I was a mere two cards away from finishing my 1976 OPC baseball set. One of the missing was the Dennis Eckersley RC. (Note to self – don’t ever leave the big rookie until the end again. It’s just bad news.) The other was the Reds team card, featuring a beloved old Toronto Maple Leaf second-baseman (and eventual manager) named Sparky Anderson.
There’s something about Reds team cards. One of the last cards I needed for 1975 OPC was the Reds team card. 1974 OPC, the set that is giving me fits? Missing the Reds team card. Fortunately, after 1976, OPC simply did away with Reds team cards. They must have been trouble.
Anyhow, I found an online dealer and for the moderately exorbitant price of $8.00 or so, the Reds team card was mine. Or so I thought.
Two weeks later – international mail ain’t exactly speedy – the card arrived at my door. Hooray! Or not. I turned it over and saw this:
Obviously the dealer got fooled by the light card stock, but this is not OPC. The dead giveaway is that the copyright says 1976 TOPPS CHEWING GUM INC, PRTD IN U.S.A. (their caps, not mine). I wrote the dealer back, telling him this was not OPC and asking if he had the proper card. I never got a response. Said dealer is now on my bad side.
The question, though, is what is this card? It’s clearly not on the normal Topps card stock. My guess is that if you actually sent your fifty cents and wrapper off to Westbury NY, you would get a set of team cards printed on this alternate stock. Am I right in thinking this?
I did eventually get my hands on a 1976 OPC version of this. Had to pay more and it’s a tad fuzzy on the corners, so I’ll have to upgrade. At least the set is correct, though. This is what the OPC back looks like. Note the French, alternate mailing address and copyright information:
You are correct. If you followed the instructions of the ad on the back, Topps would send you all of the team checklist cards. They were printed on lighter/whiter stock. I sent away for the 1975 checklists when I was a kid.
When did they stop doing that?
In ’75 and ’76, you could have used one of those nifty Kennedy half dollars to buy these cards. I used to get those every time we’d go to the States (along with Eisenhower dollars) as a kid, but I haven’t seen one in ages.
I’m not 100 percent sure, but I know Topps did it in 1975, 1976 and 1977.
In ’73 and ’74 you could get that alternate set of checklists that weren’t part of the base set. For OPC, though, those were printed on the same card stock.
In 1976, when the set of team cards was ordered, it came as a full sheet. I show that off in a past blog entry:
That’s interesting, and explains why my card is cut just a tad short. Not enough to notice, but when it’s side by side with the OPC, you see it.
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