Monday, December 22, 2008

Tribute to 1976 Topps - Chipper Jones

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Chipper Jones is a phenomenal baseball player, among the very best of his generation. He plays gold-glove caliber defense, hits for average and power, and shows a tremendous amount of plate discipline.

And, as I've mentioned before, he is also a favorite of mine in fantasy baseball leagues.

He is such a phenomenal percentage player, in fact, that it really doesn't matter when he gets hurt. You can take his stats, assume 120 games, pencil in 30-40 games of replacement level stats and still wind up with the best 3B in the league. The Braves probably feel the same way about his real level of production and are happy to pay him for it.

Chipper's career resume includes:

- .310 lifetime average
- Batting title
- World Series ring
- Nine seasons of 100+ RBI
- More career walks than strikeouts

And if he's getting old, it doesn't show:

OBP
2005 - .412
2006 - .409
2007 - .425
2008 - .470 *

(* Did he forget how to make outs last year?)

The card above features Chipper in the design of 1976 Topps. It's a set that I wasn't too familiar with at first (in fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen one of these cards in person!), but I enjoyed getting to work with it. I really dig the comic-style baseball players in the lower left corners of the cards. They seem to have a different one for each position, which my wife actually realized first, pointing out that my original template had a pitcher in the lower left hand corner instead of a third baseman (courtesy of Phil Niekro). So I switched to a Brooks Robinson card for my template and color matched instead!

As alluded to, I like the design, just like I do with most old Topps cards. The card colors are team-oriented (plus), bold (another plus) and the names are easy to read as well (again, plus!). These are all hallmarks of a great card set. My only beef with the design is the lack of a Topps logo, which I was pretty bummed about. What can I say? I like the Topps logo! Maybe Topps aficionados (like JayBee for instance) can help me on this, but it's the first Topps card I've ever seen without the Topps logo prominently gracing the front. I guess they were the only major card manufacturer at the time, so maybe they didn't feel the need to print their own logo. I'm not sure.

The card is also a tip of the cap to Captain Canuk, the man behind Waxaholic. C.C. suggested it as part of the Goose Joak Reader Request series! Is it possible, then, that an Adam LaRoche card is not far behind?

Hope you enjoy!

6 comments:

  1. Dang, I thought I aleady left a comment on here. I must have screwed up the word verification.

    Anyway, what I said was that this was a great card. The '76 Topps area a cool design and you did a good job of finding a close-up shot, which seemed to be the trend for this set.

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  2. I also am a big Chipper fan in fantasy baseball. Like you said the percentages are all wonderful, but so many people give up on him cause of injuries. Especially in more shallow leagues taking Chipper with a borderline player like Mark Reynolds or Adrian Beltre is almost as good as having David Wright.

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  3. I don't think the Topps logo used as part of the design on any Topps cards until 1979 (the one where the curve of the "t" extends to the "s" on the logo). The logo did not come back in 1980. Then in 1981, the Topps name (not a logo) was put on a baseball in 1981.

    It was not until 1982 that Topps begain putting their logo on their cards on a continuous basis (I guess they had to because Fleer and Donruss were now competitors in the card business).

    Hope this helps.

    Great job on the card.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama
    bdj610

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  4. That is a fantastic card. The '76 Topps baseball issue is one of my all time favorites.

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  5. Thanks everybody for the nice words. I appreciate it. I had fun playing with Chipper's coloring and contrast trying to make him appear more vintage. I still have some work to do before I get it figured out, but was pretty pleased with this first attempt.

    Also, thanks JayBee for coming to my rescue. I had never noticed that before. I really don't own any Topps cards prior to 1986 (probably fewer than ten total), so I wasn't sure. And even then, my oldest card is (was) probably a 1979 Topps Ozzie Smith (which was stolen several years ago). But you know, that REALLY explains my perception then, since Ozzie is the only guy I have cards of from the early 1980s. My knowledge of Topps basically started from that '79 set on, which pretty much perfectly coincides with them putting their logo (and in that one case, name) on the cards!

    Very interesting and thanks for the info.

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