Saturday, February 5, 2011

Topps Dave Kingman 1978...What Should Have Been

Add this to the long list of head-scratching decisions by Topps.

Not too long ago I had a post that showed my new Dave Kingman autograph card, and I also showed the really ugly 1978 card that Topps put out. It has to be one of the nastiest cards of all time.

Earlier in the week I saw this available on ebay through the Topps Vault:

Its an unused negative from 1978. Dave Kingman is in a Padres uniform (one of four teams he played for in 1977) and the airbrush artists were just about finished changing Kong into a Cub. All they had to do was finish the corners of the batting helmet. I have to admit that it's not a bad job. The C on the helmet almost looks real and the uniform looks pretty good, too. And even more important, Kingman looks happy.

So why on earth did Topps decide to go with the picture they used on the 1978 card when they could have had....


Here they are side by side:

Usually, we make custom cards because Topps did such a lousy job. But here, Topps could have, and should have, been able to make a decent card, but didn't.

I just don't get it. Anyone care to defend Topps here? Is there any defense?


  1. oh man - i think rod at padrographs would love to have that photo undoctored! i've tried to get kingman to sign his 78 topps card 3 times ttm but he either doesn't want to sign it because it's so bad or he doesn't like me. he's kept the cash i've sent though.

  2. wait, you're asking someone to make sense of what Topps does?

  3. Maybe the photo you have wasn't finished in time to get the set out?

  4. That is really cool to see how they airbrushed the photos

  5. Maybe they realized a lot more airbrushing would have been required to kill all that headroom! -Andy

  6. The airbrushed artwork of Kong was used by Topps... for the 1978 Hostess set, card #26. The Hostess sets were loaded with airbrushed cards!!!