Sunday, April 21, 2019

Completed Set: 1978 Topps Baseball

Well, that was fast.

In January I posted a great meetup-and-trade experience that I had with Bo from Baseball Cards Come to Life! The box of cards he handed over to me that day contained a generous amount of 1978 Topps cards to start me on my set-completion journey.

And now, just a few months (and a few big trades) later, that initial stack of cards has turned into a total of 726. In other words, a complete set!

Not only that, but here's another example of how generous card collectors are:

Before I even finished setting up those trades and receiving all the cards, another collector reached out to me. Turns out he had a complete set of 1978s that he was willing to give me for a very, very good price, plus a small stack of Phillies cards that he needed. (Thanks Dan!)

So yes. That's right. Through the generosity of fellow collectors, I now have two complete sets. Amazing.

The 1978 design is one I've always enjoyed. It's the simple borders, unique script for the team names, and fielding-position-inside-a-baseball theme. Those straightforward, clean elements allow the photography—which in many cases is excellent—to really stand out.

And by excellent, I mean that in the 1978 set you've got some of the most classic of classic baseball card poses. Just look at these images and tell me that your baseball card senses aren't stirred into overdrive:

Robin Yount, #173

Nolan Ryan, #400

Greg Luzinski, #420

Jim Palmer, #160

They're superstars of baseball in superstar poses, captured on cardboard forever. And you'll find quite a handful of these types of cards in the set.

You'll also find plenty of cards that exemplify the ease and blue skies of springtime, like these:

Rick Manning, #11

Bob Grich, #18

Rich Hebner, #26

Bob Forsch, #58

And the dog days of summer, like these:

Dave Chalk, #178

Al Oliver, #430

Biff Pocoroba, #296

Dave Goltz, #249
Here's a card back, featuring the "Play Ball" game on the right-hand side:

In a previous post I wrote about why I like the Eddie Murray card from this set, so here are some other cards that I enjoy:

John Candelaria #190

Cecil Cooper, #154

Reggie Jackson, #200

Dave Winfield, #530

Ken Singleton, #65

I'm very happy that this set is checked off my list. Thanks very much to all of the readers, bloggers, and trading card forum members who've helped me complete it much more quickly than I could have imagined. Twice!


  1. Congratulations on completing your set! Now the question is, will you be attempting to work on set #3? Think about it, you could become the resident 1978 Topps supercollector :)

    1. Heheh. No, I won't be working on a third set anytime soon. But I will be putting one of my two sets in a binder, and I'm looking forward to that.

  2. This is the first set I saw complete -- my brother ordered it through the mail back in '78. Later, I completed it in the early days of this blog.

    Congrats! It's truly one of the greats.

    1. Thanks, Night Owl! Nostalgia is a big part of the hobby, and the '78 set sure does evoke it.

  3. 1978 is the year I started collecting baseball cards. These were literally the first baseball cards I ever saw and owned. It was the no more than the 6th set I ever had complete (I started late in 1978, so I only had a handful of these, 1979 I collected enough to almost make 2 sets - I'd finish set #2 much later on - and got a 1980 set in complete form because my parents didn't want to repeat 1979 - in 1981 I started working for the baseball card shop, and I don't remember now if I got the 1978 set before or after getting the 1981 sets, so it could have been my 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th set). This is a great set and it was only up to about 4 years ago that the 1978 set remained my oldest set. (My wife's uncle hooked me up with 1973-1977 and a partial 1972!)

    1. Thanks again for your generosity, Dan! The update here is that I just ordered a fresh box of 100 Ultra Pro pages, and I'll be using 81 of them for the 1978 set. Just have to find an empty binder now.

  4. A pair of completed '78 sets is very cool. The photos and player selection are fantastic.

    1. Agreed, Chris! Even the little touches like the all-star shield are cool.

  5. Congrats on the set completion!

  6. Thanks, Matt! The generosity among this community never fails to impress me.

  7. nice! this is a great looking set. Maybe I'll pick up more singles. Chalk and Biff are a couple of favorites from my on 78 stash. Congrats, Niner!

    1. Thanks, Julie! Chalk and Biff -- sounds like a great comedy duo.

  8. Congrats on finishing this one! I've got this set too and I agree with some other commenters that it's under-rated. There are some real gems in this one!

    1. Thanks very much! It's good to be part of the '78 Topps club.