top of page
  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Ranking Topps Baseball Card Designs (1970-1979)

by Paul Semendinger


As we wait for the season to begin, I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the old Topps baseball card sets and rank the designs.

Here are the 1970s designs year-by-year:











Now comes the difficult part, ranking the designs. Some thoughts...

I like all of these as they all hold the most special places in my heart - these were the cards I collected as a young fan. Each of these cards were super special.

1970 - I really like this set.

1971 - Ditto.

1972 - Probably the most "out-there" set design. It's cool. It's also not my favorite.

1973 - I like the little position players that are on each card.

1974 - This isn't the greatest design, but I love this set as well.

1975 - Super colorful and bright. Very fun.

1976 - I like the position guys again, but the 1973 images I like better

1977 - A classic design. I like the little pennants.

1978 - I don't love the team name in script.

1979 - Very clean, but it isn't great somehow.



  1. 1970

  2. 1971

  3. 1977

  4. 1975

  5. 1974

  6. 1973

  7. 1978

  8. 1979

  9. 1972

  10. 1976

How do you rank these designs?


Feb 16

With the Yankees/Nike removing the white outline around New York and the sleeve end stripes this year inspired me to conduct research on the Yankees uniforms. Those two elements were added in 1973. Which presents a riddle with the 1974 Gerry Moses card. He only played for the Yankees in 1973, as he was traded to the Tigers on March 19, 1974, but his uniform lacks the 1973 design elements. Were old uniforms used during spring training in 1973?


Mike Whiteman
Feb 16

I like 1978 mostly out of nostalgia - they were my first set I heavily collected as a kid. The 1979 set is also special for me. For my birthday, a friend gave me a WHOLE BOX of 1979 baseball card packs. 36 packs of cards. 36 pieces of that gum. Oh my. Talk about living!


Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Feb 15

I collected from 1970-77, so I know these designs very well. '73 and '76 were the best designs with the colors not being over-used and the position images. I also like '70 (I particularly like the condensed block font for the team name), '74 and '76 -- clean designs that do what you want the cards to do -- convey information in a reasonable-looking design.

'71 was the worst -- those black backgrounds made the cards look funereal, like every player had died, and this was the memorial series. '72 is second-worst -- where are the positions on the face of the card? I mean, sure, I can guess Rob Gardner is a lefty pitcher from the photo. But w…

Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
Feb 16
Replying to

The problem I had with the 1971 cards with the black background is that the black kept wearing off on those cards making the names hard to read.


Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
Feb 15

While I liked the LOOK of the 1971 cards, there was a big problem with that year's series. The "black" would wear off on many of the cards over time, making the name of the player, and his position, hard to read. That is why you there have been no "black background" designs ever, after 1971.

As big as my baseball card collection was, it grew by leaps and bounds after I completed the 4th Grade with an enormous amount of 1972 and 1973 cards. Why? Well, when I completed the 4th Grade, I was the only one in the class with perfect attendance for the entire school year. So for my prize, the teacher gave me every single "confiscat…

dr sem.png

Start Spreading the News is the place for some of the very best analysis and insight focusing primarily on the New York Yankees.

(Please note that we are not affiliated with the Yankees and that the news, perspectives, and ideas are entirely our own.)


Have a question for the Weekly Mailbag?

Click below or e-mail:

SSTN is proudly affiliated with Wilson Sporting Goods! Check out our press release here, and support us by using the affiliate links below:

Scattering the Ashes.jpeg

"Scattering The Ashes has all the feels. Paul Russell Semendinger's debut novel taps into every emotion. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll reexamine those relationships that give your life meaning." — Don Burke, writer at The New York Post

The Least Among Them.png

"This charming and meticulously researched book will remind you of baseball’s power to change and enrich lives far beyond the diamond."

—Jonathan Eig, New York Times best-selling author of Luckiest Man, Opening Day, and Ali: A Life

From Compton to the Bronx.jpg

"A young man from Compton rises to the highest levels of baseball greatness.

Considered one of the classiest baseball players ever, this is Roy White's story, but it's also the story of a unique period in baseball history when the Yankees fell from grace and regained glory and the country dealt with societal changes in many ways."


We are excited to announce our new sponsorship with FOCO for all officially licensed goods!

FOCO Featured:
carlos rodon bobblehead foco.jpg
bottom of page