Okay, I seriously love this set. No lie. It's probably in my all-time top ten baseball sets.
That out of the way, I must ask "What on earth was Topps doing?!"
Look at these cards!
Yeah, the design is classic and the player selection is pretty awesome. No, I'm asking you to actually LOOK at these cards. Specifically the photos. Ever wonder why most Topps cards from this era feature posed and non-action shots? Apparently it's because when they asked their photographers to get them some hot, in-game action this is what the shutterbugs came back with:
Really? That's the best shot of Mike Epstein they were able to find? Was the zoom lens not yet invented in 1973?
Ah '73 Topps. It's as if they forgot they had to put out a baseball card set that year and at the last minute quickly scrambled for any and all in-game baseball photos, identified someone in said photo and sent them off to the printers, making it home just in time to catch the new episode of M*A*S*H.
Really, with no serious competition in those days, it's not that big of a stretch to think that Topps might have put things off until the last minute.
This might seem like I'm being overly harsh with our 35 year old pal '73 Topps, but really these crap-tacular photos are the biggest why I love this set so much.
Here are some of my favorites:
Maybe Steve can help us out here. Did the White Sox actually play some games at Arnie Jipflack's Discount Oldsmobile in 1972? And just which one of these guys is supposed to be Alvarado? If I had to guess based on their position on the field, I'd guess the guy on the left. You know, the guy whose face is turned completely away from the camera. Maybe all the exhaust fumes got to the photographer that day.
Photographer: "Okay, here. You can use this picture for the card of Tommie Agee."
Topps Guy: "Great. Looks good. Just needs a little cropping."
Photographer: "Uhhh.... yeah. I, I wouldn't do that."
Topps Guy: "Why not?"
Photographer: "Well, do you know which one of these guys is actually Agee?"
Topps Guy: "Good point. Better leave the umpire and those two other guys on there too, just in case."
Seriously, this looks like a picture some six year old kid would take from the stands using his mother's Kodak Instamatic while attending his first baseball game ever.
"Honey, that'll never turn out. You didn't have the flash on..."
I've loved this card ever since I first read about it in a Baseball Cards Magazine article that described it as Pat Corrales either doing his impression of Yertle The Turtle or throwing a temper tantrum.
Given the track record of this set, you really have to wonder how this one didn't end up being the photo on Wes Parker's card.
There's a bunch more cards that would have also been worth showing. For all its flaws, you can't say '73 Topps isn't fun to look at.