Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1977 Topps 49er Team Set

One of my collecting goals in 2015 is to work on my collection of Vintage San Francisco 49ers.  A few years back I picked up a few team sets but most weren't vintage.  I have picked up a few vintage singles here and there but didn't have much focus.  I have created a checklist for cards in the 50s, 60s and 70s and have decided that is where I will focus.  I also decided I am going to steer away from team issues sets and oddball sets and focus on the major releases which are primarily Bowman, Philadelphia and Topps.

I became a fan of the 49ers in the late 1970s with their pick up of OJ Simpson being the catalyst.  I have heard the names of many of the legends but want this quest to teach me a little more about the players from this time period.

One thing I haven't decided is how to share my pick ups in this blog.  I have thought that maybe I will wait until I finish a team set to keep the number of posts down and have a searchable view of each team set as my project progresses.  The major downside to that approach is that it will be a while before I can share some really nice cards, particularly from the 50s and 60s as I acquire them.  Being the procrastinator I am, I decided to delay that decision and show a team set from 1977 that I bought in an eBay auction.

 I will start with the checklist, it shows the 10 players featured in the team set.  With a set of 528 cards, I have to assume the Niners were under represented but that is to be expected of a team that missed the playoffs in 1976 with very little star power.

The beauty of the checklist is the back.  It shows their team leaders for the past 8 years.  When you look at the meager yardage of their top passers and rushers and the low number of catches, it makes me believe the offense wasn't helping them win too many games.  I know that today's numbers are inflated but these statistics pale in comparison to their contemporaries.  Also they have 5 different leading passers and 3 rushers in the past 5 years.

Note the awesome deal to get the team checklist cards for only 50 cents and 1 wrapper.   Wish I would have done that back when I was 6.

I decided to show these by number and group them together.  11 different scans would have been tough to make happen but the cards aren't super fancy and come out fine in this layout.

One of the exciting parts about this 49er team set quest is getting a chance to become familiar with the different designs Topps used with their football sets.  I enjoy this design with the team name in a banner displayed prominently atop the card, the position being displayed in a little red football and the player name in smaller font and in all caps.  It is nice to see a Niner as an All-Pro with the banner below the name block on Defensive End Tommy Hart.

 As I mentioned, one of the reasons I am pursuing these cards is to get to know the players before my era better. The backs of these cards are great!  Some good information about each player, stats with the players that make sense and even a quick blurb about where they went to college and an accomplishment from that time in their lives.  I found it amazing that Tommy Hart averaged 15 QB sacks in his first 7 years (this was before the sack was an official stat).  Another thing that stood out was that Gene Washington made 4 Pro Bowls and was a 1000 yard receiver only once, times have changed.

Here is the second half of the team set:

This marks Jim Plunkett's first card with the 49ers.  I did a little research and found that the Niners gave up 3 #1 draft picks, 1 #2 draft pick and QB Tom Owen to get Plunkett - that is a pretty steep price.  I am not sure who the Patriots selected with those picks but it didn't work out great for the 49ers.  I really like the 1,000 Yarder designation on Delvin Williams' card.  In later sets Topps had inserts to celebrate 1,000 yards but I really like the inclusion on the base card.

In addition to Williams' 1,000 yard season, Wilbur Jackson had a solid campaign with almost 800 yards.  Jackson was the first African-American football player to be offered a scholarship to attend the University of Alabama.  I saw a great show that showed how a game between USC and Bama helped integrate football in the south.  I remember getting cards of the Mike-Mayers when I was young and being puzzled by the hyphenated last name.  That seems to be something more common today.

I have picked up some other cards that and even a couple of older team sets that I will show off soon.  My goal of 100 different Vintage 49ers by year end 2015 seems very achievable if I stick to my 2015 collecting focus.  This team set was a lot of fun to go through.


  1. It was funny to see Spurrier as the passing leader in 72. Loved him as the Gators ball coach, but hate him him now, LOL. Also loved that Elam O2 mask.

  2. I love the '77 Topps football set above all other football sets. You started with the right one!

  3. I am trying to do the same with the Jets. Grabbing more vintage and trying to put together team sets. Namath will be pricey, but I think I can find some deals.

    I love vintage cards. Brings me back to when I first started collecting cards in the late 70's. Good luck with building your 49'ers sets.

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