Let me start by saying that I love the 1973 Topps baseball set. I even used to have a nearly complete high-grade PSA set. While some consider many of the action shots ugly, I really like them; the set has some of the best backgrounds in the hobby. Plus, 1973 Topps has the last cards of Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays, good subsets (my favorite are the All-Time Leaders), a GREAT card #1 (All-Time HR Leaders; Ruth/Aaron/Mays), and an important rookie in Mike Schmidt. However, there are dozens of errors and variations in the set, like gaps in borders, faded ears, a ton of airbrushing, and other entertaining oddities; here are six of my favorites.
1973 Topps #263 George Scott
This card is a funny case of drastic airbrushing; the crowd isn’t watching the play. The players are in uniforms indicating an Oakland Athletics home game, but the crowd appears to be at Milwaukee’s County Stadium.
1973 Topps #456 Dick Green
Perhaps this type of card frustrates some collectors regarding the action shots used in the 1973 Topps set. Why would they use the photo of a player making an error? Hilarious!
1973 Topps #553 Mickey Scott
So you want to tell me that a player whose first name is Mickey just so randomly happens to have an advertisement for Walt Disney World on the fence in the background?
1973 Topps #542 Pat Corrales
Topps shows Corrales after being leveled by Cubs Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins in this action shot. He’s clearly in pain, but at least it appears that the umpire is about to call Jenkins out.
1973 Topps #627 Luis Alvarado
That’s the best photo Topps could find of Luis Alvarado? Nice cars.
1973 Topps #645 Bob Locker
The National Baseball Hall of Fame wrote about this card; it’s a photo of Locker when he was on the A’s but airbrushed into the Cubs; the outfielder is Reggie Jackson.
You could write thousands of pages about the oddities that Topps presented in their 1973 set, and while that may turn some collectors off, I find it super interesting, making the set one of my all-time favorites.
What’s your favorite 1973 Topps card? Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter, happy collecting!
That’s a great post, thank you. I love all those cards. I was ten when the set came out, and oddly, I had spent every cent I had buying cards in 1972, but didn’t by a single pack in ’73. Got back into it a few years later and never really stopped. I did some sleuthing on the Pat Corrales card: it had to be June 14, 1972, at Wrigley, with the Cubs winning 12-9. Jenkins had singled and tried to score on a Don Kessinger double but was thrown out. The Dave Roberts card (Padres’ 3rd baseman) was probably taken in the same game or series at Wrigley; he’s got his eye on a pop-up, but I couldn’t determine the exact play or date. Great shot of the Wrigley ivy and bleachers.
That’s awesome! Thanks for the insight about the cards. And it’s not too late to buy some packs of 73s…but it will cost you every cent you have!
Steve Garveys card! Shoulda been a Wes parker card! Lol
Ha! Good call. More of Parker is showing on Garvey’s card #213.