When going through my old baseball cards, it is important to remember that the 1978 Topps series was the first set of baseball cards that I actively remember buying and going through.
In someways they were not only my education to the players and faces of baseball but the teams as well.
I grew up in New England and was exposed mainly to the Red Sox and the Yankees. I knew they existed. I also knew a team was called the Mets and another one called the Phillies. OK. But as I opened up packet of cards after packets of cards, I learned of new teams.
The Expos? The Mariners? The Padres? The Indians? The Tigers? The Braves? It seemed like I got a Texas Ranger in every pack.
For whatever reason, the A’s instantly fascinated me. First of all the name sounded weird and seeing A’s listed on the back of a baseball card also looked odd. There were no “Athletics” mentioned. Just A’s.
I knew who Reggie Jackson was and I assumed he was a Yankee his whole life since he basically WAS the Yankees. But wait. He was on the A’s? Really?
Where the heck was Oakland? Why were they A’s? And they played in funky green or yellow uniforms? There was something other worldly about them.
I had no clue that they were a 3 time World Champion just a few years before. I had no concept of Oakland having a Hall of Fame roster and playing in 5 straight Octobers before tearing the roster to the ground. The A’s I was introduced to was a mismatch of veterans nobody wanted, rookies too young to make any other team and Vida Blue.
There were a 98 loss team playing for fewer than 500,000 fans for the entire season in 1977.
In 1978, the A’s switched managers from Bobby Winkles to Jack McKeon and lost 100 games but at least drew 526,000 to the ballpark.
What still makes me love this team picture is the coordination. Yellow Jersey next to Green Jersey. Mixing up the colors makes for a striking look for a team that didn’t do much striking on their own.
What can I say? It made quite an impression on me back in 1978 as I was still learning.