Saturday, March 7, 2009

Topps 1972

A look at the Cubs team set from the Topps 1972 funkadelic set:

When I was growing up, I couldn't stand the look of the 1972 set. My first cards were the far more conservative (boring?) 1969 and 1970 cards. In my young mind, that is what baseball cards looked like. The 1972 set did not look conservative at all and I didn't like it. I probably bought the fewest cards during this year because of that. But as time has passed, I have really come to like the design of the cards. I probably most enjoyed putting the 1972 set together of all the sets I built, although the cost of the high series cards took away some of the fun!

The 1972 Cubs set has a total of 32 cards in it. That number is larger than most team sets from the era. Four Cubs had "In Action" cards, so that added to the count. Also, this was the first year Topps had traded cards, which were included in the final series. The Cubs had one player in that subset.

This set was the first Cubs set since 1954 to not feature an Ernie Banks card. Mr. Cub's knees had finally given out and he retired during the 1971 season. It's also has the last card of Leo Durocher with the Cubs, as Leo was fired midway through the 1972 season. The Cubs of 1969 were starting to fade away, having never taken the Cubs to the promised land.

As with the 1970 and 1971 sets, not one of the 1972 cards features a player in the familiar home blue pinstriped uniform. All of the pictures were taken in one of three places: spring training (21 cards), Candlestick Park (6 cards), or Shea Stadium (3 cards).

There is one variation with the design of the cards. On most of them, the underneath part of the C and S at is yellow. But on Bill Bonham's and Juan Pizarro's cards, the underneath is in green.

I'll give you nine cards at a time, in alphabetical order:

The team card was one of the Floating Heads versions.

Glenn Beckert: A spring training photo with Glenn wearing a plastic jacket. I think these were popular in spring training to help players loose the extra pounds they put on during the off-season. Glenn also was given an In Action card, although I don't consider a practice swing in the on deck circle "action."

Bill Bonham: His first card, and he looks really young! Notice the green bottoms on the C and S. He is also wearing #52, although when he made it to the majors with the Cubs he wore #33.

Correct Yellow letter version of the Bonham card

Hal Breeden: He played 23 games for the Cubs in 1971 which was good enough to get him a card. He was traded just before the start of the '72 season and spent the next four seasons with the Expos.

Johnny Callison: He was traded in January of 1972 to the Yankees. This must have been too late for Topps to make any changes.

Jose Cardenal: This is what the first Topps traded cards looked like. There were seven cards in the subset. Three cards featured future hall of famers, Steve Carlton, Joe Morgan, and Frank Robinson. Another was for Jim Fregosi, who the Mets got in exchange for Nolan Ryan. The Cubs had acquired Jose from the Brewers in December, 1971. Cardenal's best years were with the Cubs, where he also became a fan favorite. Two things to point out from the card: Jose is starting to let his hair grow out; you can see a small afro sticking out from his at. The fro would get much larger. Also notice the black batting glove. He is one on just a few players you see in the cards with a batting glove, which was still somewhat of a novelty.

Joe Decker: Another young pitcher the Cubs were hoping would develop, but never did, at least with the Cubs.

Hall of Famer Leo Durocher. This is the first new picture of Leo since 1968. The cards from 68-71 all appear to have been taken at the same time, although the poses are slightly different.

Nine more to come on Monday....


  1. 1972 cards never "grew on me" but it is nice to go back and "relive" those psychodelic days. No card of Banks . . . mmmmm . . . never realized his Topps 1971 # 525 is his "last" regular card. Always good stuff from you !

  2. The 71 cards was his last as a player, though he did show up as a coach on the '73 manager card. And thanks for the kind words!

  3. I am currently trying to put the '72 set together. It's a slow and agonizing process because of those dastardly high numbers.

    But I've got all the Dodgers high numbers out of the way so if I never do complete it, I'll be happy with the Dodgers.

  4. Gotta love the plastic jacket look on Beckert. You don't see many of those these days.