Plain Ugly Baseball Cards
Tough-Guy Ugly Baseball (Mostly) Cards
Ill-Conceived Baseball Cards
Funny/Happy/Goofy Baseball Cards
Return of the Funny/Happy/Goofy Cards
Funny/Happy/Goofy Football Cards
Non-Intimidating Baseball Cards
Non-Intimidating Baseball Cards Part 2
The Bushy Brow Look Is In Baseball Cards
Plain Cool Baseball Cards
Plain Cool Baseball Cards Part 2
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Dave Winfield

That card I ended with on the last set brought this one to mind of big Dave Winfield. That same up-shot photo style coming from below makes him appear even taller and larger than life. Not only did they capture a cool pose of him swinging the bat but the lighting or colorization is such that it imparts a mysteriously mythical quality to our hitter. And I guess it adds to the coolness that he's in his original quirky Padres colors and not the pinstripes in which we are accustomed to seeing him donning. It just always seemed like there was a lot about this card that set it apart form the rest. I hope I was able to explain it. A picture is worth a 1000 words anyway.

Wes Westrum

Manager cards were a lot of fun. Topps did a lot of stuff like having our field generals look or do something authoritative, yea 'managerial'. So we have old Wes here exhorting his hapless mid-sixties Mets. Shouting out admonishments and laudations alike he molds these youngsters into the champions of tomorrow with his unswerving devotion and singularity of purpose. No kidding though!.... He handed over this team, unsuccessful yet brimming with potential, to the great Gil Hodges (unless you count the 11 game interim manager Salty Parker) who in a few short years won it all with the '69 'Amazing Mets'.

Harmon Killebrew

This was the best shot ever capturing gentle giant Harmon Killebrew. He really appeared larger than life to me on this card. Like he's coming out of the card. It's a close-up but you have a pretty full card of him swinging and most of the bat is there and everything. I didn't feel threatened since he's maybe kinda smiling actually. Oh how I wish Killebrew and Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat and the Twins gang could have won that game 7 of the W.S. in '65 against the Dodgers. Oh those guys deserved rings. But of course they ran into the great Sandy Koufax and he shut 'em out that day. End of story. Nothing against the Dodgers really but they were National League and being a Sox fan, we saw the American League Twins a lot and we knew those guys. A few years later in '67 when they had Dean Chance and Rod Carew to boot, they almost beat out our beloved Yaz-led Cardiac Kids for the pennant.

Pete Rose

Here's the coolest Pete Rose card ever. He's looking over his shoulder and is like, 'Hey, you wanna take a picture fine. I ain't got time to pose and smile for you or nuttin', I'm busy watching dis game from my post here. At least I flipped up my sunglasses. What else ya want?' I imagined a Dineroesque kind of angry swagger. Perhaps because the Big Red Machine of which he was a main cog had taken care of my Red Sox in 7 games the previous fall in the '75 W.S. I mean they had won 108 friggin' games! We took 'em to the limit but they proved a little too tough. Then they SWEPT the Yankees (albeit pre-Reggie) the next year for cripes sakes! They did intimidate me.

Ken Griffey Sr.

Another assassin in the Cincy attack was the super-slick graceful Ken Griffey Sr. Much like his son everything seemed to flow effortlessly with this guy. And since it was easy to forget him deadly as he was amidst all the other big shots on that team, that made him still cooler. This was among my favorites since it seemed so different than the rest of the Reds cards that year. Maybe it was the choice of border colors against all the red in the picture. Topps varied the borders throughout the 1975 set so only so many had that orange top/brown bottom thing going. And now that I think of it the shot must have reminded me of the fabled Roberto Clemente 1971 card from the previous page. So you see the '75 Griffey was cool in a bunch of different ways.

Johnny Bench

Sticking with the Big Red Machine alums, I always thought this 1971 Johnny Bench card was very cool. I don't know why but for some reason he just LOOKS like an MVP. You almost EXPECT to flip the card over and see huge stats like 40+ homers and 140+ ribbies. It just makes sense. It couldn't be any other way. Some may be surprised I didn't include the well-known 1973 action shot in the following (action-shot cards) section. Admittedly it is a cool shot showing the baseball whizzing down into his glove as he approaches the dugout. Very unique for its time. The problem is that his back is facing us completely and you don't really see Johnny at all. Not good enough for the Misakman. But fear not, his 1974 card where he's hitting had a very high coolness quotient and merited inclusion.

Bill Melton

Similar to the Bench card above (compare poses) is the Bill Melton from the same year. He doesn't have quite the lofty numbers Bench has when you flip the card over, but nonetheless he's got solid numbers. You get 30+ homers and 90+ ribbies. There are several players throughout the years who have put up similar numbers like Bill but also never quite make it to the vaunted 100 RBI plateau either....yes, those of the Meltonian school. (I coined that myself.) Enrolled there are such near-luminaries as Jim Ray Hart, Bobby Murcer, Von Hayes, Pete O'Brien, Dusty Baker, Leon Durham and Geoff Jenkins among others. Anyway, I think part of the charm of this card also comes from the old-fashioned (retro) uniform and cap. They should have never changed to the much louder red that Dick Allen was forced to wear once he got to ChiTown's South Side.

Bruce Bochte

The '75 Bruce Bochte rookie card had a distinctive aura that definitely made it stand out from the rest of the set. It's a good job by the photographer since the shot is very close-up yet he gets a lot of the player who stikes a cool pose to boot. The card has a certain haziness and they give Bruce that ruddy glow of youth. A definite anomaly in my book, it's a throwback to the vintage cards of the early fifties. Our young batsman by the way, not content to dwell for eternity among the Meltonians, leapt beyond that sect with his 100+ RBI campaign for the Seattle Mariners in '79. Thusly he was initiated into the Olivetians branch (Punsters! I know you caught that one!), no not the famous order of monks but those with healthy stats like Tony Oliva with the main criteria being 100+ RBI but less than 110.

Rich Allen

Richie Allen was cool anyway. I mean he had the whole thing going with the glasses and fro...before Reggie. A real hip cat, he marched to the beat of his own drummer as they say and seemed to fluster managements enough that he would frequently be moved along to another town. It's weird to look at his lifetime stats and see all these 90-100 RBI seasons for different teams knowing he wasn't around in the free agent era. We're used to journeyman sluggers now...Joe Carter, Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield etc....but when you see all the different cities listed on the back of a mid-sixties to mid-seventies guy's card, you know he must have been pissing some people off! Anyway, the same phenomenon that I mentioned with the Lou Brock card in the previous section is in evidence's just plain odd to see Richie Allen in Dodger blue. You just don't associate it with him. It's usually some type of red he's wearing...Phils, White Sox (early '70s before they changed uniform colors yet again), even the Cardinals with whom a spent a little time but this blue here causes a double-take. Plus this, the only Dodger card he ever had, was a high number card so somewhat rare making it even more strange and wonderful. Not many kids ever even saw this one. Then of course there's the whole coolness of the setting and pose. Looking high up at him he's smiling away like some Jolly Blue Giant just chilling in the on deck circle trying out one of his huge bats. There's just so much going on with this card propelling it into Misakman's super-cool echelon. Oh man I love it. Well let's move on before I experience sensory overload.

J.C. Martin

Speaking of the Amazing Mets of '69 (see Wes above), that reminds me of one of their catchers, J.C Martin. Definitely not a star, he nevertheless gets the star treatment in this section due to the cool 1971 card. I don't know what it was with Topps that year but they sometimes did strange things with their tinting. Remember a few of the ghostly white 1971 cards I used early on in the Funny Baseball Cards section? Well here you have kind of the opposite extreme. Here it is such that the subject seems shadowy and mysterious. Almost like he's sporting camouflage paint like they do in the war movies when the soldiers are lurking in the jungle or forest. He could be a Bond or Batman villain in disguise as a ballplayer. Perhaps Topps was trying to be edgy, trying to break boundaries with a different moody kind of baseball card. Topps-Noir? In none of his other cards previous or subsequent does our diamond king appear to be particularly swarthy. Anyway, the fact that as a kid the cool shot must have reminded me of the Bench and Melton cards (see above also) didn't hurt. Adding to the myth, it was a limited circulation high number card so not only looked rare but indeed was rare Not only that there was some kind of nobility factor going. Always brought to mind maybe a young Lyndon Baines Johnson. So it seemed irreverent to play flippies with the other kiddies with this particular card and maybe dent the corners. Maybe a government man with a dark suit and big hat would swoop down and take me away from my parents forever if I had a lapse and did so thus dishonoring the office of the presidency. That sounds pretty Film-Noir now. I'm all over the place.

Mack Jones

Then there's Mack Jones. What a cool name to start with. It's a pretty cool shot too. This older kid from around the way told me that Mack Jones was indeed 'The Mack' from the trend-setting early '70s Blax-ploitation movie. I was inclined to believe him since he had never lied to me before and swore up and down on his cub scout's honor. I mean he was even wearing the friggin' blue uniform and had more merit badges than me and was aiming to advance up to Boy Scouts too. If I couldn't trust him who could I trust? And after all, his nickname 'Mack The Knife' from the late fifties classic song by Bobby Darin hinted at some kind of underworld connection didn't it? Well, The Misakman always took his baseball very seriously even as a little tyke (Misakboy? I guess it didn't have the right ring to it) and nevertheless sought to corroborate this story. Anyway, after exhaustive research studying the backs of all his previous cards, I found nothing to suggest that Mack Jones currently moonlighted as or ever had been a big-time pimpin' drug-dealin' gun-totin' fancy-dressin' bad dude gangster a la Fred Ward (a real-life hustler) or Max Julien (simply an actor) both from the movie. Now I knew the kid would say Topps was whitewashing the truth to protect their name but I could tell from the dates and places in his bio that Mack couldn't be the same guy. It just didn't fit. Well I hope that fibbing fiend found his comeuppance and got scalped by wild Apaches or mauled by a grizzly bear on his next campout. Either that or at least got a tummy ache eating too many roasted marshmallows.

Bert Campaneris

Charlie Finley, owner of the Oakland, Athletics a while back, was always one for interesting and colorful and sometimes off-the-wall ideas. Just Look at this wild uniform he came up with. Leadoff man extraordianire Bert Campaneris is enveloped in a sea of green (and yellow) here between his uniform and cap, the ballpark grass, the leafy wall and yes even....palm trees beyond the park! Then the border of the card complements this symphony of color with even more green and yellow. There's just enough white in the uniform and the border of the card to give it at least some balance. Bert's head is in sharp contrast and seems to pop out of the card at you from amidst this strange setting which may be from the Land Of Oz or perhaps Willie Wonka Land. I don't believe anyone would purposefully wear a shirt of that ultra-flourescent yellow no matter how un-fashion conscious. Well yes, maybe the guy at the road construction site flagging vehicles but that's just so he won't get run over. Who was giving Chuck fashion advice? Night fishermen? Bike-riding teams? Anyway, the card is just plain cool. Bert does his part and has a good stance going and has his game face on but the it's the wild colors that carry the day and put this card on the Misakman Coolest list. I know MLB shot him down but I did like that bright orange baseballs for night games proposal Finley had...and I still say Vida Blue should have agreed to let him call him True Blue...and well we could go on all day with Charlie Finley ideas that never were.