By Drew Pelto aka *censored*

Egad man! How did this set get so high of a ranking?

Yes, ninth worst is high in this case. Remember all the sets I’ve mentioned that fell victim to bad timing? This is yet another one, with a sorry design on top of it. 1970 was the first year of Topps without Mickey Mantle since the 1955 set that was competing against Bowman’s last stand. Considering Mantle was THE icon of Topps baseball cards from the beginning (and following his death on into the present), losing him was a huge blow. Granted, 1970 did still have the big names– Clemente, Mays, Aaron, Jackson, Bench, Rose, Seaver, you know the group. But when you lose out on a guy like Mantle, someone needs to replace him. And in 1970, the lone rookie worth noting was Thurman Munson.

And this is why the 1970 Topps set fails. While Munson had a good, albeit tragically brief career, he’s the only new notable to this set. If it hadn’t been for him, the crown for best rookie card would fall to John McNamara, Buck Martinez, Bill Lee, Bill Russell, or Pedro Borbon. It’s a sad state of affairs when the second best would be a .220 lifetime hitting catcher, a manager with a sub-.500 record, a pitcher who was just as famous (and perhaps more famous) for being a massive hippie as he was for anything he did on the diamond, a star basketball player who left the game after 11 NBA Championships to become a mediocre yet long-tenured shortstop (wait, what?), or a reliever who was likely more famous for his name being used in Airplane! when Ted Striker realizes his thoughts are echoing.

So the player crop was possibly the worst in a set since 1955, a set that lacked Mantle, Campanella, Ford, Martin, Kiner, Musial, Feller, Reese, and several others due to contracts with Bowman. How about the design?

I will give kudos to Topps for at least trying something new. Aside from the 1962 wood borders and the 1968… umm, tweed, I guess, borders, Topps had always gone with white borders. I mentioned my disdain for colored borders in several previous articles, but only because Topps used them each year from 1998 through 2003, and it got old. At least this set and the two previous non-white bordered sets were spaced apart.

However, as smart as it may have been to try something new, gray was not a good choice.  It’s bland, almost depressing.  What, was all the colored ink going toward the war effort in Southeast Asia? I guess it kind of fits in with the Nixon Administration though– bland and kind of constipated looking. I also really don’t like the cursive font, which oddly enough they used again on the backs of the 1970 football set. And while the card backs were finally on a white card stock instead of varying shades of gray and gray-influenced colors, the yellow and blue clashes a bit much for my liking.  Granted, I’m an Ohio State fan so I hate anything in Michigan Weaselrine colors.

"Hail to those flies and maggots..."

Even the photos are boring. Lots of generic head shots all throughout. Now before the 1970’s, action shots were few and far between. But there are– or should be– a lot of other options than just a plain head shot repeated on each and every card. Plus, many of the images just feel off in some way. A tad blurry perhaps, maybe not well lit, I can’t really figure it out. But the cards just are not that pleasing to look at with a lame design and poor photo choice and quality.

Variety: Not a strong suit for this set.

One thing I do like about this set, a matter of sheer good luck for once, is that it is the only one to show the Seattle Pilots. I know, kind of an odd reason to like it, but take your victory where you can get it, 1970 Topps. I’m a sucker for throwback jerseys and such, but yet I own NOTHING with the Seattle Pilots on it. Not even a card. Someday, I hope to own a Pilots hat and a Montreal Expos jersey. Maybe both for both teams. Such are the dreams of a man with no disposable income…

Wrong Pilots! Bloody hell... (card created by Punk Rock Paint)

1970 Topps was another rather forgettable set. The loss of Mantle, an amazingly weak group of newcomers, really bad photos, and a bland design make it one of the ten worst, which I still feel is overrating it. Bland is better than ugly, but it’s still not good.

About the Author: Despite hating the color on baseball card borders, Drew Pelto owns a ton of gray shirts in various shades, sizes, and styles and is wearing gray socks as he writes. He currently lives in Texas with his wife and several cats. Sidney, their year-old orange tabby, fell asleep on his keyboard, adding “aefsghsdfhgd.” Drew likes writing these autobiographical closers because he can refer to himself in the third person.