Thursday, August 6, 2009

Topps Cards That Never Were: 1976 Harmon Killebrew

Well, it looks like the Aaron cards were a hit, and I must admit that I love making these custom "Topps" cards. I had some good feedback from followers, including one who thinks Topps should do inserts or a subset to honor those HOFers who got the boot from the set in their final season.

Another thing I thought of, is I wonder how many kids missed out on the final stats for these HOFers? Nowadays we have Baseball Reference and encyclopedias to tell us their final stats, but back then, I would imagine that baseball cards were the "Baseball Reference" of their day. I don't doubt almanacs existed, but I wouldn't think many kids would have access to those.

For me, Harmon Killebrew was always a guy in my Sports Illustrated Superstar Baseball game that struck out a lot and hit a lot of dingers. I think his average in our league was below the Mendoza line. Imagine my surprise when I landed a 75 Topps card of him and saw he had well over 550 homers! Truly awesome considering his era. He's 9th on the HR list with 573 (6th if you go by the asterisk list).

So, without further ado, here is another 500 HR club member Topps disgracefully cast aside in his final season. The Killer! I think it would have been awesome to have a Harmon Killebrew card in a Royals uniform. He will always be known as a Senator/Twin, but his Royal's card seems to fit him.
By all accounts, The Killer is a standup man, so I wish Topps gave him his final due.

This card was really hard to make, not because of the template, but because I could only find two shots of Killer in a Royals uniform. One shot was from an existing card (which excludes it from consideration), and the other photo reminds me of the 1972 Topps with his gaze into the distant horizon...

Akin to a 72 Nostril Shot

Here is Killer’s line from 1975 in 76 Topps format:

1975 Royals 106 312 25 62 13 0 14 44 .199

Little doubt that .199 average led to the end of Killer's career at the age of 39. I wonder if he had hit a little better, if we'd have another 600 club member. I wish it was so.
NOTE: After reading a Punk Rock Paint comment in a Bad Wax blog, I will now give reference to where the pictures came from. This photo is from Sports Memorabilia.


Matt Runyon said...

Ooh--Superstar Baseball. I played it a lot in the mid 70s. Today I can tell which cards got a lot of use by the wear. Cobb, Ruth, Wagner were cards that have a lot of wear. Averill, Wheat, Killebrew don't have near as much wear. Fun game!

Captain Canuck said...

you scared me.... I've been trying to complete this set for over a year. I saw the picture in my blogroll and freaked out thinking "I had no idea about that card!!!"
Once I clicked on it and saw the title... I calmed down a little.

Dan said...

I really like the idea for this series. There should have been more tribute style cards for guys who played the previous year and retired in the offseason (like Nolan Ryan 1994 Donruss). I'm interested to see who else was missed.

LW said...

Of all the cards I "liquidated" on eBay several years ago, the biggest bidding wars were on Killibrew cards! They almost always sold at higher than predicted value (sometimes double or triple).

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