McMurray: 1971 Topps included action shots not normally seen in baseball cards

From SABR member John McMurray at Sports Collectors Digest on October 31, 2016:

The 1971 Topps baseball set ushered in the modern era of baseball cards.

In contrast to cards with white borders, which had characterized most baseball card sets up to that point, Topps’ black-bordered cards represented its boldest look ever in a regular-issue set. Whereas the 1970 Topps baseball set was made up of an array of portraits and posed shots which had become typical of Topps issues, the 1971 set included more color, a wider range of poses, and placed an emphasis on game action shots, all features which laid the groundwork for what baseball cards look like today.

It is these game action shots that are most memorable. With a few exceptions, such as the 1956 Topps set, which included illustrations of player action in the background, so-called action photos on regular-issue Topps baseball cards were almost always posed pictures of players swinging or pitchers following through with their windups, with similar poses being repeated annually.

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Originally published: October 31, 2016. Last Updated: October 31, 2016.