Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Learned Something New About the 1967 Set

The title says it all...

I think most collectors are aware that in 1968 Topps made a pretty significant design change after series one. They went from the wide burlap background of series one...

...to the tighter burlap for the rest of the set.

But not too long ago as I was looking through the '60s binder, I had one of those "Duh!" moments. It came from a look at the first two player cards on the page. Here they are side by side:

Can you spot the difference?

It shouldn't be too hard, since the design is pretty minimal. On the series one cards (like the Altman), the top line has the player's name and position. But after series one, Topps added a dot between the name and position. See it now?

I've had 1967 cards since, well since 1967. But I never noticed the missing dot.

The question I have is, why the change? Did Topps get complaints about the lack of design features?

The meeting of the Topps execs may have gone like this:

Boss: Men, we've got a problem. The first series is out and the sales numbers are down. I think the design on these cards is just too simple. It's missing something; it needs some pizazz. Anyone got any suggestions to spruce things up?

Flunky One: Sorry boss, I got nothing.

Flunky Two: Me either boss, sorry.

The boss, getting agitated, shouts, "I'm surrounded by incompetence! We are Topps...we are known for our design innovation. Now someone give me something!"

Flunky Three, with some trepidation in his voice says, "Well, what if we add a dot to the card. We could put it between the player's name and his position."

Boss: Brilliant! That's the kind of thinking we need more of around here!

And the rest is history. The dot was added to all of the series two through series seven cards.

But I still don't understand why!


  1. Probably not the reason but the way I see it there were a whole lot a cousins from the Outfield family in 1967, not the mention the Pitchers, the Catchers and the Infields. "Hi my name is David Allen Infield."

  2. This is cool! From a designers perspective, you really should have something to separate the name from other meta data (as we'd call it nowadays). It just makes things cleaner & easier on the eyes. Pretty cool to see Topps make changes in the middle of a set like this. I never knew.

  3. I think maybe someone thought his full name was George Altman Outfield, and couldn't find a match on the checklist. :D

  4. Another "innovation" that Topps instituted after 1967 was to hire a fleet of chimpanzees to airbrush the cards of traded players, and the Astros and Athletics cards.

    In 1967, there were only 4 airbrushed cards. After that, it became an epidemic, with laughable results.

  5. (By the way, anytime you can work John Boccabella into a post, it's a good day)