Friday, September 25, 2009

Airbrushed Fridays: 1978 O-Pee-Chee #166

As I'd mentioned in a previous post, I've been on a bit of an O-Pee-Chee kick lately. I made a randomly impulsive eBay purchase and ended up with a pile of "pack fresh" 1978 O-Pee-Chee cards. Sadly, there were only two Cardinals in the lot, but it does leave me with plenty of things to talk about and plenty of cards to trade off. This feature will usually have more of an '80s feel, since that era was what I grew up with, but it won't be exclusive to the '80s.

Doug Rader was a long-time Astros third baseman in the '70s. His nickname, if you believe Wikipedia, was The Red Rooster. I mostly remember him from his managerial days (remember - I was an '80s kid.)

Why did Topps airbrush Doug's photo? O-Pee-Chee cards, by and large, started with the Topps template, photo and all, and adapted it to fit their bilingual needs. The card backs are lighter and the stock is different, but aside from the extra French text and differing card number there aren't usually any other significant differences between an O-Pee-Chee card and a Topps card from these days. That's unless, of course, a player was traded in the offseason, in which they get the "NOW WITH TEAM X" treatment and that new team's logo and colors. This isn't one of those cards. And although O-Pee-Chee's sets can be significantly smaller, they always have a healthy dose of Blue Jays and Expos cards, including Doug's card here.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? To make a long story short (oops - I guess you could have skipped the last several paragraph), Topps is to blame for the airbrush job even though this is an O-Pee-Chee card. Topps is to blame for that watercolor-worthy Jays logo on the cap, as well as, well, pretty much everything Doug appears to be wearing. The entire uniform, from the edges of the cap to the neckline and the ruffles in his jersey top appear to be completely drawn... by a kid in junior high, perhaps. A quick glance at the back of the card makes it all okay, however, because "Doug hit Grand-Slammer, 9-29-76." Go Doug!

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