Friday, September 11, 2009

1971 - I Have no Snappy Comment for this.

Ah, 1971. The year the NASDAQ opened, the Libertarian party was founded, Disney World opened, women in Switzerland got the right to vote, and the London Bridge opened in Havasu. Oh, and the Angels played some baseball.

One thing I do know: Topps released a pretty cool set of baseball cards that year. With its black borders, understated design and lots of horizontal cards, 1971 remains a favorite of collectors.

1971 wasn't a spectacular year for the Halos. To start the team's second decade, Lefty Phillips managed the team to a 76-86 record, finishing 4th in the AL West. 3B Ken McMullen's 21 homers and 68 RBIs, and 2B Sandy Alomar's 39 stolen bases and .260 batting average led the offense.

On the pitching side, Andy Messersmith went 20-13 with a 2.99 ERA and 179 strikeouts. The pitching staff was great, but the offense was anemic.

1971 was the first major change in the Angels' uniforms since they began play in 1961. The basic colors remained the same, but the fancy script letters on the jerseys and the halos on the hats were replaced with a boring font and a lower-case a with a small halo at the corner. A small change to this uniform in 1972 would end up being the most iconic Angels uniform ever.

That last card there is a recent addition.  The 1971 Jim Spencer Scratch-Off was a thorn in my side for a while.  I've had the 1970 Jim Spencer Scratch-Off for years, but every time I saw a scan of something calling itself a 1971 Spencer, it was the exact same image.  I didn't know if the '71 really existed, if people kept mislabeling the pics or what.  It wasn't until I found the Topps Archive blog that I found out what the deal is - if you open up the Scratch-Offs from different years, they have different colors on the inside.  Once I knew that, I had the '71 in my hands the next week, which gave me all of the inserts from 1961 through 1998.  (Would be through 2002 if it weren't for those dadburn '99 Nolan Ryan autos.  Grr...)

1971 Topps Angels Checklist

15 - Andy Messersmith
43 - Steve Kealey
61 - AL Batting Leaders Alex Johnson Angels, Carl Yastrzemski Red Sox, Tony Oliva twins
67 - AL ERA Leaders Diego Segui A's, Jim Palmer Orioles, Clyde Wright Angels
78 - Jim Spencer
105 - Tony Conigliaro
152 - Angels Rookies-Lloyd Allen-Winston Llenas
174 - Dave LaRoche
205 - Gerry Moses
240 - Clyde Wright
256 - Tony Gonzalez
279 - Lefty Phillips
318 - Rudy May
360 - Jim Fregosi
401 - Tom Murphy
421 - John Stephenson
442 - California Angels-Team Card
466 - Ken Berry
485 - Ken McMullen
508 - Roger Repoz
526 - Ray Jarvis
559 - AL Rookie Pitchers-Terry Cox Angels, Bill Gogolewski Senators, Gary Jones Yankees
561 - Syd O'Brien
590 - Alex Johnson
614 - Billy Cowan
631 - Eddie Fisher
645 - Jim Maloney SP
657 - Jose Azcue
664 - Rookie Pitchers SP-Archie Reynolds Angels, Bob Reynolds Expos, Ken Reynolds Phillies SP
666 - Gene Brabender SP
676 - Tommie Reynolds
686 - Chico Ruiz SP
697 - Rickey Clark SP
707 - Fred Lasher
718 - Billy Wynne
736 - Mel Queen SP
745 - Sandy Alomar SP

Topps Coins
TCI4 - Jim Spencer
TCI28 - Sandy Alomar
TCI60 - Clyde Wright
TCI84 - Alex Johnson
TCI112 - Andy Messersmith
TCI136 - Jim Fregosi
TCI142 - Tony Conigliaro

Topps Scratch-Offs
20 - Jim Spencer

regular cards: 37
inserts: 8


  1. Love the black borders on this set. I had a 71 ExMt Steve Garvey (rc?) that was maybe the best card in my collection for quite some time.

  2. Yeah, '71 was The Garv's rookie card (back when he still played third). Took me a while to track one of those down.