Topps went all-out in support of Hank Aaron with their 1974 flagship set. Still, he wouldn’t get a true base set card. Since Topps was confident that the Babe’s home run record would fall, they honored Aaron’s achievement with the first card of the 1974 set. This is the base Topps card for the Hammer, even though it doesn’t feature the same design as the rest of the 74 set. I’m sure I’m not the only Braves fan that wishes Topps had included an Aaron card with the standard base set design in addition to this card.
What if Aaron had decided to retire during spring training in 1974? What if he was injured and out for the season? Well, Topps would have had egg on their face. The set was released before the record was broken.