Tuesday, July 22, 2014
My custom 1978 Molitor improves on Topps
As I mentioned in my posting of July 18, I had one more 1978 Topps-style Brewers card on my drawing board. Here's my take on a '78T Paul Molitor.
Many of you know that Paul Molitor did have a card in the "real" 1978 Topps issue. He was one of four players pictured on card #707 Rookie Shortstops, the most valuable card in the set.
Topps also produced a handful of team sets in 1978 for distribution at Burger King outlets in each team's home area. The sets for the Astros, Rangers, Tigers and Yankees.
The Burger King cards were printed some time after the regular Topps cards. They use the same basic format as the Topps cards, except the backs are renumbered 1-22 and, in each team set, there are a number of cards that have different player pictures on front. In some cases, there are cards for players who did not appear with those teams in the regular set. Some cards have significant photo cropping differences from the Topps version. And some Burger King cards give players who earlier appeared in the four-in-one rookie cards their own card.
While Burger King did not produce a Milwaukee Brewers team set in 1978, this custom card is what such a card might have looked like.
Don't be perplexed by the "SS" position designation. Molitor was brought to Milwaukee after one years in the minors when Robin Yount announced that he was retiring from baseball to pursue a career as a pro golfer.
Molitor opened the 1978 season as the Brewers shortstop. He played the first 24 games of his big league career at short. Upon Yount's return to the field on May 16, Molitor moved over to second base, displacing Lenn Sakata, who was sent down. Molitor played just a handful of games at shortstop through the end of the season.
You know, now that I think on it, there may be one more 1978 Burger King Brewers card in my future. I just remembered that after debuting on a Rookie Infielders card in 1977 Topps, Jim Gantner did not have a card in 1978 Topps.