Some historians consider the 1975 World Series between the Reds and Red Sox to be the best World Series Ever, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to tie baseball cards or memorabilia to it for an article for months now (as I have for a few other historical events in baseball’s history). It just didn’t occur to me to see if, in 1976, Topps made a card dedicated to it. It turns out they did! Card #462 in the 1976 Topps set is a 1975 World Series card referred to as the ‘Reds Champs!’ card. So in this article, I’ll give a brief run down of the 1975 World Series and the baseball card commemorating it.
The Cincinnati Reds were dominant in the regular season, winning 108 games to win the NL West by 20 over the Dodgers. They were led by a HOF coach in Sparky Anderson and a trio of Hall of Fame everyday players in Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez. Oh, and Pete Rose was on the team too. They defeated the Pirates 3-0 in the NL Championship Series to make the World Series.
The Boston Red Sox won their division, the AL East, but by only 4.5 games over the Orioles. The Red Sox won 95 games in 1975. They were led by Hall of Famers Carlton Fisk, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice (who was injured for the World Series). The Red Sox earned their way into the World Series by defeating the Athletics 3-0 in the AL Championship Series.
In the 1975 World Series, the Reds defeated the Red Sox in seven games, with five of those games decided by one run with two games ending in extra innings. It was so tight that the Red Sox outscored the Reds 30-29 and outhit them 60-59 over the series. Game 6 is famous for the video and images of Fisk waving his home run to stay fair. The reaction shot changed the way the game of baseball would be filmed.
The 1976 Topps card #462 specifically honors the Reds for their first championship since 1940. The front features five action and celebratory shots, and the back has the final statistics for both teams.
Collectors can find raw cards for $1-2 or less. If graded cards are more your thing, PSA has graded quite a few. There are 25 PSA 10s, but the last sale was in June 2020 for $455 (they sold for between $250-350 before that). There are 114 PSA 9s which usually sell for just under $100. PSA 8s are the most prevalent, with a population of 171 and sales between $10-20 depending on the card’s eye appeal and the buyer’s patience.
If you’re a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, the 1976 Topps baseball card honoring their 1975 World Series win is a must-have. And for those of you Reds fans, I’d love to hear about what other memorabilia or collectibles you have honoring this team in the comments or over on Twitter. Happy collecting!