In 1973, the Philadelphia Phillies improved by nine games over their putrid 1972 showing (59-97), thanks in large part to the development of young sluggers Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski.
Schmitty had hit 18 home runs in 1973, but with a shaky .196 batting average — promising power, scary contact numbers.
Leftfielder Luzinski, on the other hand, hit a robust .285, with 29 home runs and 97 RBI.
Add in Steve Carlton at the front of the rotation and several young or improving supporting pieces, and things were looking up for the Phils in 1974.
With a rising profile in the game, Luzinski and his Phillies teammates started to see a bit more cardboard love, too.
Why, Johnny Pro even devoted an entire set to the Phils — it was a real stand-up issue, too.
And then, the individual stars got some extra attention, too.
Luzinski, for example, had made enough of a stir in 1973 to catch Topps’ attention when the monopolistic card maker fired up their old test issue machine the next year.
Find 1974 Topps Deck Edge cards on eBay (affiliate link)
Find 1974 Topps Deck Edge cards on Amazon (affiliate link)
One of those trials was a resurrection of their 1969 Deckle Edge set, this time limited to a small distribution in New England, including a run of uncut sheets you can still find occasionally today.
And, right there on card #24, nestled between Bobby Tolan and Brooks Robinson, was young Greg Luzinski.
Like each of the other 71 cards, the Luzinski issue can be found with either a white back or a gray back — white is a bit tougher.
Also tougher was Luzinski’s 1974 season, pockmarked by injuries that began in Spring Training and that limited the slugger to just 85 games.
Still, Luzinski had made the big leagues of baseball cards, and he’d resume his march into All-Star territory on the field in 1975.
And, all these years later, collectors have a deckle edged memento of a season lost to the ages.
Hobby Holiday Hots
You couldn’t get *real* Fleer baseball or football cards in 1974 because Topps was the only game in town, but you could find some unusual goodies, like Fleer Football Patches:
This eBay lot offers up a full wax box of the unusual team-based collectibles. Check out the full listing right here (affiliate link).