Vintage Spotlight: The Best Rookie And Star 1975 Topps Baseball Cards
The 1970s were a wild ride, and that extended to the baseball diamond.
The Vietnam War came to a close. Jaws was released. Microsoft was founded. Saturday Night Live debuted. On the baseball field we saw perhaps the greatest World Series ever, with Carlton Fisk’s famous home run and the star-studded Big Red Machine of Cincinnati going 7 games.
Topps produced some classic sets in the 1970s, with some amazing rookie cards. Less modern production and quality assurance processes, plus the ravages of time have made some of these cards challenging and valuable in top condition.
In this series, we’ll look at the top cards for each set, including key rookie cards and other valuable cards, with info on their PSA populations and recent values. Come hop in the way back machine and relive the glory that was 1970s Topps baseball.
We’ll look today at the 1975 Topps baseball cards.
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Topps 1975 baseball cards – The basics
The 1975 Topps set consists of 660 cards, all released in one series.
Wax boxes contained 36 packs of 10 cards each plus one stick of gum. They sold for 15 cents.
Cello boxes contained 24 packs per box, with 18 cards and a stick of gum. They sold for 25 cents.
Rack packs contained 42 cards and sold for 49 cents.
500 card vending cases were also available.
PSA has graded 315,375 1975 Topps cards. Of those, there are only 4,265 PSA 10s, or less than 1.5% of the total. Even PSA 9s are fairly hard to find and command a premium.
Topps 1975 Baseball cards – The design
The 1975 Topps baseball card design is instantly recognizable and a classic vintage design. It is probably one of the more divisive designs of its era, with many fans loving it or hating it.
The design consists of a fairly thick, multi-colored border around a white and black rounded rectangle frame around the photo. The colored borders contained a range of colors throughout the set. A facsimile autograph appears on the card front as well.
The card back features gray card stock, with pink and red areas and green ink for the text and statistical information. A cartoon/trivia question appeared on many releases.
Subsets include highlights (1-7), MVP’s (189-212), league leaders (306-313), postseason (459-466), and rookies (614-624). There is not a separate All Star subset, but player’s base cards had All-Star emblems to denote the prior years All Stars.
One highlight is the card of Pinch Runner Herb Washington, card #407. Washington was a former track star who stole 31 bases and scored 33 runs across two seasons without ever appearing on defense or even getting a plate appearance.
1975 Topps Mini Baseball cards
In 1975, Topps released Topps Mini, a parallel version of the regular Topps set, only smaller. These 2 1/4″ X 3 1/8″ cards were released in wax packs in several test markets, including Michigan and the West Coast.
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1975 Topps Mini were a bit gimmicky. Topps never again repeated the experiment, making it a unique collectible.
While Topps Mini was produced in much smaller quantities than the regular issue, more survived in good condition, likely due to their limited popularity. PSA has graded 113,113 copies, about 35% of the total for the flagship. While the number of 10’s are the same on a percentage basis, there are more 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s available.
Combined with reduced demand, this higher percentage of good condition cards means that 1975 Topps Mini make them usually less valuable than their full-sized counterparts. Still, they’re a great alternative or addition to your 1975 Topps collection.
Topps 1975 baseball cards – Key rookies
1975 Topps set currently has more Hall of Fame rookie cards than any other Topps set released in the 1970’s. It may someday have to share the title with the 1978 Topps set, but for now, it’s “topps” for the decade when it comes to HOF RCs.
1975 Topps Robin Yount #223
Yount, who played most of his career at shortstop and centerfield, two premium positions, played his entire career with the Milwaukee Brewers. Yount won two MVP awards (1982 and 1989), was a three-time Silver Slugger, 3-time All Star, and a Gold Glove award. He finished his career with 3,142 hits, good for 20th all time.
Yount racked up 77.4 career WAR, and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1999.
Robin Yount’s rookie card is card #223 in the 1975 Topps set. Unlike many players of the era of multi-player rookie cards, he gets a solo rookie treatment. PSA has graded 10,372 copies of Yount’s rookie card, with only 6 PSA 10s and 265 PSA 9s.
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1975 Topps George Brett #228
Brett played his entire career with the Kansas City Royals, mostly at third base, with time also spent at first base and DH later in his career. He was a 13-time All Star, three silver sluggers, three batting titles, a Gold Glove, and an MVP award (1980). His 3,154 career hits, which ranks 18th all time.
Brett compiled 88.6 career WAR, and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility 1999, along with Yount.
George Brett’s rookie card is #228 in the 1975 Topps set. He also gets a solo rookie card, like Yount. Maybe Topps saw something in these two. PSA has graded 13,151 copies of the card, with ten PSA 10s and 313 PSA 9s.
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Jim Rice #616
Rice played his entire career for one team as well, in this case the Boston Red Sox. He was an eight-time All-Star, two time Silver Slugger winner, and an MVP award (1978).
Rice accumulated 47.7 WAR in his career and was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his final year on the ballot, in 2009.
Jim Rice’s shares his rookie card, #616, with three other players, who combined for fewer than 500 career games. PSA has graded 3,344 copies of the card, with eight PSA 10s and 212 PSA 9s.
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Gary Carter #620
Carter was one of the best catchers of his era, and really, ever. He was an All-Star eleven times, won five Silver Slugger awards, and won three Gold Glove awards.
Carter racked up 70.2 WAR during his playing days, which is the second most ever for a catcher. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003, in this 6th year on the ballot.
Gary Carter has another of those multi-player rookie cards, this one card number #620 in the 1975 Topps set (“Rookie Catchers-Outfielders”). PSA has graded 4,264 copies of the card, with seventeen PSA 10s, and 227 PSA 9s.
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Keith Hernandez #623
Hernandez is not a Hall of Famer, although he does have his advocates. He maxed out at 10.8% of the vote on the BBWAA ballot, but still gets talked up whenever his era comes up for the various veteran’s ballots. Hernandez was an 11-time Gold Glove winner, a two-time Silver Slugger award winner, and won both an MVP and a batting title. He compiled 60.4 WAR in his career.
Hernandez shares his rookie card, #623 in the 1975 Topps set, with three other players, including future manager Phil Garner. PSA has graded 1,971 copies of the card, twelve PSA 10s and 202 PSA 9s.
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1975 Topps Baseball Cards most valuable rookie cards
|Card||PSA Pop||PSA Comp Pop||PSA Comp Price|
|1975 Topps Robin Yount #223||10,372||PSA 9 = 265||PSA 9 = $2,500-3,300|
|1975 Topps George Brett #228||13,151||PSA 9 = 313||PSA 9 = $4,300-4,600|
|1975 Topps Rookie Outfielders #616||3,344||PSA 9 = 212||PSA 9 = $1,175|
|1975 Rookie Catchers-Outfielders #620||4,264||PSA 9 = 227||PSA 9 = $900-1,300|
|1975 Rookie Infielders #623||1,971||PSA 9 = 202||PSA 9 = $750-1,200|
1975 Topps Baseball cards – Other key cards
In addition to more Hall of Fame rookie cards than any other set from the 1970’s, 1975 Topps has a lot of other key cards of Hall of Famers. The set starts and ends with Hank Aaron, with card #1 being a Highlight card, and his base card sitting at #660.
Hank Aaron Highlight #1
The first six cards of the 1975 Topps set are Highlight cards featuring key milestones from the 1974 season. Card number 1 highlights Aaron’s breaking of Babe Ruth’s career home run record.
In the days before storage boxes, the first and last card in a set tended to be extra condition sensitive, and the Aaron HL card fits the bill with only 5 PSA 10 and 18 PSA 9s graded. PSA 8 copies sell well in the $200-275 range.
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Mike Schmidt #70
Mike Schmidt, one of the greatest third baseman in history and first ballot Hall of Famer, was a 25 year old in his third full season in 1975.
While PSA has graded 3,162 copies, only 100 have been PSA 9s (3%). They sell in the $1,500-2,500 range, when you can find one. PSA 10s? There’s exactly one in existence.
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Johnny Bench #260
On most lists of the greatest catchers of all time, Bench occupies the top spot. While the opposing catcher is most remembered for his role in the 1975 World Series (that’d be Carlton Fisk), Bench is the one who led his team to the championship.
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Reggie Jackson #300
Another no doubt, “elected in the first year with over 90% of the vote” Hall of Famer, Mr. October’s 1975 Topps card is the lowest pop card on this list. With only 114 PSA 9s, you’ll pay $1,100 for one, if you can find one for sale.
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Pete Rose #320
The all-time career hit leader and a big part of the Big Red Machine 1975 World Champions, Rose has remained popular with collectors despite not making the Hall of Fame due to his permanent ban from baseball.
This popularity is evident by the fairly high PSA total population and PSA 9 population of the card, which still sells well in the $500-750 range in a PSA 9 slab.
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Tom Seaver #370
Seaver won 22 games in 1975 and won the NL Cy Young Award on his way to 311 career wins and the Hall of Fame. Compared to some of the other cards on the list, a PSA 9 Seaver in the $400-600 range almost feels like a bargain.
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1975 Nolan Ryan Topps #500
Nolan Ryan, the all-time leader in strikeouts, is one of the most popular players in the history of the game. That is evident with his 1975 Topps card, as it’s been graded 5,120 times, or more than any other on this list.
Despite 5,120 copies of the card being graded by PSA, there are only 73 PSA 9s (1.4%). The last PSA 9 that sold went for $10,000. There are no PSA 10s.
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1975 Hank Aaron Topps #660
As the set began, so it ends…with the all-time home run leader, Hank Aaron. This is the 1975 Topps Hank Aaron base card, but being the last card in the set, condition is a challenge. There are only 41 PSA 9s, and only one PSA 10. Because of this, even PSA 8s are strong sellers in the $400-475 range.
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1975 Topps Baseball Cards most valuable (star cards)
|Card||PSA Pop||PSA Comp Pop||PSA Comp Price|
|1975 Topps Hank Aaron HL #1||2,479||PSA 8 = 487||PSA 8 = $200-275|
|1975 Topps Mike Schmidt #70||3,162||PSA 9 = 100||PSA 9 = $1,500-2,500|
|1975 Topps Johnny Bench #260||3,017||PSA 9 = 267||PSA 9 = $420-835|
|1975 Topps Reggie Jackson #300||2,461||PSA 9 = 114||PSA 9 = $1,100|
|1975 Topps Pete Rose #320||4,636||PSA 9 = 444||PSA 9 = $500-750|
|1975 Topps Tom Seaver #370||2,692||PSA 9 = 245||PSA 9 = $400-600|
|1975 Topps Nolan Ryan #500||5,120||PSA 9 = 73||PSA 9 = $10,000|
|1975 Topps Hank Aaron #660||3,280||PSA 8 = 589||PSA 8 = $400-475|
Final thoughts on Topps Baseball cards 1975
1975 Topps is one of the classic vintage Topps sets of the 1970’s. With an instantly recognizable design, and more Hall of Fame rookie cards than any other sets in the decade, there’s a lot for collectors to like here.
It is a set very much of its era, with a very 70’s design and rookie cards of three Hall of Famers who played their entire careers for a single team (two of those small market teams).
Whether you’re a fan of high-grade Hall of Fame rookie cards, multi-player subsets, or are a mid-grade set collector, 1975 Topps has something for you.
Other 1970s Topps baseball sets
Check out our other features on Topps baseball sets from the 1970s.