Ranked: 1970s Topps Sets

This is part 3 in my series ranking all of the Topps sets. Click the links to read parts 1 and 2.

The 1970s had some excellent looking Topps sets, and also had some pretty bland ones towards the end of the decade. The Sox weren’t very good in the 70s overall, so they didn’t have a whole lot of interesting players in these sets.

#10 – 1974 Topps

There is really nothing interesting about this design. It’s not terrible, but it isn’t good either. I guess it has some nice symmetry. There is a nice big checklist, and a few interesting rookie cards. Bucky Dent, Jerry Hairston, and Brian Downing.

#9 – 1977 Topps

The return of the dreaded facsimile signature. The position inside of the little green pennant is kind of cool. At least a couple of the cards this set have some actual action photography. Another nice big checklist, with lots of rookie cards, but none that are particularly notable.

#8 – 1979 Topps

I do like the cute little Topps logo in the baseball, but otherwise this is another bland set. Here we have another good sized checklist, with Mike Squires being the most notable rookie card in the set.

#7 – 1976 Topps

Hey look at this, another boring 70s set! At this this year’s set has cute little baseball man in the corner that represents the position of the player. One thing that 1976 has going for it is the Topps Traded cards, with the cool newspaper headlines. Another big checklist, with Chet Lemon and Lamar Johnson rookies.

#6 – 1978 Topps

The highest ranking of the truly boring 70s sets. I mostly like this because of the script White Sox name. It doesn’t hurt that this is the set that chronicles the South Side Hitmen of 1977. 1978 is also the year I was born, so there’s that. 1978 has a huge checklist, but no notable rookies.

#5 – 1973 Topps

1973 was the first Topps set to include the little baseball man in the corner that represented the position of the player. I also like how that section of card is cut out of the image. It’s a bit more visually interesting than the sets preceding it on this list. Of course we have another big checklist, with rookie cards for Jorge Orta and HOFer Goose Gossage.

#4 – 1972 Topps

I love that Topps tried something different in 1972. This design feels like it could have been used on a Jimi Hendrix gig poster! There are a whopping 35 Sox cards in this set, which has to be one of the largest team sets out there. Not much in the way of rookies. The most notable one is Terry Forster.

#3 – 1975 Topps

Definitely one of the most colorful Topps designs. The look really suits the era, just like the 72 design does. The Sox are very well represented with various subset cards featuring Dick Allen, Terry Forster, and Nellie Fox. Plus a bunch of 4 player rookie cards, though of the Sox players are particularly notable.

#2 – 1971 Topps

I’m sure you expected this to be #1. If it weren’t for the facsimile signature, it very well might have occupied the top spot. It’s surprising that it took 20 years for them to try a black border, but it really works. The Sox set is a bit heavy on headshots, but they still look pretty good. We have a solid checklist here, but nothing in the way of exciting rookie cards.

#1 – 1970 Topps

I feel like I’m all alone in my love of this set. I think it has some of the best photography of any Topps set that came before the proliferation of action shots appearing on cards. They also look really good autographed, which is a major bonus in my book. The checklist is solid as usual, but the best rookie here is probably Bart Johnson.

Ranked: 1960s Topps Sets

This is part two of my series ranking all of the Topps sets of all time. You can read part one here.

The Topps sets of the 50s had some high highs and low lows. The 60s sets are grouped much closer together. There aren’t any amazing sets, and there aren’t really any terrible ones. Just lots of okay-ish sets. There is one set in particular that is considered to be iconic, but I’ve never quite agreed.

With all that being said, this was a very difficult list to put together. There just isn’t a whole lot of separation. Anyway, on with the list!

#10 – 1967 Topps

I’ve never quite understood why the White Sox lettering is purple. And I’ve never been a fan of the facsimile autograph. Still, this isn’t a terrible looking set. It’s thoroughly mediocre. It does have a decent checklist, though there are no notable rookie cards. There is a Tommie Agee Topps Rookie Cup card, which is cool I guess.

#9 – 1963 Topps

The only thing this set has going for it is how colorful it is. It really isn’t a very appealing design. It would honestly probably be better without the little round image in the corner. Replace that with a cool Sox logo and it might be better. Still wouldn’t be good, mind you. Decent checklist, and Dave DeBusschere and Al Weis rookie cards. The Weis card is especially notable, as he shares it with Pete Rose.

#8 – 1968 Topps

Another 60s Topps set, another mediocre design. Is this supposed to be some kind of fabric? One thing I’m definitely missing from the 50s sets is the Sox logo. Another solid checklist, but I think every 60s set had a decent checklist. No notable rookie cards, though the Cisco Carlos rookie may have seemed like a big deal heading into the 1968 season.

#7 – 1969 Topps

I’m having such a hard time writing this list… there is nothing interesting to say about these boring designs! At least this set has a clean look, which is the only reason it ranks this high. Another decent checklist, including Carlos May, Bill Melton, and Ed Herrmann rookie cards. I do wish Carlos May was alone on his rookie card.

#6 – 1966 Topps

The other thing that is getting tiresome about this sets is the photography. It’s all headshots and spring training poses. Were they not capable of action photography or something? I should have used the Jack Lamabe card for this image. Who could forgot that man’s eyebrows? Anyway, another solid checklist with no prominent rookie cards.

#5 – 1965 Topps

The best part of this set is undoubtedly the little pennant with the Winged Sox logo. The rest of the design is bland, but the pennant saves it. Another decent checklist, featuring Bob Locker and Ken Berry rookie cards.

#4 – 1964 Topps

I’ve always been drawn towards this set, and I have no earthly idea why. Maybe the teal soothes me? For whatever reason, I really like the White Sox text across the top. Nice checklist, with Don Buford as the most notable rookie card. There are three really nice looking Topps Rookie Cup cards here: Al Weis, Pete Ward, and Gary Peters.

#3 – 1962 Topps

Definitely the most iconic set of the 1960s. Most people would probably have this first. I do like it, though for whatever reason I’ve never loved it. I almost put this in second place, but for whatever reason I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Another nice checklist, with Joel Horlen and Floyd Robinson rookie cards.

#2 – 1961 Topps

Like the 1964 set, I can’t really explain why I like this set. For whatever reason, this is the set I most associate with the 1959 era Sox team that I love so much. I do like the multiple colors at the bottom, though I do wish there was a Sox logo present. This set has a wonderful checklist, though there are no notable rookie cards.

#1 – 1960 Topps

The 1960 and 1961 sets are neck and neck for me, mostly because of the checklists. I do like the 1960 horizontal design. I like how colorful it is, and I obviously like the Winged Sox logo. There is a great checklist here, with J.C. Martin and Gary Peters rookie UER cards.

Ranked: 1950s Topps Sets

Hello, and welcome to the first post in my Ranked series. This series will allow me to rank various things that relate to the Chicago White Sox. I’m one of those weirdos that loves making lists and ranking things, so I am looking forward to this!

We start with Topps sets from the 1950s. Eventually I will rank all of the decades, which will culminate in a post ranking the 10 best Topps sets of all time.

Mostly I’m focusing on the design of the cards. I am also considering things like the presence of iconic rookie cards, and the overall Sox checklist in a particular set. I definitely prefer larger team sets!

Enough of my blathering, on with the list!

#9 – 1958 Topps

Definitely the least visually interesting of the 1950s sets, with only two other sets really in competition for the bottom spot. I’m really not into the yellow backgrounds. No particularly notable cards. Does contain a few Sox legends, such as Luis Aparicio and Billy Pierce, but many of the 50s sets have those guys.

#8 – 1955 Topps

My least favorite of the “vintage sized” sets. Mostly because of the bland backgrounds. The following year’s set would do this same concept much better. No notable cards, and a terribly small checklist. Now I’m having second thoughts about putting this ahead of 1958. At least that set has a good checklist.

#7 – 1954 Topps

Basically the vertical equivalent of the 1955 set, though it uses photos instead of art. I have 1954 and 1955 basically tied. Very similar design, and small, poor checklist. 1954 gets the nod because it came first, and has a few more cards in the team set. Nothing especially notable, though.

#6 – 1951 Topps (Red Backs and Blue Backs)

Definitely stands out amongst all of the Topps sets. It’s interesting that they went from the smaller size of these cards to the much larger size of the 1952-1956 sets, and then settled on something inbetween. These are very colorful and fun. The set is this low because it has such a small checklist, though it does feature this Billy Pierce rookie card.

#5 – 1959 Topps

For whatever reason, I feel like this is a pretty iconic set. I do like how colorful it is, though I wish the cards were divided up more evenly among the different colors. Most of the Sox cards are red. It also has a very good checklist, with a few notable rookie cards. Johnny Callison, Norm Cash, and Johnny Romano all have rookies here.

#4 – 1956 Topps

The top 4 of this list are head and shoulders above the rest of the decade as far as I’m concerned. This set features some beautiful, colorful art, and has a solid checklist, including one of the most iconic White Sox rookie cards of all time, the beautiful Luis Aparicio pictured here.

#3 – 1953 Topps

This set features the most beautiful art ever featured on Topps cards, in my opinion. If this set had a better checklist or an iconic rookie card, it might be able to move up the list. I do like the Jim Rivera rookie that is here, though.

#2 – 1957 Topps

Probably my favorite design of the 1950s. It has such a clean look, and features the best photography of the decade, by far. 1957 has an excellent checklist featuring several legendary Sox players, as well as Earl Battey and Jim Landis rookies. It’s only the iconic status of the final set on the list that keeps 1957 from the top spot.

#1 – 1952 Topps

Quite possibly the most iconic sports card set of all time. This set has some beautiful images, a clean design, and a solid checklist. There is no Mantle here, but there is a gorgeous Minnie Minoso rookie card. It would have been almost ridiculous to put any other set at #1.