Baseball Card of the Day: 1975 Topps Boog Powell

Boog looks like I feel now that I know that baseball is nearly back.

And a nice piece of big sports normal today – the Texas Rangers announced their stadium will be at 100% fan capacity on opening day, April 5. Hopefully other teams will follow.

Enough of this shit.

John Wesley “Boog” Powell played first base and outfield mostly for the great Oriole teams of the late 60s and 70s. He won the MVP in 1970, the year the Orioles won the Series. I remember him as one of those huge lumbering hulk type guys who’d bash the crap out of the ball and stand there like a sequoia for guys trying to slide.

Back in the day, opening up that first pack of Topps cards not only meant getting that year’s cards of whatever great players I was after… Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, etc etc… it also meant seeing what the cards would look like that year, design-wise. What did the front look like? What colors were for which team? Did they have insignias? And very, very important…. how many stats were on the back? Would we get complete stats, like in ’72, or would it be just a “last year’s stats” back like in ’71?

Well, 1975 gave us some BITCHIN SEVENTIES PSYCHADELIC COLORS, didn’t it? You had the 2 complimentary color border theme for different teams, along with those neon-bright colors and black shadow in the lettering. The photos were mostly decent. It was jarring in its day, to be honest… a step beyond the funky colors and fonts of the enormous 1972 set, and coming after 2 years of what I still think are some of best designed cards for Topps, the 1973 and 1974 sets.

Better than this year’s design – check this out:

The photo and border are great, I’ll give it that – digital photography is a big improvement over the old school cards, especially for action shots (as much as I missed the badly and obviously posed shots of yesteryear) – but look how small the lettering is and how tough it is to read the player’s name and position. You have to make an effort to find it, and it’s the first thing that should leap out at you. They’re overshadowed by the team insignia. And now Topps spends the entire year issuing extra cards for so many players that it’s a mess to keep track. I mean, I love Aaron Judge, but I would not want to have to hunt down a new action photo card of him every time he hits a home run. And it seems like that’s how often they come out. Bah.

But back in 1975? A fixed set, with the bonus cards and extras kept simple. Certainly easier to read. But yeah, those colors were a bit much. It’s a fun set to browse through now for all sorts of nostalgia purposes, but it’s still got that acid-trip vibe to it.

Maybe Boog is reacting to the acid trip on that card. He’s looking up in the sky, but he doesn’t see the pop up from the batter….HE SEES THROUGH TIME, MAN!!!!

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