I’ll come back later to do an overview of this year’s Allen & Ginter product – I’m not going to do a comparison to the older tobacco set for A&G for a couple of reasons. First, this is the 6th year of the product, so I could choose one of the earlier sets to do that comparison some day. Second, I just don’t have the time – Lineage just came out, and after Heritage, I was really excited to do a look at that set. In fact, I’d say this may be my most anticipated release of the year. The Heritage base set was more interesting than Lineage, but every insert in this product is interesting because of its tie to the Topps Archives.
The first set I’ll look at with ties to this year’s Lineage product is from 1975 – the Topps mini set.
660 cards in the set – an exact parallel of the 1975 Topps base set, just in a miniature version. The set was released in Michigan and California as a test – cards measure 3-1/8″ x 2-1/4″.
- Subsets: ’74 Highlights (#1-7), League Leaders (#306-313), Postseason (#459-466), Rookies (#614-624, by position), Managers (24 cards throughout), Topps All-Star Rookies (9 cards throughout). Certain players throughout the set are designated as All-Stars on the front of their base card. After not having done so for the previous year, Topps placed an All-Star Rookie trophy on the front of the players’ who earned that distinction in 1974. The manager cards feature a team photo with the manager pictured in the lower left-hand corner and a team checklist on the back.
- Set Design: 1975 was one of the more unique designs in Topps history. The cards feature a bright, two-color border surrounding the player photo. The team name runs across the top of the border in shadowed, block letters, while the player name runs in smaller letters across the bottom of the border. The lower right-hand corner has a baseball with the position included, and there is a facsimile signature over the photo. The back is oriented horizontally with red and green background printed over gray cardstock. The player’s biographical data is at the top left, a trivia question with a comic is below that and to the right. Player statistics are in the middle, with a write-up about the player underneath the statistics if there is room.
- Packs: Topps issued the regular and the mini set in 1 series in the same formats. Cards were available in 10-card wax packs (15¢) that came 24 to a box, 24-card cello packs (25¢) and 42-card rack packs (45¢).
- Rookies: Hall-of-famers George Brett, Robin Yount, Gary Carter and Jim Rice all have RCs in this set. Future MVPs and perennial All-stars Fred Lynn and Keith Hernandez also have rookie cards in this set.
- Hall of Fame: There are an incredible 48 Hall of Famers in this set.
- Rollie Fingers, Bert Blyleven, Brooks Robinson, Fergie Jenkins, Dave Winfield, Mike Schmidt, Carlton Fisk, Willie Stargell, Earl Weaver (MG), Phil Niekro, Bob Gibson, Joe Morgan, Steve Carlton, Don Sutton, Robin Yount, George Brett, Catfish Hunter, Dick Williams (MG), Red Schoendienst (MG), Johnny Bench, Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson (player & MG cards), Jim Palmer, Walter Alston (MG), Tom Seaver, Yogi Berra (MG), Willie McCovey, Nolan Ryan, Gaylord Perry, Sparky Anderson, Lou Brock, Billy Williams, Goose Gossage, Tony Perez, Rod Carew, Jim Rice, Gary Carter, Harmon Killebrew, Hank Aaron, Roy Campanella (MVP subset), Willie Mays (MVP), Mickey Mantle (MVP), Ernie Banks (MVP), Nellie Fox (MVP), Sandy Koufax (MVP), Roberto Clemente (MVP), Orlando Cepeda (MVP)
- Last Active player: Dave Winfield, who played his last game on October 1, 1995 for the eventual AL Champion Cleveland Indians. Winfield, who had been injured most of the season, was left off the postseason roster.
- Variations: There aren’t any variations in the set, but card #407 is fairly interesting. Herb Washington is listed as a pinch runner by the Oakland A’s eccentric owner Chuck Finley.
The rectangular box has the word Baseball at the bottom, surrounded by designations for the year, the Topps logo, the 15¢ price tag and the words “trading card bubble gum” surrounding. Forgettable Mets hurler Hank Webb is pitching a ball right toward you, with an image of an outfield wall and stands behind him. The mini box looks the same as the standard set except for being smaller.
- Packs had advertisements to be able to purchase a sports card locker, a kids magazine, a wall plaque or to join the Topps Sports club.