Monday, September 14, 2009

One Big Fro

Not too long ago I wrote about Jose Cardenal's card in the 1969 set. That inspired me to look over all of his cards from his time with the Cubs, 1972 - 1977.

I had forgotten just how big of an afro he had. Oscar Gamble was probably the best known big-fro player of the '70's, but Jose sure gave him a run for his money. As a kid I remember trying to imitate Jose making a catch in the outfield. You had to run fast and make sure your hat flew off your head, which seemed to happen to Jose every time he ran after a ball.

His 1972 traded card was his first with the Cubs. This was taken in the spring of '72, and Jose's fro is pretty tame.

The 1973 card looks like it was taken at the same time as the '72 card. They are both at a spring training sight, and he has the same black batting gloves.

This '74 is a great card. It really captures the personality of Jose. The fro hasn't sprouted yet, but it is getting bigger. At least he switched to a white batting glove.

By 1975 we see the fro is getting bigger. His hat looks like it is barely on, which is why it would always fly off his head when he ran.

The 1976 card is the smushed-fro card. The batting helmet, and especially the ear flap, deprive us of the chance to see just how big his fro is now.

Topps made up for the smushed '76 fro the next year with this card. Look at that thing, its huge! And his hat looks like is was just barely dropped on top of his head. It really looks silly! But then, that can be said for alot of the looks of the '70's.

The 1977 card was Jose's last with the Cubs. He was traded to the Phillies after the season and then bounced around with three teams his final three seasons. The six years with the Cubs were the best of his career. He hit .296 and averaged 10 home runs, 55 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases. He brought a little life to an otherwise pretty tame team.


  1. He has one serious fro in the 1977 card. It's pretty cool seeing the 1972 and 1973 cards together like that.

  2. Did not think I'd be reading about the evolution of Jose Cardenal's afro today - what a pleasant surprise!

    I'll be looking through my 1978-1979 Phillies cards to continue this research . . .