Tuesday, August 10, 2010

#6 - Hank Aaron Special

This is the last card of the Aaron commemorative set, showcasing his four most recent cards. While I like the array of poses, especially the '71 card which takes over the "closest to a smile" race and the action card from '73, I have to say that the '70 card is the all-time worst card of Aaron's by far. Maybe he was just bummed to see the 60's end but he looks like he was just busted doing something he wasn't supposed to. And where was the photo taken? It looks like an alley somewhere. Maybe it's the same background Topps used for their early basketball cards. Anyway, echoing my sentiments about the '69 card, couldn't they find a better shot? I mean, it was Hank Aaron, for crissakes!

For the back of the '70 card, Topps returned to multiple tones, but picked pretty ugly ones - blue and yellow. The back on the '71 card was pretty cool, or so I thought at the time. It would be an aberration for the time since it was a reversion to the one-season stat deal. But it had a second black and white head shot of the player and was nicely arranged, although in Hank's case the back photo was the same as the front. In '72 we get everything back - the cartoon, the neat arrangement and even Hank's minor league stats. Finally, in '73 Topps tries a black frame, loses the minor league data, but compensates with the Hank-specific cartoon. That was always my favorite set.

The back of the last card highlights his important homers, basically every 50th one he hit, plus his first and 713th, the last one being the last homer he'd hit in '73. It is a pretty good list of pitchers that occupy this list: a couple Hall of Famers, a bunch of 20-game winners, an oddball or two, and at least one of the great all-time nicknames ("The Springfield Rifle"). I am pretty sure that Jerry Reuss was happy to get his name off the list once the record was broken.

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