1974 TOPPS DECKLE EDGE 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…