March 17, 2007

Fleer Division:
(7) 1977 Pirates vs. (10) 1776 Signers of Declaration of Independence

Scoring: The two cards go head-to-head, each scoring up to three points in the following categories, where applicable. The card with the highest point total wins the matchup.

Coach Attire
Floating Heads
Card Design
Photo Quality
Number of Players
Special Notation of Futility
World Champions

1977 Pirates (7) vs. 1776 Signers (10)

Teamwork It’s ironic, but for the scene they’re portraying, the Signers seem to show very little sense towards conveying teamwork: I count at least three cliques, and that’s not including the man in the Stetson in the background and Jefferson observing in the corner like Kenesaw Landis. I will award them 2 points for all remembering their wigs and waistcoats. The Pirates almost run the gamut of arms-crossedness, but Al Oliver had to take a break. Oh well. I also like that the batboy has his arms crossed in a classic sulk pose. 1977 Pirates: 3 points | 1776 Signers: 2 points

Coach Attire Washington blends in with the rest of the team in the Signers pose, so I can’t really give him any special points for that. The Pirates trainers and front office guys look pretty standard conservative, so I’ll give them one point as well. I’ll award the Pirates one extra point because the trainer on the right looks like Howard Cosell. 1977 Pirates: 2 points | 1776 Signers: 1 point

Uniforms The Pirates uni was pretty standard issue through the Seventies. Extra point for yellow caps. Signers get no points for dressing like all men of upstanding citizenship in their day and age, but do get one point for wearing knee-high socks on game day. 1977 Pirates: 2 points | 1776 Signers: 1 point

Background Pirates get no points for empty stadium. Signers get three points for symmetry of doorways, gigantic emblem on the wall and historical importance. In that order. 1977 Pirates: 0 points | 1776 Signers: 3 points

Personnel 1977 Pirates: Stargell (HOF), Cobra, Candelaria, Reuss, Oliver, Zisk, Duffy Dyer, Hebner… 1776 Signers: Washington, Jefferson, Hancock, Franklin… 1977 Pirates: 2 points | 1776 Signers: 3 points

Floating Heads Really, this category comes down to which you like more: stars or pennants. I happen to think they both work. To the reader who brought up the point that this is The Baseball Card Blog, and that there’s no room for the Signers in a tournament of team cards, I ask them this: if Benjamin Rush’s floating head was presented in a pennant and the signers were shown standing in neat rows on risers in front of Independence Hall, would it be more of a team card than it is now? And what if on the back of the card it gave the signers stats and a blurb in reference to their record against the British? Would that be better? I think it works as is. I award one point for the stars around Rush’s head, one point for Rush’s slight smile and one point because it looks like he’s not wearing a wig. The Pirates get 3 points: one point for the pennant, one point because Chuck Tanner is 110 years old, and one point because I can’t tell if Tanner is smiling or about to ring for a nurse. 1977 Pirates: 3 points | 1776 Signers: 3 points

Card Design The Signers card isn’t that bad—but it’s no 1977 Topps team card. That ’77 design just gets better and better the more you see it, doesn’t it? Everything about it is clean. 1977 Pirates: 3 points | 1776 Signers: 2 points

Photo Quality Nice quality on the Pirates card, and there’s something going on there, because I can’t tell what the back row of Pirates are standing on; I don’t see a riser. No points for the Signers, as it’s a painting. 1977 Pirates: 2 points | 1776 Signers: 0 points

Number of Players 35 Pirates, including suits, coaches and the ghost of Chuck Tanner. 48 Signers in the frame. 2 points to the Pirates for having more players in the photo than there were cards in that year’s set. 3 points to the Signers for changing the world with less than fifty people in the frame. 1977 Pirates: 2 points | 1776 Signers: 3 points

Total Score: 1977 Pirates 19 points
1776 Signers 18 points

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