Thumb through a stack of 1964 Topps cards and you’ll see a host of classic Topps poses, whether it’s the manager (or head coach!) barking out instructions…
Pitchers at the top of their wind-ups…
Or unprotected catchers in a crouch.
But there’s one classic Topps pose you won’t see at all until the following year, and even then not until the fifth (Johnson) and seventh (Banks) series…
Side note for vintage collectors like me that bemoan all the “shiny stuff” in the hobby these days. It ain’t so new!
Profligate Profile Proliferation
Fast forward 13 years to my rookie season collecting, and Topps had so much “facial profiling” you’d think Rudy Giuliani was in charge!
Profile Pro forma
For at least two Boston superstars, the side shot had evidently become the pose de rigueur.
Look carefully at the gallery of 1978 Topps profiles and you’ll notice several, Yaz among them, that go beyond the standard side view and add an upward gaze as well. These “look up there” profiles can be seen as hybrids of standard side-views and the “look up there” front or three-quarter views Topps used on way too many cards in the 1960s and 70s.
For whatever reason, these “look up there” profiles were among my favorite cards as a kid.
SIDELINED SIDE VIEWS
While Topps struck gold with their Baker alchemy, not all their experiments led to success. For example, Topps introduced a “look down there” variation with one player each in 1976 and 1977, but the approach was not carried forward to 1978.
If there’s one thing readers of this blog know well it’s that nothing in baseball cards is truly new. Goudey flirted with the idea in 1933 and Bowman went all the way there in 1948, and I suspect readers can cite many earlier examples.
It’s hard to imagine profile pics making a big comeback. They seem a bit dull when compared with the kinds of card photos now available.
That isn’t to say that you’ll never see another profile again, and I proffer this Profar as proof.
At some point (2027 if I’m doing this right), Topps will release the Heritage version of 1978 Topps. Though the younger collectors of the future will wonder why so many of the pictures suck, I sure hope to see a ton of “look up there” big sideways heads of the game’s top stars. If that won’t make me feel young again, nothing will. And Oddibe young again, right?