Mets Card of the Week: 1974 Felix Millan


What the heck is a deckle?

Well, a “deckle” is a frame used when making paper by hand; by extension, a “deckle edge” is the rough, untrimmed edge that results from this process. Head to your local antiquarian book seller for a quick reference…

Topps was not seeking to educate the youth of America in the finer details of 18th century book production when it released this test set back in 1974. In fact, the wrappers for these cards– adorned with simple head shots of Tom Seaver and Reggie Jackson— read simply “Baseball Photos” with a hyphen-happy exclamatory subheading: “Super-Size! Super-Stars!”

The “Deckle Edge” appellation came later, presumably from collectors and catalogers for whom “1974 Topps Baseball Photos” was not a descriptive enough title.

The cards themselves were indeed larger than the standard-issue Topps sets of the day (“Super-Size!”), and the 72-card set did a good job of taking in all of your Ford-era favorites (“Super-Stars!”).

It is an austerely striking set, what with the black-and-white “Whip Inflation Now” photography, the blue facsimile signatures, and yes, the deckle edges.

The card backs come in two varieties: a common gray stock and a rarer white stock. This Felix Millan is an example of a gray back.

There are two text elements on the card backs. One is a newspaper-style recounting of a career highlight– in Millan’s case, a 1970 six-hit game for the Braves. The other is probably my favorite overall feature of the set.

Along with the standard player name, position, and team, each card back lists the exact date on which the card-front photo was snapped, along with the location. So we know, for example, that this photo of Millan was taken at Shea on May 5, 1973.

Presumably the picture was shot before the game that spring Saturday, a game that the Mets would go on to lose to Houston by a score of 9-2.

Millan went 1 for 4 that day, the one hit a single that he no doubt poked to left…

5 comments for “Mets Card of the Week: 1974 Felix Millan

  1. November 28, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I agree that it’s nice to have the info for when the picture was taken. But man – that’s an ugly layout, even for the back of a card.

  2. David Groveman
    November 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Cool card. I’ve considered starting a collection a few times.

  3. NormE
    November 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Good, informative post.
    I assume you meant “poked to” right.

  4. Doug Parker
    November 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks Norm! Actually, thanks to baseball-reference, I did know that it was indeed a single to left, so I should’ve gone with something more along the lines of “no doubt pulled weakly to left.” Just not as pithy, though, so I took some poetic license… 😉

  5. Joe Wenzel
    December 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Back when I was a kid I had no idea Felix Millan was even Hispanic – I just knew he was a good ballplayer who always seemed to get 180 hits a season. Thanks Omar Minaya for jading me and questioning your moves in bringing in Hispanic players – was it because they were good or because they looked like you. Ugh, I hated myself for thinking like that but with Omar you never knew…glad we have a GM who seems to just want to acquire the best talent – not where they were born – now only if he could just get better at acquiring players.

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