Thursday, June 23, 2022

Art on the back: 1975

After two years of some of the best cartoons in the company's history, Topps dialed it down in 1975, going back to the old standby of general baseball trivia instead of items specific to the player. The primary artist is clearly the same one who did the 1970 set. A lot of the trivia was around nicknames. So Birdie Tebbetts is a bird, Candy Cummings is eating candy, etc. There were at least two different cartoons about Walter Alston being known as Smoky. And Greasy Neale was, well, greasy:

Here's a cartoon that appears to be an error. What does Dean Look winning a world series game have to do with football?

There's a clue on this cartoon, which mentions that Look was also a pro football referee.

I'd never heard of this guy before, so I looked up Look. He played in three games for the Chicago White Sox in 1961, and one game for the New York Titans (now Jets) in 1962. He then went on to a long career as an NFL referee. Remember Dwight Clark's catch in the 1982 NFC Championship game? That's Look giving the touchdown signal.

So Look never pitched for the Phillies, meaning that card is an even bigger error than it looks. The correct answer should have been Grover Cleveland Alexander, who won Game 1 of the 1915 World Series. The Phillies wouldn't win another World Series game for 65 years, when Bob Walk won Game 1 of the 1980 World Series, the Phillies' first championship.

I thought I found another error is on the back of Don Kessinger's card. I have the whole '75 set and this is the only cartoon in my set without a pink background. Looking online, though, it appears other cards have a pink background. Looks like mine is just a printing error. Still a cool variation.

Here are a few more cartoons I found interesting.

I had no idea that the President of the United States was the individual who would break a tie in a vote for MLB commissioner.


  1. These certainly were uninspired.

  2. The Dean Look error is funny, because you wouldn't even know it was an error.

    The most famous (still not very famous) such error in the set is on the Willie McCovey card. It asks "Who was 'The Hat'", which is supposed to be Harry Walker. The nonsensical answer is "Jerry Lynch, with 18." That was supposed to go with the question "What player had the most career pinch-hit home runs?" or something to that effect.

    And I just noticed that Lynch's Wikipedia page now says that his nickname was "The Hat." See what you did, Topps?

  3. Interesting tidbits on the back of those cards. I'll have to start paying more attention.

  4. Dean Look & his brother Bruce Look each attended my old high school in Lansing,Michigan & both attend Michigan State University plus the high school had another famous Alumni but he played basketball instead & he also played at Michigan State University. That mysterious man was Earvin Johnson Jr. or as most known better by the name Magic Johnson & the High School is named Lansing Everett home of the Vikings.

  5. The Kessinger variation is pretty interesting. Looks like it started printing the box with pink ink and eventually ran out. I wonder if there are any super collectors out there who have been actively collecting these.