Ken Brett – 1978 Topps

February 20, 2012

Airbrushed! Again!

One thing that I noticed in collecting again is the wonder that is airbrushing.

Some sets are rife with it, such as 1972 (when they basically plastered over any traces of the old Washington Senators) and 1977 (where they had the double whammy of expansion and free agency to deal with). Some players, though, seemed to get airbrushed more often than not.

Case in point, Ken Brett.

He was a well-traveled vagabond who seemed to be good enough for teams to trade for, but not quite good enough to hold onto once a club got him in a trade. And he moved quite a bit. It wasn’t that he was a bad teammate or an attitude problem. He was just one of those guys that teams used as a pawn.

He was traded six times between October 1971 and June 1977, starting with the huge Boston / Milwaukee trade that saw George Scott and Tommy Harper change teams. He then moved to Philly as part of the Don Money deal, was dealt to Pittsburgh for Dave Cash, sent to New York for Doc Medich, then packed to Chicago for Carlos May. His last deal was to the Angels for spare parts, and soon he was to become one of those spare parts – being released and signed three times before his ultimate pink slip with KC in 1982.

In looking at Brett’s cards, I count seven of his 12 Topps base cards that are airbrushed. Two of them (1980 and 1981) seem to be from the same photo shoot. His last card in 1982 is one I’m counting as airbrushed though it may not be. It looks odd, but then I do look at things odd.

I wonder if someone who has over 10 base cards in a Topps set has more cards that have been ‘altered’ as a percentage of their total cards? I think Brett’s era would be the era, with larger base sets, expansion and free agency.

It’s nice to be wanted, but I bet Brett would have rather had baseball cards with less paint and more photo.

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