only year that Flood made the All-Star subset. Flood’s two 1969 Topps cards are also his last two issued with the Cardinals. After that his playing career was pretty much over, He had a handful of ABs with the Senators but a year off clearly hurt the All-Star Center Fielder. Progress often has victims – Curt Flood took the punch for free agency.
1969 Topps / 2018 Heritage Series
If anyone is interested I would love to see a group project dedicated to comparing and contrasting 1969 Topps with this years Heritage release. If you are interested, leave a note in the comments with a topic you would like to cover. Some of the items I came up off the top of my head were:
- Base Cards
- Deckle Edge
- Rookie Cups
- Manager Cards
- League Leaders
- World Series
Sources and Links