Sunday, March 26, 2023

1973 Topps Baseball Should've Had a Basketball Subset

When I was young, I especially enjoyed the backs of baseball cards. In a pre-internet age, this was my primary source for learning about the players and their wins, losses, hits, home runs, RBI, and so much more. But there's more! Date of birth, place of birth, bats/throws, weight, and of course, height. Harkening back to my youth, I recently paged through my nearly complete 1973 Topps set to seek out an answer to a question: who were the tallest and shortest players featured in the set? It's a question I recognize that no one might care about other than me, but today I'll test that theory here by giving you a rundown of the tallest players from 1973 Topps.

Seven players are tied for 2nd at 6'6":

Dave Kingman

Kingman also played high school basketball.

Ron Reed

As the card back states, Ron Reed was an NBA player before he began his baseball career. Though he was a serviceable basketball player, Reed decided to pursue baseball after two years with the Pistons. He said, “I felt like I was one step too slow and three inches too short to make a 10 to 12 year career in professional basketball,” Ron Reed explained. “So I decided to give baseball my best shot.” 

Bill Parsons

As the card states, Parsons was an All-American high school basketball player.

Bob Veale

Steve Renko, Wayne Twitchell, and Cecil Upshaw are the other 6'6" players from 1973 Topps. Renko played baseball, basketball, and football at the University of Kansas. Twitchell played basketball in high school.

The Tallest of the Tallest:

Frank Howard (6'7")

Howard was a college baseball and basketball player at Ohio State. The Philadelphia Warriors selected him in the NBA draft, but Howard elected to play baseball instead. Check out his impressive college basketball stats courtesy of

Another great illustration of Frank Howard's height is this photo of him at the 1969 All-Star Game standing next to 6'4" Boog Powell:

Stay tuned for a list of the shortest players from the set, coming soon.


  1. Tim McCarver's cartoon was basketball themed, I recall. Probably others as well.

  2. Whoa. He's towering over Boog. Can't wait to see who comes up the shortest. I kinda have a short athlete pc.

  3. That's a great picture! I wonder how many tall players are in the MLB now compared to 50 years ago. Also looking forward to seeing your shortest stars of '73 list. I think I can guess a couple of 'em already.

  4. I never knew that Dave Kingman was so tall.