Interesting card distribution - 1977-78 Topps Hockey
BaltimoreYankee Posts: 2,769 ✭✭✭✭
Well, interesting to me, anyway.... I was thumbing through this small (264 card) set today and I noticed a weird anomaly in how many cards per team were issued. The Kings, Rockies, Barons, Flames, Canucks, Capitals, Maple Leafs and Blues had a paltry 7 player cards each in the set while the other 10 teams had anywhere from 15 to 19 players, averaging 18 players per team.
Can you imagine Topps coming up with a full baseball card set now but only having that small a representation of teams like the Reds, Pirates, Nationals and Athletics?
That’s quite a disparity. A couple of those teams were new, so photography more challenging, but no excuse for teams like the Maple Leafs.
That era of football cards were set up in the same way. Some teams would have 20 plus cards some would have 11.
As a hockey card collector, I have noticed this.
My guess is production costs - number of cards per sheet - number of sheets per set (year).
Probably not a lot/any Star/Popular players on those teams.
The cards were actually made with a much more even distribution per team; however, Topps has a smaller number of cards in the set than the main version, O-Pee-Chee. Some teams just happened to have a higher portion of players within the higher numbered cards as opposed to other teams. For example, the 1977 OPC set has 18 cards in the Maple Leafs team, but lots of them were only in the higher number sequence of 265-396. All the Topps cards were the same card number within the set as the OPC version, so when the higher numbers were omitted for the Topps distribution, the result is as you see it.
What great information and sleuthing...well done and makes perfect sense.
Is this true for Leaf/Donruss too in any sport?
No. Leaf (1985-1988) baseball is a different situation than OPC vs. Topps. For Leaf, they reduced the number of cards relative to Donruss, but they also changed most of the card numbers and intentionally selectively put together a smaller set, rather than just cutting the back half of it off but leaving the first half otherwise as-is.
Edit: Note, OPC baseball changed the numbering relative to Topps from 1977-1989. OPC and Topps hockey only had cards with different numbers from each other in 1981 and 1984 (there were no Topps hockey sets for 1982 or 1983).
I always thought this was odd as well. 1977 Topps football...
The great Cedrick Hardman had 12.5 sacks in 1976. No card. Jimmy Webb had 7.5 sacks and no card. In fact, he was in the league for 7 years and did not have a single card. Jimmy Johnson started every game in 1976, the final year of his Hall of Fame career, yet he was not given a last card.
Popularity. Steelers were the maybe the most popular team at that time I would think.
You would think it would be as simple as that. But, the 4 win Giants and Eagles team cards look like this.
While the 9 win Broncos team card looked like this.
Another 4 win team looked like this