Topps used game action shots on cards for the first time with the 1971 set. But not of the cards were of Cubs players. Instead, they used the boring posed shots, with 25 of the 27 pictures
These are the first cards showing Cubs in game action, appropriately enough from the "In Action" subset. None of the base cards showed any action, just shots mostly taken at spring training in Scottsdale.
Finally, in 1973, we get two base cards featuring Cubs game action. This was obviously taken Wrigley Field...
The blog author's favorite set, the 1974, gives us
The 1975 set actually represents a step backwards with the action, as only
two cards show game action. It looks like both were taken from the same spot, possibly on the same day?
As we move later into the 70s, it seems as it Topps was shying away from the action cards. The 1976 and 1977 sets didn't have any Cub action. Action returned very briefly in the 1978 set with this card...
As the decade closed, the action cards picked up again, as we equal the decade high of
Once the 80's arrived the action cards became more of the norm and by the end of the '80s the posed cards were pretty much a thing of the past.