Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Ah, the multiplayer rookie card (MRC). When it works, it’s a thing of beauty. When it doesn’t, you curse the fibrous pulp on which it’s printed.

Topps introduced the concept of the MRC in 1962. Expansion was making it impractical to represent all the new players, and here was an ingenious way to fit some of the greener guys into the set.

The initial design followed the floating-head motif that debuted on the 1960 coaches cards. It was crowded, crazy, and kind of cryogenic. And it was gone by 1964.

From 1964 onward, Topps bounced around between headshots in portrait and landscape layouts, often employing both in the same year. The 1973 MRCs are exclusively landscape, and (as in 1962) native to the high-number series.

OK, the elephant in the room with this particular card is that it’s actually an O-Pee-Chee— hence the “Troisiemes-buts debutants en 1973” fol de rol.

I find these OPC cards endearing in part because of their bilingual joie de vivre, and in part because the ragged edges make it look like they were cut from a sheet with a rusty butter knife.

It’s hard to think of a rookie card with a better pairing than the Schmidt and Cey on this one, but here are some competitors that spring to mind:

1968 Koosman/Ryan
1971 Baylor/Baker
1972 Cooper/Fisk
1978 Molitor/Trammell

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