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Category Archives: 1976 Topps

Ty Cobb All Time All Stars – 1974 Topps #346

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Tyrus Raymond “Ty” Cobb (December 18, 1886 – July 17, 1961), nicknamed “The Georgia Peach,” was an American Major League Baseball outfielder. He was born in Narrows, Georgia. Cobb spent 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, the last six as the team’s player-manager, and finished his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. Cobb is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time. In 1936, Cobb received the most votes of any player on the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, receiving 222 out of a possible 226 votes. Cobb is widely credited with setting 90 Major League Baseball records during his career. He still holds several records as of 2011, including the highest career batting average (.366 or .367, depending on source) and most career batting titles with 11 (or 12, depending on source). He retained many other records for almost a half century or more, including most career hits until 1985 (4,189 or 4,191, depending on source), most career runs (2,245 or 2,246 depending on source) until 2001, most career games played (3,035) and at bats (11,429 or 11,434 depending on source) until 1974, and the modern record for most career stolen bases (892) until 1977. He committed 271 errors in his career, the most by any American League outfielder. Cobb’s legacy as an athlete has sometimes been overshadowed by his surly temperament and aggressive playing style, which was described by the Detroit Free Press as “daring to the point of dementia.”
On August 8, 1905, Ty’s mother fatally shot his father. William Cobb suspected his wife of infidelity, and was sneaking past his own bedroom window to catch her in the act; she saw the silhouette of what she presumed to be an intruder, and, acting in self-defense, shot and killed her husband. Mrs. Cobb was charged with murder and then released on a $7,000 recognizance bond. She was acquitted on March 31, 1906. Cobb later attributed his ferocious play to the death of his father, saying, “I did it for my father. He never got to see me play … but I knew he was watching me, and I never let him down.”

Lou Gehrig All Time All Stars – 1976 Topps #341

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Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky. When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift — that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies — that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter — that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body — it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed — that’s the finest I know. So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.
- Henry Louis “Lou” Gehrig at Yankee Stadium, July 4, 1939

Topps 1976 Baseball Trades Checklist

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Tom Seaver 1976 Topps #600

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George Thomas “Tom” Seaver (born November 17, 1944), nicknamed “Tom Terrific” and “The Franchise”, is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He pitched from 1967-1986 for four different teams in his career, but is noted primarily for his time with the New York Mets. During a 20-year career, Seaver compiled 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts, 61 shutouts and a 2.86 earned run average. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the highest percentage ever recorded (98.84%), and has the only plaque at Cooperstown wearing a New York Mets hat. As of 2010, Tom Seaver and Gil Hodges (played for the Mets in 1962-63) are the only Met players to have their jersey numbers retired by the team (Gil Hodges’ number was retired as a manager even though he also played for the Mets). He won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1967, and three NL Cy Young Awards as the league’s best pitcher. Seaver is the Mets’ all-time leader in wins, and is considered by many baseball experts as one of the best starting pitchers in the history of baseball. Seaver was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 7, 1992. He received the highest-ever percentage of votes with 98.84% (on 425 of 430 ballots), higher than Nolan Ryan’s 98.79% (491 of 497), and Ty Cobb’s 98.23% (222 of 226). Reportedly, three of the five ballots that had omitted Seaver were blank, cast by writers protesting the Hall’s decision to make Pete Rose ineligible for consideration. Seaver is the only player enshrined in the Hall of Fame with a Mets cap on his plaque. He was also inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1988, the Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2006.

Mike Schmidt – 1976 Topps #480

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Michael Jack Schmidt (born September 27, 1949) is a Hall of Fame third baseman popularly considered among the greatest third basemen in the history of Major League Baseball. He played his entire career for the Philadelphia Phillies. Schmidt had an unusual batting stance, turning his back somewhat to the pitcher and waving his posterior while waiting for the pitch. By standing far back in the batter’s box, he made it impossible to jam him by pitching inside. Schmidt was one of the best athletes of his time; teammate Pete Rose once said, “To have his body, I’d trade him mine and my wife’s, and I’d throw in some cash.” Schmidt’s best season may have been the strike shortened 1981 season. His 31 home runs were seven more than anyone else in the league. He also led the NL in runs scored, RBIs, total bases and walks, and sett personal highs in batting average, on-base average and slugging average. He won his second consecutive MVP award, this time with 96% of the vote. Injuries to Schmidt’s rotator cuff caused him to miss the last month and a half of the 1988 season. He returned healthy for the 1989 season, however, after a poor start, Schmidt suddenly chose to announce his retirement in San Diego, on May 29. He demonstrated little emotion on the field, and was known as “Captain Cool” by many in Philadelphia sports circles, however, Schmidt surprised many with an emotional, and occasionally tearful, retirement speech. His last game was May 28, 1989, against the San Francisco Giants.

Hank Aaron – 1976 Topps #1


Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron  (born February 5, 1934), nicknamed “Hammer,” “Hammerin’ Hank,” and “Bad Henry,” is a retired American baseball player whose Major League Baseball (MLB) career spanned the years 1954 through 1976. Aaron is widely considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. In 1999, editors at The Sporting News ranked Hank Aaron fifth on their list of “Greatest Baseball Players”. After playing with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League and in the minor leagues, Aaron started his major league career in 1954. In his final season, he was the only remaining and last Negro league baseball player on an active major league roster. He played 21 seasons with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves in the National League, and his last two years (1975–76) with the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League. His most notable achievement was breaking the career home run record set by Babe Ruth. During his professional career, Aaron performed at a consistently high level for an extended period of time. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and is the only player to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times. Aaron made the All-Star team every year from 1955 until 1975 and won three Gold Glove Awards. In 1957, he won the National League Most Valuable Player Award, while that same year, the Braves won the World Series, his one World Series victory during his career. In the second half of the 20th Century, Hank Aaron became the first player to lead the National League in runs, home runs, and runs batted in, and not be named Most Valuable Player. Aaron’s consistency helped him to establish a number of important hitting records during his 23-year career. Aaron holds the MLB records for the most career runs batted in (2,297) and the most career extra base hits (1,477). Hank Aaron is also in the top five for career hits with 3,771 (third) and runs with 2,174, which is tied for fourth with Babe Ruth. He is one of only four players to have at least seventeen seasons with 150 or more hits. He also is in second place in home runs (755) and at-bats (12,364), and in third place in games played (3,298).

Gaylord Perry – 1976 Topps #55


Gaylord Jackson Perry (born September 15, 1938 in Williamston, North Carolina) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He pitched from 1962-1983 for eight different teams in his career. During a 22-year baseball career, Perry compiled 314 wins, 3,534 strikeouts, and a 3.11 earned run average. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. Perry, a five-time All-Star, was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in each league, winning it in the American League in 1972 with the Cleveland Indians and in the National League in 1978 with the San Diego Padres. He is also distinguished, along with his brother Jim, for being the second-winningest brother combination in baseball history—second only to the knuckleballing Niekro brothers, Phil and Joe. While pitching for the Seattle Mariners in 1982, Perry became the fifteenth member of the 300 win club. Despite Perry’s notoriety for doctoring baseballs (throwing a spitball), and perhaps even more so for making batters think he was throwing them on a regular basis – he even went so far as to title his 1974 autobiography Me and the Spitter – he was not ejected for the illegal practice until August 23, 1982, in his 21st season in the majors. Like most pitchers, Perry was not renowned for his hitting ability, and in his sophomore season of 1963, his manager Alvin Dark is said to have joked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before he hits a home run.” There are other variants on the story, but either way, on July 20, 1969, just an hour after the Apollo 11 spacecraft carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, Perry hit the first home run of his career.

George Brett – 1976 Topps #19


George Howard Brett (born May 15, 1953 in Glen Dale, West Virginia), nicknamed “Mullet”, is a former Major League Baseball third baseman, designated hitter, and first baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Kansas City Royals. Brett’s 3,154 career hits are the most by any third baseman in major league history, and 15th all-time. Brett is one of four players in MLB history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, and a career .300 batting average with the others being Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Stan Musial. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. On July 24, 1983, the Royals played the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. In the top of the ninth inning with two out, Brett hit a two-run homer to put the Royals up 5–4. Upon Brett crossing the plate, Yankees manager Billy Martin cited to the umpires a rule that stated that any foreign substance on a bat could extend no further than 18 inches from the knob. The umpires measured the amount of pine tar, a legal substance used by hitters to improve their grip, on Brett’s bat; the pine tar extended about 24 inches. The home plate umpire, Tim McClelland, signaled the player out, ending the game as a Yankees win. An angry Brett charged out of the dugout and was immediately ejected. The Royals protested the game, and American League president Lee MacPhail upheld the protest, reasoning that the bat should have been excluded from future use but the home run should not have been nullified. Amid much controversy, the game was resumed on August 18 from the point of Brett’s home run and ended with a Royals win.

A. L. Home Run Leaders 1975 – 1976 Topps #194


Reginald Martinez “Reggie” Jackson (born May 18, 1946), nicknamed “Mr. October” for his clutch hitting in the postseason with the New York Yankees, is a former American Major League Baseball right fielder. During a 21-year baseball career, he played from 1967-1987 for four different teams. Jackson currently serves as a special advisor to the New York Yankees. He helped win three consecutive World Series titles as a member of the Oakland Athletics in the early 1970s and also helped win two consecutive titles with the New York Yankees. Jackson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.

George Charles Scott, Jr. (born March 23, 1944 in Greenville, Mississippi) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the Boston Red Sox (1966–71, 1977–79), Milwaukee Brewers (1972–76), Kansas City Royals (1979) and New York Yankees (1979). He batted and threw right-handed.

John Claiborn Mayberry(born February 18, 1949, in Detroit, Michigan) is a former Major League Baseball player who played for the Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees from 1968 to 1982. After his retirement, Mayberry spent five years as a coach for the Blue Jays’ farm system, two years as a coach for the Royals, and worked for the Royals’ Community Affairs Department. He was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1996.

Willie McCovey – 1976 Topps #520


Willie Lee McCovey (born January 10, 1938 in Mobile, Alabama), nicknamed “Mac”, “Big Mac”, and “Stretch”, is a former Major League Baseball first baseman. He played nineteen seasons for the San Francisco Giants, and three more for the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics, between 1959 and 1980. He batted and threw left-handed and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986. One of the most intimidating power hitters of his era, McCovey was called “the scariest hitter in baseball” by pitcher Bob Gibson, an assessment with which Reggie Jackson concurred. McCovey’s powerful swing generated 521 home runs, 231 of which he hit in Candlestick Park, the most hit there by any player, and included a home run of Sept. 16, 1966 described as the longest ever hit in that stadium. McCovey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. It was his first year of eligibility and he appeared on 346 of 425 ballots cast (81.4 percent). In 1999, he ranked 56th on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Since 1980, the Giants have awarded the Willie Mac Award to honor his spirit and leadership. The inlet of San Francisco Bay beyond the right field fence of AT&T Park, historically known as China Basin, has been redubbed McCovey Cove in his honor. Across McCovey Cove from the park a statue of McCovey was erected and the land on which it stands named McCovey Point. The Giants retired his uniform number 44, which he wore in honor of Hank Aaron, a fellow Mobile, Alabama native. McCovey was inducted to the Afro Sports Hall of Fame [www.afrosportshall.com ], February 7, 2009 in Oakland, California. The mission of the Afro Sports Hall of Fame is to broaden the public’s understanding of African American/Ethnic history and the role of diversity and   tolerance in the growth of professional sports.

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